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Mozilla overhauls UI for Firefox 4 beta
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 19:00

From Computer World

Mozilla overhauls UI for Firefox 4 beta
First preview debuts browser's new Windows look; expect updates every 2 to 3 weeks

WorldMozilla on Tuesday released the first beta of Firefox 4, a major upgrade expected later this year that features a revamped interface, support for a wide range of Web technologies and performance improvements.

 

Firefox 4 Beta 1, which missed its original end-of-June ship date by less than a week, is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, although the most obvious changes --the reworked interface -- is only offered automatically to Windows users.  Firefox 4 beta 1

Visual tour: Firefox 4 beta 1

"We moved the tabs to the top to make it easier to focus on the Web content and easier to control the tools in your Web browser," said Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox, in an introductory message on the Mozilla blog. "Also, if you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the menu bar was replaced with a single Firefox button so you can get to the most-used options with just one click."

The tabs-on-top look is present by default only in the Windows version of Firefox 4. Mac and Linux users can switch on the UI feature from the View menu by selecting Toolbars and then Tabs on Top.

Mozilla has been talking about and working on a visual refresh for Firefox since November 2009, when it said it would borrow elements from both Microsoft's Windows 7 and Google's Chrome browser.

The similarities between Firefox 4 and Chrome are hard to miss: Both put the tabs above the address bar; both sport a minimalist look with few buttons; and on Vista and Windows 7, both dispense with the traditional menus spread across the top of the screen.

Firefox has gone one better than Chrome on that last element: A single button -- marked "Firefox" -- displays a drop-down menu when clicked. Chrome uses two buttons for the same result.

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