Firefox LogoMozilla has invested time and effort in making its Firefox browser one of the best on the market. While you may not have many choices in how you browse the Internet, Mozilla’s Firefox has offered a lot to those who have utilized it as their browser of choice over the years.

From its release in 1.0 to its latest release in 6.0, Mozilla does its best to make sure that user concerns are addressed and that Firefox is the absolute best possible browser it can be. Let us take a look at the latest changes to Firefox in its new release as well as a look back at its humble roots as an up and coming competitor to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

What’s new in Firefox 6.0?

On the evening of August 16th, 2011, Mozilla released a brand new version of Firefox. Now in its 6.0 stage, this jump came with a lot of behind the scenes updates and upgrades to the overall Firefox engine. While most users will update Firefox, they will not really notice the changes unless they are looking for them.

version 6

Changes to Firefox in 6.0:

  • Fixed recent stability and security issues
  • Address bar now highlights domain names while on their site
  • Improved Firefox Sync
  • Improved the Web Console and Web Developer menus and functionality
  • Added support for WebSockets, EventSource and window.matchMedia
  • Launched a JavaScript prototype environment called Scratchpad
  • Browser startup time is quickly using Panorama
  • Changed the look of site identity block

Scratchpad is really the only new feature of this version of Firefox. For the average user, this will never be something they take a look at. For developers and those who want to see what they can do to improve Firefox, it offers a JavaScript prototype environment with inputs and outputs that let them create from the browser. Since it is easier to see JavaScript in action rather than to code it only to see it fail, Firefox offers developers a way to test out JavaScript in real time.


How has Firefox changed over the years?

When Mozilla was first released, those using the Internet and relying on IE to let them do it let out a sigh of relief. The finally had a real option to see if a browser could help them surf better. Firefox did not disappoint and over the years has gone through six different incarnations and many, many patches, fixes and updates in between. We will take a look at the previous five versions of Firefox and see just how far the browser has come.

Version 1.0

version 1

Version 1.0, for just about every program out there, is its release version. Firefox released its first stable copy on November 9, 2004. There was a version 1.0 preview release that was offered for those who had stuck through the beta testing of the browser.

Version 2.0

version 2

Version 2.0 was released two years later on October 24, 2006. This version offered a complete overhaul of the user interface, along with the introduction of a better tabbed browsing environment. The Extension Manager was also introduced allowing users a way to manage extensions easier.

The session restore feature was also introduced allowing a user to recover what was open if the browser crashed unexpectedly. Version 2.0 also upgraded the software and search engines implemented into Firefox.

Version 3.0

version 3

Version 3.0 was released on June 17, 2008. Firefox began using Gecko 1.9 as its primary way of displaying web sites for user. Gecko is a layout engine designed by Mozilla to integrate and make using Firefox easier. This release fixed many bugs in 2.0 along with making Firefox compatible with new developments on the web, including API function.

The Download Manager was updated for efficiency, along with a new bookmarking and history storage system to make it easier to retrieve. Firefox 3.0 broke the Guinness World Record on its release day by recording eight million unique downloads that day.

Version 4.0

version 4

Version 4.0 was released just about three years later on March 22, 2011. It followed two major updates to version 3.0 and its major update was a redesign of the user interface. Bug fixes, security issues and a speed boost were also integrated into the coding to make the browser more efficient. Firefox Sync was introduced to users this version allowing them to sync settings, bookmarks and more amongst multiple computers using Firefox.

The tabbed browsing environment, along with the add-on manager and notifications system were redesigned for better usability. Firefox 4.0 also used the newly updated Gecko 2.0 layout engine from Mozilla.

Version 5.0

version 5

Version 5.0 was released on June 21, 2011. This was only three months after version 4.0 went live. Mozilla is now following the “rapid release” technique Google Chrome implemented to entice users to make the switch.

This version had some background updates to the Firefox engine, fixed many stability and security issues, along with improving the way the browser interprets CSS, JavaScript, HTML5 and other coding languages. As you can see from 5.0’s release date, version 6.0 followed just under two months after it went live.

Is Firefox still the browser to use?

When Mozilla first released Firefox, there really was no other competition on the market except for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Many Windows users felt boxed in by Internet Explorer and longed for a more customizable and user friendly browser. Firefox was released and IE users jumped ship for it. Now, there are a handful of reliable browsers that Internet users can invest time in, including the newly revamped Internet Explorer that is more like Firefox than ever.

Google’s Chrome browser has also become the choice for those unhappy with the recent changes Firefox has made. It seems there is a browser out there for everyone, while Firefox might be the browser of choice for most, if it is not, you can always find an Internet browser that works right for you.

Read more about the latest version of Firefox at Mozilla’s website.