Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mozilla Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 Preview – A Quick Look


Yesterday, I got wind of an update to Mozilla’s Firefox 3.7 Alpha string. The last time I had looked at this build was during the Alpha 1 release, however, quite a bit has changed since then. Most notably, the current Alpha of 3.7 offers Aero Glass UI, a very nice touch. I took together a couple of screenshots of the browser and felt I had to share them. I’ll add a bit of commentary to the screenshots as well.



Installing the Alpha version was very simple, and very similar to the overall installation of previous Firefox versions. The biggest difference between the Alpha prerelease and the current version of Firefox is the prerelease is labeled as Mozilla’s experimental browser, Minefield. As time goes on, and Mozilla gets closer to the final release, they’ll rename the final version Firefox 3.7.




Note the Minefield name reference in the setup dialogue box...this will change once the final release ships.






Installing under the "Minefield" folder type allows the user to continue using their previous version of Firefox, very useful if you have extensions or add-ons that may not work yet with this prerelease.





Most extensions and add-ons won't work with the pre-release. As time goes on developers should start making these compatible with FF 3.7.




Finally, after the installation you should get this nice screen. Notice the new Aero Glass UI and lack of the Menu Bar.


Changes since Firefox 3.6

The most noticeable feature change in this prerelease is the addition of the Aero glass UI. To compare the new UI, I took an older screenshot of Firefox 3.6.



Firefox 3.7's new UI...quite a bit has changed.



Firefox 3.6.2's UI. The UI looks old and out-of-date when compared to other browsers.

This UI change is both a pleasant and welcome experience. After-all, many other competing browsers have already switched to this style, first with IE, then Google Chrome quickly followed suit. Another noticeable difference is the lack of a menu bar. This is primarily due to the addition of the glass UI; however, you can still get the menu bar back by simply tapping the ALT key on your keyboard, this will bring up the familiar menu.


I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on this version to really point out every possible feature since this is just a preview; I’ll look a little more in detail with this version as it comes closer to the full release time. Look out for a full review on this site around its official release. You can also pick up the pre-release version over at the Mozilla labs to try it out for yourself.


As always, you can contact me via Twitter (@jctierney) or leave a comment below. I’ve also started a new e-mail address for this site, tinkeringwithwindows @ live dot com. Feel free to drop me a line every now and then. I welcome anyone who has a question, comment, suggestion, etc. to feel free to e-mail me at that address.



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