Firefox 4.0 is not due to be released for well over another yeah but mock-ups of the premier open-source browser’s proposed visual refresh as it will look on Linux have been mocked-up and shown off today.
Version 4 will see a raft of major new features and improvements ā” not least of which is the refined interface above. This will see the addition of : -
- Tabs-on-top: Default tabs to top of UI.
- Hiding the Menu Bar: Hide the menu bar and add Page and Tools buttons.
Another major addition will be Browser Sync via Mozilla Weave, allowing for cloud syncing of bookmarks, passwords and favourites.
Is it enough?
The majority of the forthcoming improvements are a reaction to Google Chrome. The speed, features and slick interface it offers really puts the āestablishedā browsers in the shade ā” and Firefox is stepping up it’s game. But is it too little, too late?
Google Chrome will offer browser syncing in just a few months time (it’s already in testing, add –enable-browser-sync as a flag to use it.) Weave will rear it’s head in Firefox well over a year away. It already has the interface, it’s extension framework has potential to be far greater than Firefox’s (add-ons can be installed, disabled and removed without needing to ārestartā the browser) and browsing just keeps getting faster.
In The Mean Timeā¦
The next āminorā release of Firefox which will bear a visual change will be that of 3.7 which has also received some Linux mock-up treatment.
It includes the following āimprovementsā : -
- Consistent Back/Forward Buttons: Use the same back/forward shape as on the other platforms. The back button would use the same texture as the other buttons however it would be round and larger.
- Buttons vs Icons: Switching to a button+glyph style for the toolbar items. This would be instead of the more representational style that is widely used. It also is a deviation from the common system standard of having icons and then a button shape on hover.
- Curvier Tab Shape: Match the tabs to the proposed tabs on Windows and Mac while keeping the native texture and colour.
- Removing Toolbar Separators: Reduces visual complexity as well as maintaining external consistency.