Firefox 1.5 was officially released yesterday. And while beta versions were released, I had never taken the time to try them. With that in mind, I can take a look at this release without any prejudice either for or against the beta releases.
In less than an hour of use, I already see things I like. The changes are subtle, but they are apparent. First of all, the browser just seems faster. I am running on a 1.25GHz PowerBook 15″ and the speed increase in instantly noticeable. Additionally, the browser seems to function more smoothly. As I scroll or change tabs, everything feels more smooth and fluid. Page draw seems faster and image caching seems more efficient.
Other features are not immediately apparent, but they are impressive. For example, the Preferences have been reorganized and now feel more thought out and well organized. And, with RSS becoming more and more prevalent, the icon for a site’s RSS feeds has finally been moved into plain view. Previously it was located in the lower right corner of the browser window. Now it is located in the location bar making it much more difficult to overlook.
And, if you are a fan of tab browsing, Firefox offers something new as well. The ability to reposition or reorder the tabs has been added. This makes it trivial to organize web pages into a coherent order and makes it easier to keep track of the often used tabs.
On the down side, there is still no support for spellchecking. I had hoped that Firefox would at least be able to tie into the Mac’s built-in spelling service, but apparently this is not meant to be.
These were the change that were most apparent to me in my first hour of use. Firefox 1.0 has been my default browser since its release. With the update to 1.5, my conviction only grows.
Update: 11/30/05 @ 12:46pm
It looks like both the Bookmarks and History are now searchable if you use the Sidebar feature!
There is also a cool new Clear Private Data option under the Tools menu. One click can now clear your history, purge your cookies, dump web form entries, and erase saves passwords. Ideal if you are using a public accessible workstation.