Mozilla Release Firefox 5

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If you’ve been waiting to upgrade to Firefox 4, you’re too late! As promised, Mozilla released Firefox 5 on June 21 2011 — just three months after version 4 was launched. The organization has embarked on a Chrome-like release-little, release-often rapid-update schedule.

If you’re too excited to read further, download the installer from getfirefox.com or update by selecting Help > About Firefox > Check for Updates. You may be lucky enough to receive a fast incremental update — it didn’t work for me and the full installer was downloaded.

Firefox 4 was a major update. You’re unlikely to spot any immediate differences in version 5 since most of the changes are under the hood:

  • support for CSS3 animations with the -moz prefix
  • improved JavaScript and canvas performance
  • additional HTML5, SVG and MathML features
  • faster browsing

Developers should also note that setTimeout and setInterval events will only execute once per second or less frequently on inactive tabs. It replicates the behavior of requestAnimationFrame to save CPU and power consumption.

Great — but there’s a downside. You may find several of your add-ons are disabled by Firefox 5. They should work, but many authors have not yet updated their add-on’s version numbers. Firebug and the Web Developer Toolbar are fine, but Console2 and HttpFox are blocked.

Not every plugin author has the time or resources to match the new schedule. It’s unfortunate and I hope Mozilla can address the problem. Perhaps a less formal approach could be adopted which allows the community to test and approve plugins without relying on the author to hard-code supported versions. Alternatively, Mozilla could have simply released Firefox 4.1 — the numbering is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Despite the add-on hassles, it’s good to see updates appearing more regularly. Let us know what you think of the Firefox 5.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Naujock/100000014665581 Eric Naujock

    Now for the Million Dollar question. Has the Sitepoint Firefox Plugins been updated for Firefox 5?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668397983 Kristen Holden

      Not yet obviously. The guys are working on it though :)

  • http://www.bitstorm.org/ Edwin Martin

    One of the nice things of Firefox 4 and later is that all Firefox extensions on the Mozilla repository are scanned for imcompatibilities with the latest version, and when no problems are found, the version number is automatically bumped up. This means many more extensions are available the moment a new Firefox is released. (And of course less work for the extension author ;-)

  • http://jivebay.com/ jivebay

    Not sure I like how they bumped up the version number just for marketing purposes, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s good to know they want to push out support for new standards sooner than later.

    • Anonymous

      Not just marketing purposes: Version numbers are now linked to the internal Gecko rendering engine which was already at version 5 in Firefox 4 and was deemed potentially confusing for developers. Also, as you say, it is part of an internal push to deliver updates faster, and I think it makes sense to not give users the impression that Chrome and IE are more advanced browsers.

    • Anonymous

      Not just marketing purposes: Version numbers are now linked to the internal Gecko rendering engine which was already at version 5 in Firefox 4 and was deemed potentially confusing for developers. Also, as you say, it is part of an internal push to deliver updates faster, and I think it makes sense to not give users the impression that Chrome and IE are more advanced browsers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668397983 Kristen Holden

    I do like the new pinned app tabs. Looks very much what Chromebook browsers do with their web apps.

  • Dave McIntyre

    Hmmm it is still telling me that Firebug 1.7.3 is not compatible with this version…

    • http://www.facebook.com/cemerson Chris Emerson

      I had that, had to uninstall and reinstall FireBug, worked fine. For other incompatible extensions, I just edited them to up the max Version number, no trouble so far…!

    • Anonymous

      I updated FF on release day with no need to update or re-install Firebug.

  • http://twitter.com/Mahen23 Mahen Nowzadick

    I believe that with each new version, Mozilla is just convincing more users to switch to Chrome.

  • http://www.itmitica.com/en IT Mitică

    It installed by update with no problems for me.

    About Firebug and NoScript, I had to re-load and re-install them.

    A few other add-ons didn’t go that well, waiting for compatible updates.

    It could became an issue, I agree on that, if add-ons are becoming an annoyance to update, but I don’t see how users using those add-ons would embrace Ch instead. They will be stuck though using older versions which, I think, defeats the purpose of fast releasing.

  • Mr Lelong

    I don’t care if it is FF5 or FF50, I need backward compatibility. Else the same issue with mobile OS and apps – FRAGMENTATION!

  • Mr Lelong

    I don’t care it is FF5 or FF50, I need backward compatibility. Else the same issue with mobile OS and apps – FRAGMENTATION!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000950682677 Safa Ahmed

    For me Firefox is history I’ve switched to Chrome long time ago ,the only problem was the plugin ,but now Chrome is mature and work fine with Google services ,For mozilla I think that it was better to keep on their way and don’t try to emulate Chrome.

  • http://twitter.com/catontech Joel Caton

    I’m glad that Mozilla has stepped up the rate of innovation in response to Google’s throwing down the Chrome gauntlet. My only concern is that the rapid change of the major version number might adversely affect the brand value by making it appear unstable.

  • Anonymous

    firefox 4 was working well for me,then i got the 5 version.slow loading,incomplete web pages.
    back to chrome ??