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Mozilla takes the wraps off Firefox 29

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By Jane McCallion

Posted on 29 Apr 2014 at 15:00

Mozilla has released Firefox 29, saying it's the most significant update to the browser since 2011.

The major design overhaul in Firefox 29 offers users greater customisation and is easier to use than previous editions, the development firm said.

The title bar is larger than in previous versions of the browser and tabs appear wider and contain more text, shrinking only when there is not enough room to fit them all in.

The bookmarks button has also been changed, as the company said users did not previously realise the ‘star’ icon created a bookmark or, if they did, where the resulting bookmark could be found.

The new button will let users create bookmarks and also access their bookmarks list, whereas previously that was found in a separate dropdown menu.

Mozilla has also made the forward button and download progress bar visible only when they are relevant.

In addition, Mozilla has developed a new add-on, named Lightbeam, that lets users see the first and third-party websites they interact with and build up a picture of their online footprint.

Firefox Sync has also been updated, letting you sync browsing history, saved passwords, open tabs and form data across PCs and Android devices using Firefox Accounts.

"We built Firefox [29] so that you can easily reposition or fully remove almost all of your browser’s buttons and controls, giving you … access to the features you use the most," said Madhava Enros, senior manager of Firefox User Experience, who was involved in the redesign.

"We’ve also better organised the browser window itself... [helping us] to address feedback we heard about how controls were either cluttering the main interface or hidden too deep in a menu somewhere and hard to

find," Enros added.

Firefox 29 is available to download immediately.

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User comments

Hope they haven't broken much....again.

By tech3475 on 29 Apr 2014

Be patient

It may be best to wait a few weeks for any bugs to be identified before changing (unless you are changing from IE anyway).

By bobswin on 29 Apr 2014

More usable - main bug remains

Just downloaded it
First impressions good - it more customizable, a nice step back from the "hide everything philosophy" that seems to dominate browser design.
But the memory leakage problem remains - it still often remains open in the background after "closing", consuming resources and needing a trip to Task Manager before reopening.
Can't see why it can't do a hard close, after warning of continuing downloads of course.

By Walsallian on 30 Apr 2014

Bookmarks

seem to be broken. You used to click on the star to bookmark a page and it opened the menu and you could select "add a bookmark" and you could select which folder it landed in. Now it just lands in "unsorted bookmarks". There is no dialog to let you select where it should land.

I have found out that Ctrl+D brings up the bookmark dialog, but that isn't much help on a keyboardless tablet!

By big_D on 30 Apr 2014

Yes, bookmarks have worked something like that for yonks, which is why I learnt to love delicious.com Look on the bright-side, if you find yourself waiting for a train you can just go and sort your bookmarks!

History works much better now which may help with this, it appears in a sidebar rather than a separate window.

By c6ten on 30 Apr 2014

Drag

I can't seem to hold the top bar (or anywhere else) to drag Firefox's window around.

Like 'Walsallian', I wish they'd do something about the memory usage (give an option to dump open page contents if page not currently open and has not been used for a set period of time, then reload when re-accessed - I tend to keep a lot of pages open for days while researching and have to save all tabs and restart to free memory).

By Binder on 30 Apr 2014

Still slow

It's still very slow to start up. It takes ages compared to other browsers to start up. And the main bug. Once you shut it down you can't start it again, as some process still stays behind running, consuming 130-140MB of RAM and preventing the new start telling that "Firefox is already running, but not responding" After many years of use it's time to move on to some other browser as I can't take all these bugs anymore.

By pasma1 on 1 May 2014

Still slow

It's still very slow to start up. It takes ages compared to other browsers to start up. And the main bug. Once you shut it down you can't start it again, as some process still stays behind running, consuming 130-140MB of RAM and preventing the new start telling that "Firefox is already running, but not responding" After many years of use it's time to move on to some other browser as I can't take all these bugs anymore.

By pasma1 on 1 May 2014

chromic

it now looks even more like chrome version 21 or so...

Given that Opera isn't really Opera anymore, chrome is all google and IE is a beacon for hackers it pretty much leaves Firefox as the only solid middle ground.

By Gindylow on 1 May 2014

Memory Leaks

It's interesting that Opera also suffers from serious memory leaks. The problem has been around for ever, users have been complaining about it for ever, and the Opera developers (appear to) do nothing about it.

