Firefox 3

Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2008, 7:19 PM

The problem with most applications or products is that in order to not feel stale or old fashioned, they constantly feel the need to update their features. Usually that's a great thing, as it will mean bugs get fixed, and it will keep up with other technological advances. But there are drawbacks.

Sometimes when you have found an app you love, that does everything you want and no more, you don't want it to change. And yet the people who make this app don't know that; they think all the new features they're developing are super duper cool and useful and will transform their application into genius level perfection.

I still use ACDSee version 2.43 because soon after that version they added so many useless unnecessary features it uglified it, it slowed its ability to do anything without chewing up memory, and removed some of the things I particularly like. So I'm still using the version from 8 years ago, which is fast, and efficient. After all it's just an image viewer - what more do you need than a way to view images and flick through them quickly? I'm not looking for a fancy way to "organise" my images in a freeform holistic method, that's for stupid hippy geeks, not me.

However, I have a favourite app for making HTML, called Homesite. It was developed by a company called Allaire, and it was by far one of the best applications in the world. Then Allaire sold it to Macromedia, a graphics application company in competition with Adobe, who developed things like Dreamweaver and Flash. They basically abandoned Homesite soon after purchasing Allaire and concentrated all their efforts on Dreamweaver, which I have never liked and find intently annoying. Then Macromedia got purchased by Adobe themselves, who aren't even aware of Homesite's existence. So that's it, it's been abandoned since 2002.

Unlike ACDSee and image viewing technologies, however, web technologies are constantly developing and evolving, and an HTML app needs to keep up with that. But it's not. It's left abandoned by the side of the road. It still works okay doing what it's always done, but as DHTML, XML, PHP, CSS, and Javascript evolve, Homesite is left further and further behind, incapable of adapting to them. Total suck.

Which brings me to my point. Firefox 3 is out now, and has updated from Firefox 2 in some small but visible, and some large but hidden, ways. One of the things I don't like is the new History Button next to the Navigation buttons. There used to be two, one for going back, one for going forward. Now there's just one, which go both directions. Practically speaking it works fine, and may be better. But aesthetically speaking it's caused the Nav buttons to be positioned closer together on the skin I use, which means less space to click, and more likely my misfiring the wrong button. It just looks ugly.

They also have added a "Most Visited" bookmarks button, listing your most frequently visited pages so you can... visit them again? Admire the statistics? I have no idea, I can't really see much practical use for it at all. Surely your most visited sites are already in your bookmarks, that's how you get to them so often, so you don't need a new listing of the same links in a non-intuitive list order. Huge waste of time. So I've deleted that one off my toolbar.

However, on the good side, it is a lot faster at loading pages. And... um... well, that's about all I've noticed so far. And that's not much.

Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered.

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