The Firefox web browser had a version realignment today, ultimately resulting in the release of Firefox 1.5 in August / September, with work on FF2.0 and FF3.0 after that. There will be no Firefox 1.1 release.
With all this versioning adjustment, I got to thinking about the things I wish that I could see from Firefox. Here’s a quick little list of features I’d like to see from everyone’s favorite red panda. Some of these features might be a little skewed towards the Mac version, but you can’t hold that against me.
Bookmark Management I love Safari’s bookmark management, and I like Camino’s even better. It can’t be that hard to integrate into Firefox. The sidebar is clunky for bookmarks, and you can’t really edit the bookmarks comfortably from there. Showing keywords as a column in the bookmarks manager instead of in the properties would be nice, as would making all bookmark properites available when bookmarking a new site. Just the title and location doesn’t cut it, not when quick searches make browsing so much easier. FTP synchronization of bookmarks would be nice, but any way of backing up and making bookmarks available over the internet (email?) would do just fine. I also think that quicksearch keywords that are entered in the location bar with no search parameters should go to the page that the search is located on, or even the top level of that particular site. Whatever methods are used to improve the Bookmark Management UI should also be used for the Extension Management UI. I hate the current implementation, and it needs to change. Little windows that pop up just don’t cut it anymore.
Speed Especially on OS X, Firefox can be a little sluggish. Some of those issues have been fixed with the Deer Park releases, which will eventually become Firefox 1.5, but if Camino and Safari (most of the time) can be blazing fast, it shouldn’t take much code rewriting to achieve that on OS X.
Native Widgets Windows doesn’t have too much of an issue here, but I am pretty sure that the Linux version could use a makeover, and I know for certain that the OS X version needs the GUI equivalent of plastic surgery. One of the biggest reasons besides speed that Mac users don’t use Firefox is its appearance. A Mac-ified Firefox has been promised for several months now; can we please see the results of any of the work that has been done with regards to this issue? Kevin Gerich had some awesome Mac-ish widgets, but they seem to be broken in FF1.0.5/1.0.6 and he hasn’t updated that blog since January.
Inline Spell Checking With the proliferation of blogs and news feeds comes an avalanche of feedback comments. Most of these comments are quick little blurbs that don’t warrant the use of a text editor. OS X has a system wide spell checker, and I’m sure that something could be worked out for the Windows version. I know about Spellbound, but I want it inline. That would be awesome.
Having said all that, Firefox in its current form is amazing. I use Firefox, Safari, and Camino on my Mac, but Firefox is my main browser. After a short stint of using Safari after Tiger came out, I went back to Firefox for Greasemonkey, Adblock, cross-platform zen and overall awesomeness. I know that some of these are on the roadmap, and some are bugs that will eventually get fixed, so I can rest assured that Firefox development is coming along very strong.