(Just checked mine. One window open and it's using 1.25 Gigabytes. [I tend to hibernate my machine so its elapsed running time is probably in the order of days.])

There may be a problem inherent in the nature of browsers that makes this a difficult nut to crack. Although since stopping it and starting it from where you left off corrects the usage in a couple of seconds it's hard to see what.

By qpw3141 on 1 May 2014

@big_D - 2nd press for Edit Bookmark Dialogue Box

@big_D
I might be misunderstanding your concern around the new bookmarking tools, but they appear to work the same as they always did to my eye. Namely: if you press the star, then a bookmark is added (to unsorted folder initially). BUT If you then press the star a second time, it brings up the edit bookmark dialogue box which allows for folder choice, as well as naming and tagging. This doesn't appear to have changed at all for me on v29 (compared with v28 and earlier). This is how I always set and tweaked my bookmarks. 2 presses of the star...
If you meant something different, and I've misunderstood, please explain what you used to do...

By mdoragh on 1 May 2014

Drop dead, Mozilla!

Following the Brendan Eich Affair, I have uninstalled Firefox and anything by Mozilla, and am looking forward to checking their browser market share in a couple of months.

Going by the remaining users' reaction to the latest FF incarnation (https://input.mozilla.org/en-US/?page=3), the figures will be solidly down.

By arichter on 1 May 2014

Your a bit behind

29 had a few issues, I've had lots of crashing and hanging, still version 30 is out in Beta now so maybe everything is fixed.

By Lorribot on 1 May 2014

@mdoragh

yes, I found a double click of the Star icon opens the dialog as well.

Previously, a single click of the Star icon opened the Edit Bookmark dialog (double checked it yesterday on a new installation of 28 on a new machine). The "new" behaviour is to save the bookmark to the "unsorted bookmarks" menu if you single click.

By big_D on 2 May 2014

@big_D - Star Icon in v28 etc

Odd. I'm very sure that is how it always worked for me. Just to be sure we aren't talking at crossed purposes, the star icon I am talking about was previously part of the URL bar, and has always been one-click for "add un-edited bookmark to unsorted folder", and second click to open edit bookmark dialogue (eg to add tags, change the name, and change the folder). Again I checked this behaviour on v28 yesterday too just to make sure I wasn't fooling myself, and this was what happened for me. I can only assume that either we are talking about a different star icon (probably unlikely), or one of use has customised our browser behaviour from the default in v28, as we are reporting different things. That does lay open the possibility that v29 *might* be equally customisable if you prefer. I am happy though, as it still works like I expect it to from the last few years. I hope if it isn't customisable that you quickly get used to the second click. Regards. Mike

By mdoragh on 2 May 2014

Worst yet for memory leaks

Just to update my previous comments, Version 29 hardly ever closes properly in my own Windows 7 installation.

Version 28 had been rather better than previous versions. So I'm going to try to go back to 28 - though I know Mozilla don't make it easy.

Glad to see "it's not just me".

IE is a no-no at present and I find Chrome a devil to customize.

By Walsallian on 2 May 2014

Worst yet for memory leaks

Just to update my previous comments, Version 29 hardly ever closes properly in my own Windows 7 installation.

Version 28 had been rather better than previous versions. So I'm going to try to go back to 28 - though I know Mozilla don't make it easy.

Glad to see "it's not just me".

IE is a no-no at present and I find Chrome a devil to customize.

By Walsallian on 2 May 2014

Why not take us straight to eh GB version....?

By Mackram on 3 May 2014

@ arichter

Are you doing this because of Brendan Eich's support of Prop 8 or because of the fact he had to resign because of that?
I'm curious.

By Mackram on 3 May 2014

@Mackram

Well, and I thought I made myself clear - perhaps I should have referred to the MOZILLA AFFAIR.
Mr Eich's support of normalcy was commendable. By ousting him for expressly one reason only, Mozilla as a corporation has chosen to dance with the devil. They are welcome to their fate.

By arichter on 6 May 2014

V30 seems OK ...

... although only after less than 1 day!
Why do these apps still use 32bit rather than either detect or give the option of 64bit? (just asking)

By Dairs on 12 Jun 2014

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