Getting accustomed to Firefox

I’ve been using Firefox exclusively for a couple weeks now and I can’t help but notice that it’s still got some fairly big (to me) usability bugs. I’m actually considering going back to Mozilla until Firefox 1.1 is released. Problems I’m experiencing on a regular basis include:

  1. It doesn’t play nicely with my system clipboard. I am frequently unable to paste copied text into the location bar or any form field, including Google or the LJ update journal form, but this same text will paste fine into any other application. I’ll have to quit and relaunch Firefox to fix it.
  2. My back button often breaks. Opening a browser window opens Google. I can then hit any bookmark from there but, once I do, I am unable to click ‘Back’ to go back to Google. The back button is inactive. This often happens in other circumstances as well, where I will click an arbitrary link on a page and be unable to go back to the previous page. This is particularly problematic when I’m looking at search results and find myself unable to go back to the results page.
  3. This is probably not a bug, but rather a poor design decision: Firefox’s history does not work like every other browser out there. In Mozilla I can look in the Go menu to see the pages I’ve gone through in the active window to get to the page I’m currently on. Firefox puts previously viewed pages in there from other windows, and often doesn’t include pages I’ve viewed in the current window. This had to have been done intentionally. Why I can’t imagine, but it’s forcing me to change the way I’ve been using web browsers since the first time I used one.
  4. Typing in a form field (for example, Google) will often open the Find bar at the bottom of my window, even if the focus is clearly in the text box I’m trying to use. I’ve had to disable “Find as you Type” because of this, which sucks because I really like this feature otherwise. This happened again once tonight, despite this feature currently being disabled.
I’m using 1.0PR on OS X1 and also see these problems on the Windows version I use at work which, granted, is a slightly older one2 because I have to use the Portable Firefox distribution until I get administrator privileges on my workstation. Additionally, I’m not seeing this myself, but Sarai says it crashes a lot on her laptop, also running 1.0PR on OS X.

1. Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; rv:1.7.3) Gecko/20040913 Firefox/0.10.1

2. Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko/20040803 Firefox/0.9.3


hexed says:

I also find its Bookmarks system to be cumbersome and more than a little ill-thought.

Also, I’m totally bummed that when I upgraded to 1.0 Preview Release… all my extensions that I’ve grown dependent on broke.

Boo, I say.

kchrist says:

The bookmarks can be made more usable by dragging the window separator over to the left so you only have one window, like in Mozilla, rather than the two window thing. Also, we have to stop using (Cmd|Ctrl)-B, which that opens them in that sidebar. I’d like to see a user-configurable option to use the sidebar or not.

I’ve heard people complain about extensions breaking between releases but I haven’t yet run up against it myself. Hopefully I won’t between 1.0PR and 1.0 final. Hopefully they’ll freeze the API (or whatever the problem is) so this ceases to be a problem in the future. I guess you have to expect that things can change quite a bit between releases in pre-1.0 software.