Firefox 1.5

Firefox 1.5 has been released, and is available for download athttp://www.mozilla.com/firefox/.While superficially it looks like nothing has changed, there aresome huge improvements hidden just below the surface.

  • Native, albeit incomplete, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)support (finally!)
  • Memory-cached back/forwards
  • An improved extension model (already the most powerful part ofFirefox)
  • A variety of CSS3 additions, including multi-column layouts(huge for those blogs that insist on a 10 character wide textarea)
  • A tremendously powerful <canvas>element that allows for programmatic “drawing”

All of these are fantastic to see – Firefox really is blazingits own path now, no longer caught in the no-win situation ofsimply following Microsoft’s lead. Of course Firefox has beenbetter at standards conformance and nuances of CSS for some time,but that doesn’t really inspire a lot of end-user adoption – it’sthe features that matter, and in that domain it has taken a heftylead (including over anything I’ve seen with IE 7).

I’ve been using Opera 8 as my primary browser for severalmonths, after a couple of years with Firefox as my mainstay. Givensome of the improvements I think I’m going to switch back.