Using Firefox 2 with Content Management Systems

Screenshot of in Firefox 2 RC1

As you can tell from the screenshot below, I am using a release candidate of Mozilla's Firefox 2 while viewing and editing content in my Drupal site. If you look closely at the image or click on the image to enlarge it, you will also see that I don't always focus my browsing on Drupal. Take a look at the tabs and you'll see me taking a look at a number of other open source projects (such as Joomla and e107). I have been known to have 20 tabs open referencing just as many different portals, forums, and blog applications as I can find. What can I say, I'm obsessed with Web content management systems (CMS).

I have been using Firefox 2 since last May so my time spent with the new browser is even a couple months before the beta version was released. I can't say my initial impressions of Firefox 2 were all that positive. It wasn't the expected bugs in the development releases that squelched my enthusiasm for the yet to be released browser. No it was my original opinion that Mozilla couldn't possibly improve on Firefox 1.x that kept me from acknowledging Firefox 2 as a significant release. Over the past few months I found that Firefox 2 is a browser that has changed my browsing style and it will likely do the same for you.

For example, I earlier mentioned the tabs in Firefox because there are a number of improvements to excite those that prefer tabbed browsing. You of course can still "drag and drop" the tabs in the browser to sort them in an order you prefer. But there are a number of additional features to the tabs that seem to make the browsing experience in Firefox 2 more efficient than earlier releases. Some of those tabbed browsing features include:

  • By default, Firefox will open links in new tabs instead of new windows
  • Each tab will now have a close tab button (you won't think this feature is a big deal until you return back to Firefox 1.x).
  • Power users who open more tabs than can fit in a single window will see arrows on the left and right side of the tab strip that let them scroll back and forth between their tabs.
  • The History menu will keep a list of recently closed tabs
  • A shortcut lets users quickly re-open an accidentally closed tab (we've all done this)

But wait there's more! As I mentioned in previous posts, the most significant improvement in Firefox 2 for CMS users will be the inline spell checking. This new feature to Firefox enables users to quickly check the spelling of text entered into Web forms. How many of us either used a word processor to write our text or just let the mistyped words go out as is? Now Firefox contains an inline spell checker very similar to what is included in Mozilla's Thunderbird 1.5 and Microsoft's Outlook. I certainly believe that their is no more excuses left for those typos on Web pages!

I have found the inline spell checker works well in about every CMS I have used whether those forms are "plain text" or using a JavaScript based WYSIWYG interface such as TinyMCE or FCKEditor. I initially had some problems with earlier development releases of Firefox 2 crashing whenever I entered text though a WYSIWYG form in my CMS, but I haven't seen those problems since Firefox 2 Beta 2 was released.

We all know that when a browser crashes while you are entering text for your favorite blog or forum, nothing can be more frustrating. Well, Firefox 2 can help prevent you from losing your place on the Internet too. Firefox 2 contains "Session Restore" which restore "windows, tabs, text typed in forms, and in-progress downloads from the last user session". When I had all those browser crashes in betas of Firefox most cases after restarting Firefox my content was still preserved. I don't know a single CMS user that wouldn't want to see this feature in all their browsers.

There are of course many other improvements to Firefox 2 from the previous versions. You can find a complete list of new features included in Firefox 2 through the release notes available at