Firefox 1.5 Launched

Firefox 1.5 was released late last night and according to some sources is not any different to the RC3 version. I had waited for the official release so this is my first look at the new version.

Installation

There were quite a few extensions that didn’t work with 1.5 but for most of them it was just a case of editing the install.rdf so that the max version was greater than 1.0

If you don’t know how to do this it’s really easy so here’s how:

  1. Download to your desktop the extension you wish to get working
  2. Rename the .xpi file to .zip
  3. Open the zip file
  4. Either unpack the install.rdf file or open it for editing within your zip application if that is supported.
  5. Change the maxVersion to 1.6
  6. Repack the zip file or update the zip if you are editing within your archive app (should happen automatically – double check the file has been updated)
  7. Rename the .zip file to .xpi
  8. Test the extension. To install drag the xpi file onto an open window.

Fixing Broken Extensions

For convenience here are the web development related extensions that needed to be fixed to work for Firefox 1.5. I have included the PR Googlebar updated and working for Firefox 1.5 (The syntax of the install.rdf file had to be modified in addition to the maxVersion).

Review

1.5 has gained a few interesting features such as auto updates, a new caching mechanism for the the back and forward buttons, usability enhancements and improved support for Mac OSX. For web developers the key differences of note are the support for SVG, CANVAS a new element for programming graphics, Xforms parts of CSS3 including automatic column layouts and new accessibility features including DHTML accessibility and support for Window eyes 5.5.

As a web developer it’s hard to get too excited with the new standards features because until there more widespread support for them they are unlikely to be utilised fully. However, it’s good to see Mozilla keeping Firefox to the fore of these advancements. In my first day of use overall it does seem to be a touch faster, hopefully some of these speed enhancements will have found their way into the Mac OSX version.

Update: There’s a global change that can be made to Firefox in about:config to make all extensions work without going in an editing the .xpi files via Mark WubbenHow to make older extensions work in Firefox 1.5 beta

Update2: Please note that the versions of the Fangs extension is not completely working as it should be due to changes in the DOM. For more on this see the Fangs extension author’s site. See Update 3 below

Update3: Fang’s author, Peter Krantz over at Standard Schmandards has made the changes necessary to make Fangs work for Firefox 1.5. Get it at sourceforge.net

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