Firefox 4 Beta 1 to flaunt new theme with tabs on top

Firefox 4 theme

We've known for quite some time that Mozilla was preparing a new theme for Firefox 4. On Mozilla Links, the UI team has informed the public that the new theme will finally find its way into the browser's first beta release. According to the post, the following changes can be expected in the Windows version:

  • The Firefox button - a new menu button that aggregates the most frequently used browser menu options (default for Windows Vista and 7; can be disabled)
  • Aero Glass interface - a new skin that fits with the default theme of Windows Vista and 7 (currently only available via third-party plug-ins)
  • Customizable tab bar - ability to drag buttons around the tab bar
  • Bookmarks button - opens bookmarks menu and lets you dock it as a sidebar
  • Tabs on top - now enabled by default and can be changed by user

Regarding tabs on top, many users have been quick to call Mozilla copycats. Opera, as well as Google Chrome, have both used tabs on top for quite some time. However, to set the record straight, Mozilla wants to assure the public that it has thought long and hard about Firefox's tab placement and has posted a video explaining the design decision (see below).

The Mac OS and Linux versions will also see UI overhauls, though Mozilla's post doesn't go into details. Besides the changes listed above, other improvements can be expected before a final product is launched. App tabs are one of the features to be implemented and will allow users to make sticky tabs with no navigation interface for application-like websites (such as your email). This is sort of like permatabs.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 is scheduled for release in the coming weeks. Mozilla plans to have the final version of the browser out the door by the end of the year.

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I was avoiding Firefox specifically because of it's inconsistent or cluttered design (especially hated old-fashioned menu bar), but now I like what I see.

х.iso said,
I was avoiding Firefox specifically because of it's inconsistent or cluttered design (especially hated old-fashioned menu bar), but now I like what I see.
The Firefox menu bar has always been able to be turned off from the context menu; the only difference with 4.0 is that it's going to be hidden by default. As with Internet Explorer the menu bar can still be accessed with Alt commands even when hidden.

The one big thing for me is that I can't move the bookmarks button over next to the home button. The layout makes no sense... why arrows pointing to the right when the sub-menu opens to the left?

I want to know what FF is doing to improve there security in the browser and also memory leak issues? They seem to rely on 3rd party add-ons just to secure it and have been ignoring those issues.

RawGutts said,
I want to know what FF is doing to improve there security in the browser and also memory leak issues? They seem to rely on 3rd party add-ons just to secure it and have been ignoring those issues.
What security issues specifically? What memory leak issues specifically?

I'm posting from the pre-beta right now. The new tab positioning is fine with me, but I'm definitely not a fan of the weird Office-like Firefox button (especially since it shows up in fullscreen mode and does not minimise with the rest of the interface). Unfortunately not all features demoed in the video are in place yet, such as the tabbed bookmarks and history views (the addons tab has been implemented, however, and works very well).

Here is hoping Firefox 4 has a low cold start time, doesnt need restarting to install extensions and doesn't use so much RAM.

Wanyal said,
Here is hoping Firefox 4 has a low cold start time, doesnt need restarting to install extensions and doesn't use so much RAM.
Agree with all except the RAM bit.. Only Opera uses less RAM than FF..Chrome/IE use it much more

'Tabs on top' looks a bit daft and awkward to me .. but I've not used tabs that way before ..

time to try it out methinks ..

I've had tabs on top with Strata40 for some time now, And I love it that way.
As the video said, it makes much more sense from a logical standpoint, and hell, I think it looks far nicer too.
I can't wait for FF4, screw all you haters

Very interesting points. I like tabs on top on Vista/7/OS X. But on this comp I use XP with a very minimal theme and it just looks like crap.

Glad they figured out tabs on top is superior after 6 years. And the longer mouse movements is mostly eliminated with mouse gestures. So when are you going to add them natively, Mozilla? If they do so I might use Firefox a lot more than I do now.

x-byte said,
Glad they figured out tabs on top is superior after 6 years. And the longer mouse movements is mostly eliminated with mouse gestures. So when are you going to add them natively, Mozilla? If they do so I might use Firefox a lot more than I do now.

http://www.mousegestures.org/

Alex...slow down the narrative! Why the speed talking? What is the rush? A lot of what you are saying is just lost and not appreciated, because you are talking too fast. Most especially, when you got into the heavy "technobabble" towards the end of the presentation.

