Few days earlier Firefox 6 is already available in Mozilla FTP but today is the official roll out of the online update for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux as well the mobile version in Android, exactly 8 weeks after the previous version.
Let me go straight ahead to what’s new in Firefox 6. There isn’t much actually. Aesthetically Firefox 6 feels and looks like Firefox 4.2 but there are some useful things added and tweaked in this new version.
The first noticeable change in Firefox 6 is the highlighting of the domain name. As you can see below. The domain is in black while the sub-domain and the page address are in gray.
Firefox Sync is now available in the main menu as well to make it even more easy to discover.
I believe one of the more significant addition is the about:permissions data management window. Ghacks has a review about this new tool.
Firefox has also improved the start-up time when using Panorama. I don’t use this feature personally because I don’t load a bunch of grouped tabs on start-up. For power users, this may come in handy and improve the overall experience.
Mozilla has also added support for the latest draft version of WebSockets with a prefixed API, EventSource / server-sent events and window.matchMedia and improved Web Console usability. If you haven’t noticed it yet, most of these are targeted for web developers. You can take a look on the long list of changes for web developers in Mozilla Developer Network.
Of course on top of all these, Mozilla fixed several stability issues and security issues with Firefox 6.
Here’s a bonus review on the mobile version of Firefox 6.
It has a new look that is more consistent with the Android UI. It comes in black background instead of gray. It also has improved compatibility with SwiftKey keyboard, better page load speed and faster panning responsiveness. The fonts and buttons are now optimized for tablets as well.
I also noticed that when you touch a link you will get a bright yellow highlight marking what you have just touched similar to the Android internet browser.
To end this, I think web developers should be happy that this release is very much targeted to them since most of the changes are related to web development features that will propel further development in Firefox. I tested the memory consumption which is the number one problem for me right now. It remains high after this update but it is expected that Mozilla will optimize the memory consumption of Firefox for the next iteration. In the next update, we will see more version number inflation.
Up next is Firefox 7 which is expected to be released on 27th of September this year.