Firefox 3.5 Ticks Along Nicely

firefox logoI upgraded my iMac and my Windows 7 machines to Firefox 3.5 (available here) today. 

All went well. The total download/install time was about 4 minutes on my iMac – 2 minutes on Windows 7 RC.

This isn’t a particularly important release for me. I was happy with Firefox 3.0.1. But they promised more speed so I gave it a whirl.

  • Snappier: With its new JavaScript engine – TraceMonkey, it does appear to be snappier, but not a whole lot more snappier as some had suggested.
  • New Tab Icon: I like the new tab ‘+’ icon. They are imitated  an IE feature here.  This is useful, especially for news.
  • Moving Tabs Between Windows: Now you can drag a tab out of the browser and a new window will open with that page. Or drag a tab from one window to another. For multi-monitor users like myself, this is a terrific new feature.
  • Addons – Extensions: All my extensions except 1 migrated nicely. I needed to do a manual update to my Tab Extensions 1 extension (discussed here and available here) but that was to be expected.
  • Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug: This ‘bug’ still persists in Firefox 3.5 (discussed here ). Alas, as long as the Tab Extensions add-on is available, this is not a problem for me.

See also:

How to Import Firefox Bookmarks into Safari 4 Beta in Windows

hot to import firefox bookmarks in safari 4 beta in windowsWhile Firefox is my mainstay browser, I pretty much use all current browsers from time to time both to test my various websites for compatibility and to keep current with what’s new in the browser wars.

I recently installed the Safari 4 beta. In earlier versions of Safari, there was always an option to import bookmarks from IE or Firefox during the installation process. Not-so with the Safari 4 beta install.

Note: I purposely uninstalled Safari 3 before installing Safari 4. My hope was to get a fresh import of my most current Firefox bookmarks in the process. That didn’t work.

I use xmarks (formerly foxmarks)  to synchronize my bookmarks between computers. While there is an xmarks beta client for use on the Mac, so far there is none for the PC.

Here’s the easiest way I could find to import Firefox bookmarks into the Safari 4 beta:

In Firefox:

  • Click on Bookmarks
  • Click on ‘Organize Bookmarks’ (Ctrl-Shift-B)
  • Click on ‘Export HTML…’ under the ‘Import and Backup’ pull-down menu

export bookmarks in firefox

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How I Configure Firefox

how i configure firefox - firefox fox biting ie I have recently reinstalled Firefox on a number of computers (iMac and two Windows 7 beta machines). Every time I do this, I have to recreate my Firefox configuration from memory. For the benefit of my future Firefox installs, and for anyone else interested in how I configure/optimize Firefox, in this post I describe the various tweaks I make to Firefox and the various add-ons and extensions I routinely use.

Note: The discussion below assumes you are using Firefox 3.0 and above.

A Word about ‘About:Config’

The tweaks below are made through Firefox’s ‘about:config’ page. It’s easy to use. To access the ‘about:config’ settings page enter ‘about:config’ into Firefox’s address bar (circled in green below).

You can scroll up and down the list to find the key you wish to modify (they are listed alphabetically). Click the key you wish to edit, change the value and click ‘OK’. Alternatively you can type the key (or the first few letters of it) in the Filter box (circled in red below) to narrow the list.

how i configure firefox - about-config - filter

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Fix For Firefox 3’s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug

Firefox3bug_thumb5On May 25, 2008, I wrote this post about Firefox 3’s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug. That post has been, by far, the single most accessed post on The Daleisphere.

I’m delighted to report that thanks to Martijn Warger (see comment 57 here), there is now a tiny Firefox extension that completely solves the problem.

The Problem

For as long as I’ve been using Firefox (a couple years now), middle clicking on any group of tabs in a folder would open all the tabs in the group while simultaneously overwriting all currently open tabs – a very valuable function when you routinely browse by folders as I do.

This was the case when when the about:config


option was set to true – its default setting.

From the early Firefox 3 betas up through to the current Firefox 3.0.1 version, this has been broken. No matter how that option was set, opening new tab groups appended the new tabs to open tabs instead of overwriting them (more details in my original post).

The Solution

[June 30,009 Update: Martijn has updated the ReplaceTabs Extension to work with Firefox 3.5. Read about it on the Bugzilla here or download it here. I have tested it both on the iMac and on Windows 7 RC and it works just fine. Do not used the old one crossed-out below if you have Firefox 3.5 or above]

Click here to download/install Martijn’s "ReplaceTabs Extension 1". You will need to open the.xpi file with Firefox to install the extension. after installation, Firefox will need to be restarted for the solution to take affect. Once restarted, make sure the about:config option (see picture below) is set as follows:

browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace = true

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Synchronize Firefox 3 Bookmarks with foxmarks

foxmarks logo

[July 7, 2008 Update: I discuss the foxmarks beta version below. Foxmarks is now out of beta and available as a normal add-on for Firefox 3.  You can download it here.]

