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Firefox 29 review: Stalwart browser gets a magnificent makeover

Jon L. Jacobi | May 16, 2014
Firefox updates appear fairly regularly, but for the most part they're mundane. You get a message saying it's checking plug-in compatibility, it finds no issues (mostly), then it's business as usual with no obvious changes. Ho-hum. Back to work.

I use Chrome, IE, Firefox, and Opera--largely to delineate my work-browsing from my private-browsing, though IE's ActiveX support does have some advantages for IT work. Otherwise, they're all more or less technologically equal.

I've been using Chrome the majority of the time partly because it's super-stable, but also because it offers my favorite text-to-speech app in SpeakIt! Opera is fun and has some nice interface perks, but the new version of Firefox has me seriously thinking of cutting back to one (plus IE for the odd corporate gig). I find it the most visually appealing of the bunch, as well as the most intuitive when it comes to changing settings.

My only interface gripe is that Mozilla didn't rework the options dialog to match the new look. Perhaps they're saving that for the big Three-Oh. My real gripe and a major disappointment was not being allowed to paste into the CMS editor I use for posting articles. Sigh, that cost Firefox a half-star and rendered my plans to make it my one-and-only unfeasible. Hopefully, this is something that will be fixed very soon.

Opinions vary, but I truly don't understand the griping I've seen online about the new interface, or the publicity it has garnered. This isn't Windows 8--you can turn back the interface clock via the customize tab and basically clone the old interface via a third-party plug-in if you so desire. However, unless you're freakishly averse to change, you shouldn't want to: 29 is a cleaner, easier design with an improved workflow that will save you time and make your life easier. Really.

The Mozilla folks have cherry-picked the best bits of the competition and added some very nice touches of their own. Sweet stuff from a vendor that doesn't want to rule the world.


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