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Summary:

Firefox 3.5 is a superb browser — the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine’s performance and memory management mean that it’s great for working with resource-heavy web apps. The Mozilla team has now released the first Release Candidate (RC1) of Firefox 3.5 to beta users, which means that […]

Firefox 3.5 is a superb browser — the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine’s performance and memory management mean that it’s great for working with resource-heavy web apps. The Mozilla team has now released the first Release Candidate (RC1) of Firefox 3.5 to beta users, which means that the final release is probably not very far away.

I’ve been using the beta for some time now as my everyday browser. In my experience, the beta of 3.5 has been far more stable than 3.0, particularly when I have large numbers of web apps open, so I would recommend switching to 3.5 RC1 if you’re not using it already, even though it’s not the final version.

I ran the new RC1 through the Sunspider JavaScript benchmarks. It appears to be about 12 percent faster than beta 4, scoring a time of 2200 ms compared with beta 4’s 2500 ms, but as I didn’t run the tests in parallel you should take that with a large pinch of salt. While it’s not quite as snappy as Google Chrome (by far the quickest browser available, which scores 1500 ms, according to my benchmarks), this new version of Firefox is still a very fast browser. This improved performance, coupled with the ever-increasing bandwidth available to users, should give developers much more scope to create powerful web apps with desktop app-like capabilities — leading to many more useful web apps becoming available for web workers.

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  1. Just to be clear — you can’t download RC1 directly from Mozilla yet. You need to get the beta, then hit “Check for Updates” to get RC1.

  2. What to read on the GigaOM network Thursday, June 18, 2009

    [...] computers? (jkOnTheRun) Is TweetDeck for the iPhone the best Twitter client yet? (TheAppleBlog) Firefox 3.5 RC: stable and fast (WebWorkerDaily) Make your desktop do your bidding with Étoilé (OStatic) T. Boone Pickens, [...]

  3. Truth be told, I think I’ll make the switch on the desktop computer today, just for trying the stability.
    In the netbook I’ll wait until it goes to the repositories -ubuntu 9.04 soon.

  4. Are most extensions available? What about Firebug? I can’t upgrade till that’s ready…

  5. @adampasz – I don’t have it installed, but it looks like it will work: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1843

    Greasemonkey and Gears (the only two extensions I *must* have) both work.

  6. Thanks. What do you use Greasemonkey for? Seems like it’s mainly used by people to cheat at Mafia Wars. ;)

  7. I’ve been using 3.5 since b2. I recently downloaded the early Chrome builds for the Mac and the two browsers are both about as fast on real world JS heavy sites. Given that I use several extensions I just don’t see a reason to move to Chrome at all.

    If you need an extension that’s not 3.5 compatible install Nightly Tester Tools from the Mozilla addons site – you can force 3.5 to thin it’s compatible and for most extensions, that seems to work fine.

  8. @adampasz – I use it to cheat in Mafia Wars. No, seriously, it good for userscripts in WordPress and other sites.

    @rick – yep, extensions are FF’s major advantage over all the others. No matter how fast Chrome is until is has that extension ecosystem, it will find it hard to really compete (though, personally, I do really like Chrome and would probably switch to it if spellcheck worked in WordPress)

  9. Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate 1 Arrives–Get to Know It | google android os blog Thursday, June 18, 2009

    [...] it has much faster Javascript performance than previous versions. Our sister blog, WebWorkerDaily, already put it through the SunSpider Javascript benchmarks. Here’s how it performs compared to the beta, and [...]

  10. Firefox 3.5 RC Download Friday, June 19, 2009

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