Firefox 2 Beta is out

The Internet Explorer betas have been getting a fair bit of attention and I felt a little remiss if I didn't mention that the Firefox 2 Beta is now available. I suppose many of us aren't very excited by it because it doesn't give us much new to work with.

Sure, it has enhanced RSS handling which will be nice; I like how Safari and the current IE7 beta handle it. It has some cool JavaScript enhancements like generators and muliple-value returns. It'll have inline spell checking and improved tab support (previously handled via extensions). No mention of additional CSS features but I suspect there'll be some minor changes.

As web developers, though, our interest lies in the lowest common denominator. It sets the baseline for what CSS and JavaScript features we can make use of. And with Firefox in the lead in almost every area, a new version just doesn't give us much to get excited over.

Published September 04, 2006 · Updated September 14, 2006
Categorized as Browsers
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Justin Perkins said on September 04, 2006

Just having JavaScript 1.7 is pretty cool in itself, lets see how long it takes to get JS1.7 in IE7 ;)

Matt Wilcox said on September 04, 2006

Oh good, I'm not the only one totally underwhelmed by the new version.

It's great that it's still progressing, and I'll love the new toys and features, but none of them are ground-breaking and none of them will impact what I can do as a designer. For end users it'll be great, for developers it's a bit of a non-event. Roll on 3.0

Alexander Berglund said on September 04, 2006

Even if Firefox would have released all these cool new and exciting technologies and supporting more css/javascript than the other browsers, remember this:
IE is still beta indeed but I'm not sure how much more MS would push what it will be able to do since they haven't included a full support of CSS 2 in it. It would be "this page supports Firefox only" instead of "only IE" as it used to be... even if opera and the other (except IE) would be follow.. after a while perhaps. But I am as you - a bit dissapointed it's just tiny interface changes and enhanched rss reading that is coming with the new 2.0 version... Would be more appropriate to see it as a 1.6 release instead.

Mike Haugland said on September 04, 2006

Can the lack of CSS improvements be tagged onto the Firefox developers though? I've always assumed that Gecko and Firefox had separate development teams, deadlines, etc... That's only an assumption due to several Mozilla browsers using the engine as well as third-party browsers.

In terms of leadership, Firefox definitely takes JavaScript in my books, but either WebKit (Safari) or Presto (Opera) take CSS. I don't have a link, but I remember reading the CSS 2.0 support table and Presto had a few point advantage, though I don't think WebKit was included.

Wolfgang Bartelme said on September 05, 2006

I just wanted to add, that they also changed the UI of the browser. The most obvious change - new icons. However I prefer the previous ones, because they were far more consistent and richer in contrast.

Bramus! said on September 05, 2006

For those who want to keep their "old" Firefox installed, a portable version of FX2B2 is available over at

Note that you cannot run both versions at the same time (if FX1.X is open and you then launch FX2, FX1 will open - and vica versa).


Sam said on September 05, 2006

I use FF for about 4 years and had no problems with it. Microsoft should think about the security of IE, while the developers of FF always improve those things on the regular basis. Regarding the design, I hate when the design of the web site looks perefect in IE and ugly in FF or vice versa. Problems with CSS.

Devon said on September 05, 2006

this version has svg:textPath ability...makes me wonder how long 'til we see some very interesting SVG coded blogs.

Brett said on September 07, 2006

Matt Wilcox, you've hit the main point:

"For end users it'll be great..."

That's who I, as a web designer/developer with accessibility and usability in mind, am trusting to knock IE from it's perch. Well, versions 6 and below anyway...

Medical said on September 08, 2006

Firefox 2 beta Rocks!!! It's the best explorer in the world, without any doubt.

Mike Schell said on October 24, 2006

One of the things that caught my attention is Microsummaries:
This is something new for us to play with. And I'm willing to bet it's on Google's radar if not staking a small corner of the sandbox as I type.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.