Shiranui said,
Firefox is just a host program for AdblockPro.

seriously? the only reason you ever browse the web is so you can block ads? so the content is secondary to the fact that you're blocking ads?

primexx said,

seriously? the only reason you ever browse the web is so you can block ads? so the content is secondary to the fact that you're blocking ads?

No, I mean that the primary reason I still use firefox over Chrome is AdBlockPlus.
Firefox 3.x has lost a lot of ground on the other browsers in most other areas. Hopefully with v4 they will catch up.

When they're talking about controls and the back/forward button i couldn't help but wonder... Is there REALLY anyone who's that clueless that would think the back/forward buttons are for cycling through your tabs instead of navigating your website of choice?

Blackhearted said,
When they're talking about controls and the back/forward button i couldn't help but wonder... Is there REALLY anyone who's that clueless that would think the back/forward buttons are for cycling through your tabs instead of navigating your website of choice?
Think more about it from a logical and intuitive standpoint. Tabs on top makes more sense because the controls are associated with the tab, not the browser itself. Like the video explains.

Absolutely daft.
What's happening to firefox these days?
1.5 was amazing, then it went downhill. A horrible new theme, the most pathetic and pointless backgrounds thing, and now when you close firefox and open it, it's `still running` for ages whereas before it'd open right away.
What a shame for such an originally great product.

Kirkburn said,
Why?

Looks daft. No functional gain AT ALL for it, mouse has to travel further = pathetic waste of code.

n_K said,

Looks daft. No functional gain AT ALL for it, mouse has to travel further = pathetic waste of code.

OH NO POWER USER IS ANGRY THAT HE HAS TO MOVE MOUSE EXTRA 10 PIXELS. *grunt*

Firefox wasn't written specifically, for you, you know.

BlueDraGon said,
Nice opera copy theme... geez when are they gonna be original?

when are your comments are going to be original? For Pete Sake's Just drop it already with
that crap.

BlueDraGon said,
Nice opera copy theme... geez when are they gonna be original?

Yeah, seriously? When will YOU be original? Is that all you ever say? Whine and cry like a little baby just because someone's doing something similar to your oh-so-godly browser?

They need to get this browser and its extensions sandboxed yesterday, IMO. All the visual pizazz can wait.

One thing I prefer Firefox over Chrome is the AwesomeBar addressbar. Now that was a very big change that I can't live without. Keep this with Fx4 along with the hardware acceleration and I'll be happy

burnblue said,

The status bar will be gone

unfortunately..

but i'll probably have to reenable it for all the "tray" icons for addons though... unless everyone figures out a better place to put them.

I want Firefox to auto select the top site while i'm typing. It's good to see that in chrome, but in firefox you have to press the down button before the site is selected...

theyarecomingforyou said,
They're going to have to do a lot more than moving the tabs about if they intend to compete with Google Chrome. I gave up on Firefox a long time ago.

You mean like destroying Chrome in the IE9 test site demos? Oh wait.... ya they did that.

I really hate such changes, I'll revert back to old settings as soon as I install it.

But then again I'm still using Windows XP with the classic theme (looks like Windows 98)

Denvildaste said,
I really hate such changes, I'll revert back to old settings as soon as I install it.

But then again I'm still using Windows XP with the classic theme (looks like Windows 98)

Bring back Windows 98, lets have a 2010 edition that supports all new hardware like quad core CPU's lol

windows95isg8 said,

Bring back Windows 98, lets have a 2010 edition that supports all new hardware like quad core CPU's lol

Ya that won't happen anytime soon. That X86 assembly written single cpu kernel needed to die for some really good reasons.

I've been using the alpha for a bit now, i'm loving the changes so far. I've tried to like chrome, but always go back to Firefox.

Demogorgon said,
I've been using the alpha for a bit now, i'm loving the changes so far. I've tried to like chrome, but always go back to Firefox.

+1

windows95isg8 said,
Give it up Firefox you had your day 'Google Chrome' is the clear winner these days

I'd say IE9 is more of a winner in most respects. Its looking very good in Preview 3 and by the time it goes final it will likely be better than firefox, safari and possibly chrome or opera too.

Chrome isn't customizable either, there's very little control over the browser settings either, firefox has loads of useful settings, chrome is bare of settings.

IE 9 looks to be fab yes, and yer I do agree Chrome has little customised options on it, but that's why I like it, it looks all clear of crap and works well

windows95isg8 said,
Give it up Firefox you had your day 'Google Chrome' is the clear winner these days

Unless you need to do banking or access several secure sites that won't recognize Chrome. When you have 20% of the world top 50 sites not able to view the contents or access the site because they have not pushed for testing, Google is slacking on the job. Microsoft does a better job of getting IE betas approved for sites than Chrome final versions do.