[May 2009 Update: Foxmarks is now named xmarks and can be downloaded here.]

Last year I became an enthusiastic user of Google Browser Sync (GBS). It effortlessly synced my Firefox bookmarks, passwords, browsing history and cookies across my several desktop and laptop computers.

When I tested Firefox 3, beta 4 in April I was saddened to discover that GBS didn’t work with Firefox 3. Mozilla has completely changed how the bookmarking system works in Firefox. As far as I can tell, Google has not announced plans to update GBS despite numerous bloggers and forum participants beseeching Google to do so (see for example here and here).
[July 7 Update: Google announced several weeks ago that it will no longer provide GBS for Firefox.]

Weave Didn’t Work for Me

So I downloaded Mozilla’s newest beta software, Weave, that promised to synchronize my bookmarks (latest version 0.1.28 available here – ars technica setup instructions here – poorly reviewed here – but working for this guy and this blogger). Despite hours of frustration I couldn’t get it to work – at all.

Lastly, I looked to foxmarks but, at the time, the Firefox 3 version was in private beta only.

So, without a means to synchronize my bookmarks and given the Firefox 3 ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug that I previously wrote about, I fell back (tail between my legs) to using Firefox 2 – memory leaks and all.

Firefox 3 logo With the release of Firefox 3, RC1 I couldn’t wait any longer. I installed it expecting to use Firefox, for a time, without synchronized bookmarks – quite dispiriting given how I’ve become reliant on it for cross-system synchronization.

foxmarks for Firefox 3 Now Available in Public Beta

After installing Firefox 3, RC1 [Update: download current version here] I was happy to discover that a public beta for the Firefox 3 version of foxmarks was now underway. I installed it on my computers and it worked. It continues to work without incident across all of my Visa x64 and XP PCs.

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Work Around for Firefox 3’s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug

Firefox 3 bugBugzilla Reports: Bug 175124Bug 395024
Forum Threads: mozillaZine | whirlpool
Last Update: August 1, 2008


[Nov 8. 2008 Update: There is a new add-on from the Mozilla add-on directly to solve the problem: ‘Openintabs-erase’. If you try it, please let us know how it went for you in the comment section  below. I haven’t tried it because I’m happy with Martijn’s solution (below).]

[June 30, 2009 Update: Martijn has updated the ReplaceTabs Extension to work with Firefox 3.5. Read about it on the Bugzilla here or download it here. I have tested it both on the iMac and on Windows 7 RC and it works just fine. Do not used the old one crossed-out below if you have Firefox 3.5 or above]


[Update: August 1, 2008: We have a solution! Martijn Warger posted the "ReplaceTabs Extension 1" available here that completely solves the problem! I have replaced all the add-ons discussed below with this tiny Firefox extension (open the downloaded .xpi file with Firefox), and set the about:config ‘browser.tabs.loadFolderAndReplace’ option to ‘true’. Browsing with folder groups in Firefox 3.0.1 now works just as it did in earlier versions of Firefox – overwriting open tabs with your new tabs.  For complete details see my new Fix for Firefox 3’s ‘Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug post. Thanks so much Martijn!]


Firefox allows you to organize bookmarks into folders. You can simultaneously open all bookmarks in a given folder by either: 1)  clicking on the " Open all in Tabs" option in the folder; or by 2) middle clicking on the folder itself.

When I use Firefox to browse the Internet, I almost exclusively use this feature to browse by folder groups rather than browsing one site of a time. For example, when I want to catch up on the news, I middle click on the "News" folder on my toolbar. When I wish to read my forums, I middle click on the " Forums" folder on my toolbar. I use dozens of such folders, set up on my Firefox toolbar and in my bookmark hierarchy, to navigate the Internet on any given day.

The Problem

For as long as I’ve been using Firefox (a couple years now), middle clicking on any folder group (the "Forums" folder, in the example above) would overwrite all previously opened tabs (the "News" folder tabs in the example above) . So, for example, if the "News" folder contained eight sites and the "Forums" folder contained 10 sites, after middle clicking on the ‘Forums’ folder, just 10 open tabs would remain.

Starting with Firefox 3, when a new folder group is opened, new tabs are appended to the previously opened tabs rather than overwriting them. So, in the example above, after middle clicking on the ‘Forums’ folder, 18 tabs would remain open instead of 10.

You can see then that, if you browse by folders, as I do, within a short time you could have 100 or more open tabs. This becomes untenable very quickly!

Cascading Tabs' Resulting from Firefox 3 'Open in Tabs' Overwrite Bug

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