Yesterday saw the long-awaited release of Firezillanix Phoebird 0.6, or whatever it’s called. I’ve been using it on and off in the past, and I have to say this latest release is probably the most polished yet.
It’s fast (although Mozilla is catching up), it has a clean and uncluttered interface, it has more themes than you can shake a stick at and it’s only a 6MB download. If you don’t mind using software that hasn’t been tested fully and is still a bit rough around the edges, then get yourself a copy.
I am, for the most part impressed, but I do have some concerns:
- The first is that there is no help file, but I imagine this will be written when it comes around to integrating Firebird with the Mozilla trunk. That said, the Mozilla help file is also lacking in areas.
- The extensions support is flaky. I added the Site Navigation toolbar addon and it wouldn’t appear. It also took a restart of the browser to disable it, but nothing told me that.
- Theme switching isn’t polished, but they know about that so I won’t rant too much. And at least in most cases you don’t have to reload the browser to change the theme.
- Probably my biggest gripe relates to the Options dialog, which replaces the Preferences window. While I like the new look, and I’m glad it has been simplified, it becomes less useful for more savvy users like me. Currently, Firebird has two methods of changing preferences – the Options dialog, and about:config. The first is aimed at less-able users, and the latter is aimed at Mozilla experts. There’s nothing in between for people who want to modify advanced settings, but don’t want to manually modify confusing text strings. If any of the Firebird developers are reading this, how about a button called ‘Advanced Options’ which brings up another dialog similar to the one already used in Mozilla to configure the other options that have been taken out?
- No easy way to add more search engines. Yes, you can go to MyCroft, but how many users will know that? There should be an ‘add more engines’ link somewhere in the UI.
Other than these concerns, I am generally impressed by what I see.