More dev tools, Chrome import, and more in latest Firefox update

Mozilla has released a new update for Firefox, identified as version 11 for those counting, which introduces a few important new features.

You can now import cookies, bookmarks and history from Chrome. Considering Chrome’s growing market share (even surpassing Firefox by some accounts) it makes sense to make it easier it for Chrome users to move (back) to Firefox. You will be prompted when doing a first install, or you can opt later from the Library window.

Import settings from Chrome in Firefox 11 screenshto

More developer tools keep pouring into Firefox, all contained in the Web Developer menu. A 3D view of a web page layout is now available when inspecting a web page, giving web developers a useful (and cool) tool for learning and debugging style related problems. Rotate and zoom by dragging the image or with w, a, s and d keys, pan with the arrow keys and zoom in and out with + and -.

Firefox 3D web page inspector screenshot

Also in the web development tools department, a new Style Editor allows you to see the CSS working for the current page, disable and re-enable it, editing and see the effect immediately, and save your changes for accelerated web development.

Stye Editor in Firefox 11 screenshot

Firefox Sync now supports add-ons (extensions and themes) as synchronized items joining forms, passwords, tabs, history, bookmarks and preferences. This is a personal most wanted feature, as it makes restoring or moving your browsing environment a step easier. Only search plugins are missing now, and I can’t wait to see that coming.

Add-on syncing setting in Firefox 11 screenshot

To enable add-on synchronization just go to the Options (or Preferences) window and check it in the Sync page.

Other web developer oriented features include Web Sockets API losing its moz prefix, as the specification comes closer to finalization. Support for file storing in IndexedDBs, and initial support for SPDY, a faster protocol for faster web content transmission. SPDY support is disabled by default but you can enable it by setting network.http.spdy.enabled to true, via about:config.

This makes for another on time Firefox release. A year later, Mozilla’s Rapid Release Cycle strategy has definitely proved right, with no less than 7 releases, all of them on time, and a very long list of new features for users and web developers.

Next release is due in 6 weeks, on April 24th.

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