4 Beta 7 Candidate

I’m a Firefox user for some time now. I started using it a few weeks after they changed the name from Phoenix to Firebird, because someone recommended it to me – repeatedly. My likes were numerous. Every new release version was significantly better than the previous one, not just in usability, also in speed and lots of other small things. I never saw a reason to stick with an older version, once the new one became available, quite the contrary actually. For example, 3.5 was so much faster than 3.0, that I couldn’t wait to use its final.
Firefox always oriented itself very much on current trends, while still being the mighty tool with many options above and under the surface, that set it apart beneficially from most of the other browsers. So what’s happening in Firefox 4 is so very obviously the result of the apparently sole trend coming to the browser world for some time: Chrome. So what’s the difference, between Firefox 3.6 and Chrome? The former always allowed the user to do almost everything. Don’t like that? Turn it off. The latter on the other hand, is just like the site of the search engine. True to their lean design philosophy. It works very well for the/a site, but why should a browser offer nothing but the bare essentials? A good example is (and what triggered me to write this) the missing status bar in the Firefox 4 Beta 7 Candidate (the huge rest of the Firefox 4 GUI changes are designed to resemble chrome since the beginning of its development). It’s obvious to me, that they only removed it, because Chrome doesn’t have one either. Let’s not further dwell on the point that this stinks for itself. The status bar was not only the place where the software was displaying what it was doing at every point in time and that had a nice progress bar, it was also used by many different extensions. Someone remembers extensions? Yeah, the small programs, that were always the major selling point of the whole browser… So what the decision to drop it does, is to negatively affect the most important part of the whole thing. As if this wasn’t bizarre enough, Firefox always allowed to turn off the status bar with a simple option in the menu. Like it is an option now, to restore the menu! If it was this important to the decision guys to remove this bar, they simply could have made this the default setting after installation. Voilà!
But there’s still more. Since the information displayed in the status bar was really vital to browsing (how else to know in advance, if the next click isn’t leading to a malware site, if the link isn’t fully visible), they couldn’t remove this completely. It was merged with the location bar (also features the refresh button now…). Sadly the location bar is a really busy place as it is – therefore the most important feature of the status bar doesn’t work anymore the way it should (or has to?). Every link the mouse is hovering on, is only displayed shortened. That breaks the entire feature! Literally!
The guys from “pimp my browser” (I take it) made a really great extension called Status-4-Evar, that restores the status bar and luckily has the exact same look & feel about it, but it doesn’t remove the bad taste, that an extension should never be necessary for basic functionality.
For everyone who really needs/wants fullscreen browsing, F11 was in the browser since… forever? Therefore I only see downsides and no up…
Oh, and has anyone noticed, that the down arrow at the forward/backward buttons was removed? Great thing guys! That makes it really obvious, that a right click will reveal previously visited pages… NOT.
Next time anyone wants to steal something from Chrome, copy its speed!

//Update 2010/11/11

Firefox 4 Beta 7 Candidate is identical to the “final” 4 Beta 7.


  1. Bosone


    I totally agree! I also use Firefox since the first incarnation. (I started to use Netscape 1.1!!). And this is the first time I really miss something.




  2. AJ

    I don’t get it too
    why they removed the status bar?!
    I had many extensions on the status bar
    translate, mail check, proxy switch, etc


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