I like Chrome, this isn't a spitting match, they however do need to followup with these sites or everyone will still be doing a dual install of Firefox or using IE to gain access to content.

thenetavenger said,
Google is slacking on the job. Microsoft does a better job of getting IE betas approved for sites than Chrome final versions do.
This is generally the fault of the site designers/coders than the browser, especially if it is a standards-adhering browser.

Whats here,
1. Parts of the new interface
2. DirectWrite and Direct2D to speed things up, significantly
3. Out of Process Plugins (ported back to 3.6.4)

Whats coming,
1. Retained Layers - new rendering code, smoother / faster scrolling
2. New JS

strata40 looks better imo. same but more polished and the FF button on v4 doesn't fit with office2010 windows7 ribbon positioning

chaosblade said,
Why keep the entire title bar just for that ugly button? seriously.

It's not for the sake of the button, it's for the sake of usability. The user needs something to empty to click on so they can move the window around. On Windows, this also lets them continue to take advantage of Aero snap...

Kyang said,

It's not for the sake of the button, it's for the sake of usability. The user needs something to empty to click on so they can move the window around. On Windows, this also lets them continue to take advantage of Aero snap...


Actually in chrome the tabs hit the top of the aero windows when maximised and you can stil grab the glass at the side of the tabs so putting th FF button inline with tabs should in theory be fine

zikalify said,

Actually in chrome the tabs hit the top of the aero windows when maximised and you can stil grab the glass at the side of the tabs so putting th FF button inline with tabs should in theory be fine
"when maximised", "side of the tabs". Do I really need to point out why your argument is thus not valid?

Kyang said,

It's not for the sake of the button, it's for the sake of usability. The user needs something to empty to click on so they can move the window around. On Windows, this also lets them continue to take advantage of Aero snap...

There is a slight problem with this system at the moment (In Midfield) that aero snap doesn't work, hopefully this will soon be fixed. I would also like the tabs to be in the title bar, maybe another preference they can introduce.

robyholmes said,

There is a slight problem with this system at the moment (In Midfield) that aero snap doesn't work, hopefully this will soon be fixed. I would also like the tabs to be in the title bar, maybe another preference they can introduce.

it has been fixed in latest nightly

robyholmes said,

There is a slight problem with this system at the moment (In Midfield) that aero snap doesn't work, hopefully this will soon be fixed. I would also like the tabs to be in the title bar, maybe another preference they can introduce.

I really like the idea of having the tabs at the edges when the window is maximized, but that clashes with my own usage habits, where I often use aero snap to drag the maximized window down to get at something on the desktop or another window.

I'm a little torn between which one I want to see, a little space at the top or edge tabs. Options would be great, but I also realize they can't make every little thing an option. So stressful. .

Kirkburn said,
"when maximised", "side of the tabs". Do I really need to point out why your argument is thus not valid?

Ya I would like to see you explain why we can't grab the title bar when the Window is Maximized...

This is a feature of the UI in Win7, you don't have to hit the min/max buttons anymore, just grab the window. Right?

thenetavenger said,
Ya I would like to see you explain why we can't grab the title bar when the Window is Maximized...

This is a feature of the UI in Win7, you don't have to hit the min/max buttons anymore, just grab the window. Right?

And if the bar is full of tabs, where do you click?

Kirkburn said,
And if the bar is full of tabs, where do you click?

1. In Chrome, there's a slight gap between each tab. You can click there.
2. Also in Chrome, opening no less than 22 tabs for the sake of experimentation showed that there was always a slight gap between the new tab button and the control buttons on the right.

Although I'm quite acustomed to having the tabs on the bottom, having them on top does make more sense.

This is very close to how I want the IE9 UI to look like. It flows with the ribbon UI quite well.

Bengal34 said,

This is very close to how I want the IE9 UI to look like. It flows with the ribbon UI quite well.

I get the feeling the IE9 UI is going to surprise us

burnblue said,

I get the feeling the IE9 UI is going to surprise us


I said before, I would like IE9 to utilize windows 7 "superbar" principle in some way, meaning fuse of favorites bar and tab bar by pinning tabs you often use or like.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

Did you even read the article?

