I have played a little with Firefox 3.7a6pre and the speed test results were great compared to Firefox 3.6. On the Mozilla project page I have been following the roadmap where it said that Firefox 4 beta will be released on June 24th. It wasn’t, but the delay was only a few days. Of course, I have downloaded the install as soon as it was available and played a little with it. First thing, I’m glad that they called the version beta instead of alpha – it makes me feel safer when trying it out. Second, the first impression was good. I have run it on my testing profile which has no add-ons and it works perfectly. The tabs look a little different and unlike in Firefox 3.6 they are positioned above the address bar. Not that I would notice, really. I have noticed, however, that the menu doesn’t hide by default and that I don’t see a bookmarks toolbar. Again, it’s there but it’s hidden by default.
I have repeated the speed test I took on 3.7a6pre and the results were slightly better on Firefox 4.0beta2pre. Compared to Firefox 3.6.6, the improvement in speed was 1.3 times. Note that 3.6.6 is faster than 3.6.3 was.
One thing I’ve noticed and have first thought negative of it was automatic updating. I love it now, because it brings me a new (nightly) version every day, but at the start I thought why I need to update a nightly beta version with another nightly beta? Now I update regularly and when my favorite add-ons will be available I’ll switch to FF4 for sure.
So this is the main downside for now: the add-ons. If I open the main menu, then Tools, the Add-ons, I get a nice looking page that should make managing add-ons even easier. However, when I click on the Get Add-ons pane and Browse all add-ons link I only get the Forbidden page…
My current Firefox4beta is “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:2.0b2pre) Gecko/20100706 Minefield/4.0b2pre ( .NET CLR 3.5.30729)” and I have just updated it when writing this post. I have run the Sunspider test again and this version seems to be even faster – 1.45 times than 3.6.6.