Home > software, websites > Firefox 3.1 shaping up well under the codename Minefield

Firefox 3.1 shaping up well under the codename Minefield

The browser wars. Apparently, webdom cannot get enough of it. And of the four major competitors in this field (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera), Firefox clearly knows the way to go. Fast.

Of these, the players holding the most share are IE and Firefox, holding almost all the market between them.

Microsoft’s IE 8 is in the beta phase. And their beta is one that does not work for me. Staggering while scrolling down pages, and speeds slower than the laurus do not impress. At least, not me.

But Mozilla scored a big hit with the reliable, expandable and powerful Firefox 3.0. And it was fast – in all respects: page downloading, rendering, and scrolling. Faster than Opera, in fact, which claims to be the fastest browser on earth.

A word on speed testing: I am not a fan of benchmark testing. For me, the fastest is that which feels fastest. On my current machine. On my system.

That was until Google’s flash browser Chrome came along. In terms of speed, it has no equal. Light, easy and very chic, it blazed. If it were only something more than a bare browser, I would love it.

But that speed title may soon be lost for Chrome: Enter Firefox 3.1. This is shaping up in its beta form as Mozilla “Minefield” (latest downloadable from here).

Minefield review

Testing it, I found out that you can install it separately from your regular Firefox, but cannot run one while the other also runs. No problems there.

One of the first things you notice is the little ‘+’ sign at the right of the tab bar. A useful addition for those perplexed about how to add tabs. But the real difference is under the hood. This becomes obvious once you start browsing. And the difference is not small. Its a big difference, very noticeable.

I have, at this moment, installed all the following browsers on my system: IE 8, Opera 9.5, Safari for Windows 3.5, Chrome, Firefox 3.0.3 and Minefield (23 Oct 2008). Call me a browser junkie, but that does come in handy while developing web applications.

The point, however, is that: Minefield was clearly the fastest of them all. I ran my own tests (not very professional, but useful) that included opening the same sites on them using the same connection, following links on the pages to see what it prioritised where, etc.

Mozilla Minefield cleanly topped all my speed tests. Not benchmarks, but tests.

And best of all, it was stable enough for me to use regularly.

Endnote

Mozilla’s Firefox series is clearly the leader in this latest session of browser wars. I already use Firefox as my default browser across my three different operating systems.

And Minefield has done nothing to change my perception.

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