I noticed these ads a week or so back while reading Mary-Jo Foley’s blog… love the reference to the Tron mono-cycle in the first one, Awsome!
I’m not going to rant on about how Firefox is a better browser, although in my opinion it is, or cry over flaws in Internet Explorer that give me head aches almost every day. What I would like to explain is why Firefox should have a place at the heart of every web developers process.
Firefox is an invaluable, time-saving tool regardless of weather you’re designing standards compliant visions of pure css beauty or, at the other end of the scale (more on that in another post) , customising templates for enterprise CMS products targeted exclusively at corporate environments running Internet Explorer.
So why is Firefox so invaluable? Well, firstly it renders pretty reliable standards compliant output which is a good starting point but more important is its extensibility. The combination of this open extensibility and some very smart web developers willing to contribute has led to a tool-set that no other browser has been able match, not that many (if any) seem to really be trying.
Firefox add-ins that should be in every web designers toolkit:
And a couple of less developer oriented add-ons I have found useful on a daily basis:
And finally, in the interests of fairness and to show my openness on this subject, if you’re absolutely determined NOT to use Firefox (you poor poor fools! ) then here are some (lesser) solutions for the IE oriented among you:
As the toolbars primary focus is on accessability rather than development it also comes with some pretty nifty features such as a colour contrast analyser, gif flicker checker, the ability to switch to greyscale.This is actually a REALLY powerful tool and a vast improvement over some other attempts at a web developer style toolbar for Internet Explorer.
Conditional comments are Microsoft’s preffered answer to the differing levels of CSS support in Internet Explorer. I came across a problem recently however, when using xsl templates, where placing the html comment tags directly into the xsl was having no effect.
The issue seems to occur because the html comments in the xsl template, along with their contents, are not rendered to the browser.
The answer is to structure the conditional comment using xsl comment tags, which translate into html comments when the page is rendered, as follows:
Yup, hot on the heals of IE7, Firefox 2 hit the street today. Sporting a swanky new… well cleaner UI and a bunch of productivity enhancements this is the browser I’ve been waiting for.
I’ve been running the beta version alongside version 1.5 for a couple of weeks now (which while a little clumsy, was no where near the pain-in-the ass multi-IE is) and I gotta say, I like it… a lot! It’s clean, it’s fast, and most importantly… it hasn’t broken anything yet!
Extensions and themes are now collectively referred to as “Add-ons” and managed through a unified control panel, and at time of writing a few have yet to be upgraded for compatibility with Firefox 2 (nothing that can’t be fixed with the use of the the Nightly Tester Tools add-on which allows you to force compatibility), but most of the main extensions work out of the box and the new UI theme is so nice that for the moment at least I don’t want to change it!
The options control panel has changed a bit too and it took a little while to find everything again but on the whole it looks like all the changes are for the good and I would certainly recommend the upgrade. So what are you waiting for? Go get it now!
Looks like Internet Explorer 7 is officially out in the wild!
The large software company I work for has rolled out an official IE7 blocker as several of our key enterprise apps don’t work with it, so it looks like I’ll be sticking to testing inside of a VM.
Ironic isn’t it that an “Upgrade” stands to break so many existing apps… hopefully things will improve in the coming weeks/months as developers (like myself) work to bring sites an applications in line with these new fangled web standards things (insert sarcasm smiley here!). I’ve just upgraded to the latest Firefox 2 release candidate from Firefox 1.5 and while it probably doesn’t change anywhere near as much as IE7 does from IE6 it also doesn’t break anything… at least yet!
Two new browsers… interesting times lay ahead!