Yes, seriously. Despite being less than two months old, Firefox 5 is obsolete. Mozilla released Firefox 6 on August 16 2011. As you’d expect, there are a number of bug-fixes but the list of new features is fairly lightweight.
Mozilla claim the new browser is 20% faster than Firefox 5 (which wasn’t particularly slow). The speed gains will also be evident to Linux users.
Panorama is Firefox’s tab grouping system. I had a few initial reservations but I now love the feature and use it extensively. Firefox 6 loads inactive groups on demand — it improves start-up times and reduces memory usage.
Firefox 6 highlights a site’s domain in the address bar (sorry Mozilla, I still can’t bring myself to call it the Awesome bar!) It’s a feature present in all competing browsers.
Website Permissions Control
The new Data Management Window allows you to set site-based permissions so the same rules apply to every page within a specific domain. The feature is experimental, but you can access it by entering “about:permissions” in the address bar.
The Scratchpad is similar to Firebug’s console command line, however, it doesn’t require the add-on and allows you to save snippets for later use.
In addition, if you like the Web Console, you’ll be pleased to hear that it can be moved and docked elsewhere.
More HTML5, CSS3 and DOM Loveliness
Web developers will able to adopt the following HTML5 technologies in Firefox 6:
progresstag for graphical progress bars has been added. Colors can be styled with the
- A new
-moz-orientproperty allows you to set some elements, such as progress bars, to horizontal or vertical orientation.
trackelement is supported so you can apply text tracks to native audio and video.
- CSS3 border-radius can be applied to
- Custom data attributes (data-*) can now be accessed via the DOM’s
- Text decorations such as underlines, overlines and strike-throughs can now be styled in CSS using
-moz-text-decoration-line(none, underline, overline, line-through),
-moz-text-decoration-style(inherit, solid, double, dotted, dashed, wavy) and
- The new
-moz-hyphensproperty lets you control how hyphenation of words is handled during line wrapping (none, manual, auto).
- The result of a media query string can be evaluated programmatically using the
- Early support for Server-Sent Events has been implemented. This API permits push notifications from the server in the form of DOM events.
- Touch event support for touch-sensitive screens and trackpads has been included.
Will Firefox 6 Break My Add-ons?
Possibly. Several of my add-ons only started working in Firefox 5 during the past few weeks. I suspect Firefox 6 will cause fewer issues, but you should check the compatibility of essential add-ons before upgrading.
Firefox 6 is available now. You can upgrade in your browser (Help > About Firefox) or download it from the Mozilla website.
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.