Firefox 3 is here!

Firefox 3 is released!

Firefox – a compliant browser

After months and months of hard work the peeps over at Mozila.org have released the latest copy of Firefox. If you haven’t heard of Firefox before WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? It is the best independently developed compliant browser in the world.. FACT!

In a world dominated by Microsoft, and their policy of ignoring any web design standards, Firefox offers a breath of fresh air. It is fully compliant to W3C standards and fully supports CSS 2. Version 3.1 will offer even more and will start supporting CSS 3 selectors!.

It also supports open source plugins, themes and of course add-ons such as Flash or Java. It even now supports things like the Turntool Viewer. Added together with the auto-install and update features it is easy to keep up to date with the newest releases.

Basically to sum up… Firefox works and it makes the web look beautiful again. If you’re not a fancy dan with your lovely purrrdy mac then you need to install this!

Plugins – browser heaven

One of the best features of Firefox is the ability to install plugins which enhance your net use. As a web developer these plugins are even more fantastic as they can cut development time, help find bugs and generally make your day to day job easier.

Some of the plugins that i use include:

Web Developer – This tool bar is so useful i almost forgot it was a plugin. It has an amazing array of features, too many to list, each one is super useful. I guess the best ones would be disabling CSS or Javascript or Flash, cookies, forms, images, displaying meta info, clearing the browser cache, outlining elements, resizing the window, viewing source code in colour and validating your code.

Firebug – this plugin allows you to edit html, CSS, Javascript ‘LIVE’ in a web page. The results are show in the browser and if you have ftp support you can even save the edited file. This is great for correcting CSS bugs or layout issues. Another great feature is its debugging tool, if you write any form of JavaScript you will find this feature irreplaceable!

ColorZilla – This tool has more features that you might think! The two main ones that I use are the colour dropper tool which allows you to sample a colour from anywhere within a web page, and the outline tool which displays a dashed red line around all elements. This is especially useful when designing CSS layouts as you can view divs and other elements.

Screengrab! – Anther simple but great tool! It simply allows you to screen capture a web page and either output a png file or copy it to your clipboard where you can then paste it into your authoring software. This is especially useful as it can screen grab the whole web page and not just the visible partition.

ViewSourceWith – A simple idea but nether-the-less immensely useful. View the web pages source directly in your authoring software ie Dreamweaver!

Live HTTP headers – This plugin displays your web sites live HTTP header requests are they are sent and received.

Tamper Data – If you should want to do such a thing as tamper with your HTTP headers then this is the plugin for you. Just start it up and it intercepts all the headers, you then edit them and submit away!!

FireFTP – Turn Firefox into a ftp client

GSpace – You will never need your USB key fob again. This uses gmail as a ftp remote folder. You can upload anything directly to your gmail inbox. It will use the gmail mp3 player to stream mp3’s and you can view images by thumbnail. One downside is gmails 19mb cap per upload but you can split your files. One bonus.. my 6gig gmail account!

English Dictionary – Speaks for itself. Right click a misspelt word and just select the right one. Bing bang bosh

PicLens – A 3D virtual wall for displaying photo albums and videos. The sites have to be compatible but with flickr, facebook and myspace in the loop it’s a winner already

Download Status Bar – If the download pop-up annoys you this is what you need. It integrates the download status into you status bar and has many extra features to make downloading a neat and tidy business.

So first impressions are good. The interface is smart but clean. Everything seems to work. I guess this is what it must be like to own a mac!

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