Let me say up front that from what I’ve seen of Firefox 3 so far, it really looks to be a knockout browser; it’s light, fast, extensible, and the interface is flawless. The one and only thing that’s disappointed me slightly, however, is the lack of new front-end features for developers like myself to take advantage of.
Online applications have been given a huge boost with offline storage and new HTML 5 features, but where are the shiny graphical hooks for us to play with? Below are three new features I’d like to see implemented in Firefox 3.1 (which I’ve just made up).
NB: This might seem a bit previous, as Firefox 3 hasn’t actually been released yet, but I’ve been using the nightlies for a while and it seems unlikely that any of these features will be implemented before launch.
I believe Opera 9.5 will be the first browser to do this, and I think it’s an excellent idea. SVG allows us to make scalable, lightweight, vector elements (which can interacted with via scripting). This tutorial on dev.opera.com, How to do photoshop-like effects in SVG, gives an example of what’s possible.
The W3C released a snapshot of CSS specs they consider stable last year; basically it covers namespaces, colour, and selectors. Firefox 3 does implement some of the new colour declarations (RGBA, HSL, HSLA), but its support for selectors has fallen behind Opera and Safari/Webkit.
nth-childand its siblings may not be essential, but they’re certainly useful.
More experimental CSS properties
Webkit has taken the lead on this, with text-shadow, box-shadow, multiple backgrounds, and many more, available for testing with the ‑webkit- prefix; and Opera is not far behind. Firefox, however, doesn’t seem to have implemented any of these according to any documentation I can find. I know the W3’s specs haven’t been finalised yet, but how are we supposed to experiment and provide feedback if our browser doesn’t support them? Mozilla was the first browser to feature columns and rounded corners, but that early experimentation seems to have been abandoned.
Come on, Firefox team; you’ve made the best browser on the market (IMHO), now give us the best layout and rendering engine to back it up.