Latest Firefox Improvements: Improved Location Bar, Panorama Tabs And More

29 Sep

So there have been quite a few notable improvements in the very latest version of Firefox (meaning the daily build, called Minefield) that I think you people will be quite interested in. First, I won’t cover stuff I’ve already covered in my previous review, so go check it out first if you haven’t already. Now, lets dig in.

New Location Bar Improvements

The Location Bar has seen some new features. First and most notable, the Stop/Reload button(s) have been removed from the toolbar and moved into one, combined button at the far right of the location bar: now, it changes between Go, Stop and Reload depending on the state of the current tab. Nifty.




If you’re panicking or annoyed at the sight of it, don’t worry: it’s not hard-coded. What do you think this is, Google Chrome?

From here, it’s a simple click-and-drag. Simple.

The more observant of you will have noticed a very pretty blue glow in the second image: say hello to the new loading bar! Instead of a loading wheel in the tab, we now have a loading bar in the location bar for the current tab, or at the top of the tab for other tabs.

New loading bars. Functional and beautiful.

Additionally, hovering over links now shows their destination in the location bar in a bread-crumb-esque presentation:

Go-to locations in the location bar: heralding the death of the Status Bar, perhaps?

The clever thing is, if the whole URL can’t fit after the current URL, it squeezes the current URL down. If it still can’t fit, it makes sure to show the entire server, abbreviates the stuff after it, then shows the end of the filename as well as the extension:

Shows the stuff I’m most interested in, for security reasons: where am I going and what kind of file is it?

This is a really clever little extension to the location bar and, though you can still show the status bar (because lets face it, nothing just "dies" in Firefox), it’s no longer absolutely necessary if you want to stay secure. I always thought it looked tacky, anyway.

I think that’s all the location bar changes taken care of. Next up: Panorama!

Panorama Tab Management

Panorama is a new tab management implementation especially designed for the power-user. You know, the ones that love Firefox because it runs smoothly with more than 40 tabs open at once. It lets you zoom out to see an overview of all your tabs, organise them into groups and close entire groups of tabs with one click.

The zoomed-out interface

Using groups. Yes, still unemployed 😦

In case that wasn’t good enough, there’s also a search feature: just type and go!

Huoh. I wondered where that tab went…

Even though I rarely use it because I only ever have a few tabs open, I still think this is really really cool. Firefox is still your friend if you’re a tab-junky.

"And More…"

All right, I’ll admit, I didn’t plan this section through. "And More" sounds good at the end of a title.

No, wait! Don’t go! I found something to go here. Honest.

First: Google Chrome’s Pin Tabs.

Pin through the right-click menu…

Pinned tabs will stick around after Firefox restart, and won’t scroll when the tabbar fills

The Add-ons tab has been much improved:

The Add-ons tab now looks the part in Firefox

And the, "Get Add-ons" page has been much improved as well.

The improved Get Add-ons page – now more attractive and useful

Well, that’s my overview for right now – if more changes come this way before 4.0 stable, I’ll make sure to post about them.

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