The Mozilla Firefox developers are working on several different branches of the web browser at the same time. The latest public version, Firefox 3.6.6 just released today, and Firefox 3.7 which will be renamed to Firefox 4.0 later this year.
The latest nightlies of Firefox 4.0 concentrate on finalizing the graphical user interface of the web browser. We have reviewed some design changes like tabs on top or Windows Aero support in the past.
Chrome and Opera users will recognize many similarities, many Firefox users on the hand will need some time to get used to those changes.
The most obvious user interface changes are visible in the Firefox header. The menu bar has been reduced to a Minefield button which displays the menu items on click.
Tabs are not on top of the address bar by default. That’s again similar to how Google Chrome and Opera display the tabs.
Both options can be reverted by customizing the top bars in Firefox. The menu can be expanded and the tabs placed under the address bar. It remains to be seen if those options will be available in the final Firefox 4.0 release as well.
Firefox users who have placed other UI elements in the menu bar in previous versions will notice that they are automatically hidden if the single menu button is active. A bookmarks bar placed in the menu toolbar for instance is not visible in the default design. Lots of free space in the main toolbar which could be put to good use.
The title bar has been removed, page titles are now displayed in the tabs only.
The navigational elements fit nicely in the design. The arrow symbol next to the forward and backward buttons provides a listing of the last opened tabs in the web browser.
New buttons can be added to the toolbars as well, available are for instance buttons to display the bookmarks or download manager.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will notice that the Aero implementation is still not optimal depending on the background colors. A dark background image makes the displayed menu bar items almost unreadable.
firefox 4 windows aero
The graphical user interface nears completion but it is likely that it will be fine tuned by the developers to sort out the latest quirks before the beta versions and release candidates get released.
The reveamped add-ons manager is another new interface element in Firefox 4.0. The manager displays in a tab in the browser now and displays the standard options to manage add-ons, themes, plugins and to get new add-ons.
firefox 4 addons manager
Firefox users who want to test the latest Firefox 4.0 builds can download it from the locations below for their operating system:
What’s your take on the new Firefox design?
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Post tags: firefox 3.7, firefox 4, firefox nightlies, firefox ui
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