First look: Firefox 3.5

Matthew Sparkes
22 Jun 2009
firefox 3.5 logo

Firefox 3.5 is out as a Release Candidate - as close to a final version as you can get without being a final version - so I've taken a look to see how it compares to its competitors.

Porn/Private Browsing

Most other browsers already had this feature, and now Firefox does too. With nothing more than a quick Ctrl+Shift+P your tabs will be whisked away and stored safely, leaving you with a fresh window for your... personal research.

When you're all finished up, the same shortcut will bring back all your previous tabs and send all trace of your secret session into oblivion (it does not erase feelings of guilt).

It works perfectly well, but has a slightly annoying habit of clearing any half-filled forms - like the previous, unsaved incarnation of this blog post. Still, Mozilla has to leave room for improvement, or there would be nothing for them to do between now and version 4.0.

Video/Audio tags

One of the biggest features is support for the video and audio tags from HTML 5. The video tag is the one that will change your browsing experience most of all, because the web is littered with moving images.

It allows clips to be embedded straight into a site, with none of this flash-player nonsense. It's a very powerful tag; rotating video, adding effects and even green-screen graphics can all be done on-the-fly. Try it out here, if you have a compatible browser. Firefox 3.5, for example.


Speedy JavaScript

The new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine at the core of 3.5 is supposed to give other current browsers a run for their money. I ran the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark twice on each of the common browsers, and took an average.

The chart above shows that Safari, Firefox and Chrome are all roughly on a par - although, if you want to get picky, Safari is the quickest of the bunch. Opera is sadly left behind, and IE is, well, consistent.

Final update

The last update of note is up there, in the top left of this post. The new logo. The same as the old logo, but a little shinier. Which pretty much sums up the whole browser, really.

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