It clearly states:
"Tabs on top - now enabled by default and can be changed by user"

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

i find them more usable. Anyway, right click, uncheck "tabs on top" and you'll get old Firefox look!

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

I am assuming you didn't watch the video at all. Two things are made clear
1) This is not copying chrome
2) It's a preference. They are just trying to decide where to put tabs by default and there are some sound arguments for putting them on top.

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

Ban

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

You're emoting so strongly it seems like you're only hating because it's different, and not because you've tried all the configurations and thought deeply about it. This is a bit of an overreaction for some buttons being moved.

I don't find my experience being affected too much when I switch between Firefox and Chrome, so I don't expect tabs-on-top to matter. However Mozilla has thought through the science of it, and it seems to me that tabs-on-top ends up the better choice. As for the stop/reload button, I absolutely prefer it on the right.. IE7 got it right and I always move it over on Firefox installations

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

FF has always had a very customizable interface, so I'm sure you can change it to suit your needs.

But just to throw my two cents in: the tabs should be above the address bar. This makes the most sense. The user changes a tab, and the address bar BELOW changes. With the tabs below the address bar, the user changes the tab and the address field above it changes as well as the content below it. It works perfectly a-ok! But it isn't application "feng shui".

I think the only reason why people complain is because they are use to the tabs being below the address bar....

Shadrack said,

FF has always had a very customizable interface, so I'm sure you can change it to suit your needs.

But just to throw my two cents in: the tabs should be above the address bar. This makes the most sense. The user changes a tab, and the address bar BELOW changes. With the tabs below the address bar, the user changes the tab and the address field above it changes as well as the content below it. It works perfectly a-ok! But it isn't application "feng shui".

I think the only reason why people complain is because they are use to the tabs being below the address bar....

+1

eilegz said,
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bah i really hate the tabs up there, i hope that they make it customizable, i really hate the copy chrome tendency =/

plus its going backward with the position of stop and realod button on the right, leave it on the left, damn even chrome its changing it to the left.

really hate the whole UI change, that wont bring anything only annoyance....

People still use the refresh button? F5 for the win.

GeekTwo said,
People still use the refresh button? F5 for the win.
Which came first - the button, or the key? Methinks the key. Bit hard for them to "still" be using something that came second.

i dont know maybe its just that i get used to it, im not the biggest expert on UI, but based on my experience so far making me move more a mouse or click more its not a change for better.
the whole visibility thing its something that i would understand if everyone its moving to netbooks where "screen space" its important but common its not like we are back in 1998 where everyone its running a 14" inch monitor or less with 800 x 600 resolution to worry about a few pixels of height.

the stop and reload button should be placed on the left because the foward and back button its there, that its one of those ui changes that i really hate about ie7 and thanks to god that ie8 fix it making it customizable.

fusing the menu bar in single dropdown button feels cluttered and counter productive makes looking for some options more time consuming. sure we can argue about office 2007 change in ribbons as an inspiration for the whole tabs above and elimination of menu its ok in a office suit because almost all needed options its there.

Customization its very important and well firefox and opera at leats its a very customizable browser so those who like older setting can set it up, but again i dont see any benefit of the change of ui in firefox just for the sake to copy its competitors

eilegz said,

...i dont see any benefit of the change of ui in firefox just for the sake to copy its competitors

I sent you a PM with some of my thoughts, but I just want to mention this: The more similar programs are, the easier it is (usually). The people who are new at computing don't have to learn where the menus are for each program...if all programs follow the same layout, then less to have to learn for each.

I don't access settings all the time, so having them bunched into one drop-down menu isn't upsetting for me.

LiquidSolstice said,

Aaaand what did I tell you.

You said you love SpewBoy's Strata40 theme and you can't wait to get your hands on the beta.

Examinus said,

You said you love SpewBoy's Strata40 theme and you can't wait to get your hands on the beta.

That too, but I had a comment right after this that said I totally called it that someone would do the whole retarded and immature "omg copying opera" schtick. It was deleted (not by me), and now that I think of it, probably for the better.

~Neowin~ said,
Now it's looking more like opera.

Oh yes because Opera invented the idea of a menu button in the top left and making the titlebar use glass. Microsoft also copied Opera with the ribbon I assume?

omnicoder said,

Oh yes because Opera invented the idea of a menu button in the top left and making the titlebar use glass. Microsoft also copied Opera with the ribbon I assume?

Its just a comparason, he didn't say that Opera invented the ribbon.. Firefox are just implementing good features from other browsers.