Sexy Firefox 3

Let me start by saying that Firefox 3, on OSX, is a completely, entirely, different browser from Firefox 2 on OSX. It’s more responsive, it has native widgets, and a brand new theme. Considering that I (and most developer friends that I know) use Firefox – and use OSX, this should come as a much-needed respite.

Firefox 3, beta 2 was released yesterday, now is a perfect time to start playing around, testing your web sites, and getting a feel for the overall user experience of the new browser.

Here’s a couple things that you can do (specific to OSX):

Download Firefox 3.0b2 Drag it somewhere on your computer, rename it to something like “Firefox 3.0b2”, then drag it to your Applications folder so that it doesn’t overwrite your copy of Firefox 2).

Multiple Firefoxes Here is how you can run multiple versions of Firefox side-by-side, simultaneously. First, you’ll need to go to the command-line and navigate to where your Firefox is stored, and run it like this (tab auto-complete will help here):

$ /Applications/Firefox\ -ProfileManager

The above is important – Firefox allows you to run multiple copies of itself, with all of its critical information stored in different profiles. Thus, once you run the above, you should get a dialog that looks like this:

You’ll, probably, only have one profile listed (I have a ton, because I’m frequently running 3-4 different versions of Firefox for testing purposes). Click the ‘Create Profile…’ button and just jump through the steps. Once completed, selected your newly created profile and hit ‘Start Firefox’. You should, now, have two copies of Firefox running side-by-side.

Now, don’t worry about running that command-line statement – the profile manager dialog will pop up every time you start Firefox, from now on (unless you tell it not to).

The Sexy New Theme Now that you’ve started Firefox 3, it’s time to install Proto (the theme that will be enabled by default on OSX, once completed). That should be a quick install/restart.

If you don’t see the theme after the restart, go to Tools > Add-ons > Themes, select Proto, and hit ‘Use Theme’. That’ll require one more restart, but then you’ll be using the nice new theme in the brand-new version of the browser.


Update: Getting Firebug working on Firefox 3 Probably the most popular extension for web developers is the incredibly-cool Firebug. However, the normal Firebug extension doesn’t work in Firefox 3, right now. There’s a separate Firebug side-project called “Firebug 1.1” (which will, eventually, become the true Firebug 1.1).

It’s easy enough to get going with this extension, just go to the Firebug 1.1. Download page, install the extension, and do a quick restart. You should be good-to-go!

Posted: December 19th, 2007

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