Making It Just Work Better

There’s been a fair amount of buzz about Firefox’s latest 3.0 browser release.

I’ve been a Firefox user for some time, primarily because it just works better and much faster than IE.

So what has Firefox done with the latest 3.0 version?  To the naked eye the changes are not that noticeable.  Especially for those of us that don’t have time or the inclination to peruse in detail the “what’s new” pages.  Yes, there are some UI / graphical changes.  Yes, the URL bar has some very nice search and history features as you type in your target URL.  And yes, there are claims everywhere in the media that security is indeed better.
But by far the most noticeable improvement is simply the browser’s increase in rendering speed.  This includes the all-important back button.  When clicking back, pages load and are rendered immediately.  Mozilla’s own published statistics state that Firefox 3 is nine times faster than IE7, two to four times faster than Firefox 2, and needs one fifth as much memory to operate when compared to IE7.

The results are demonstrated in market share statistics – IE’s share fell to 78.7% in December 2007 from 88.7% in January 2007.  Firefox’s share has grown from 9.8% to 18% during the same period.

Firefox is focusing on things that matter.  They’re refining the product they have to make it better.  Rather than add UI clutter, or seldom used slow-performance-down features they have chosen to focus on making their product simply work better in the areas that matter most such as page-rendering speed and accuracy.

All of us in the software industry should look to improve on what is already in the product in each subsequent release – it’s not all about new features.

I welcome your comments,
Mike Brannan