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by Mike Zazaian October 7, 2006 - 2:04pm, No Comments

Firefox 2 RC2 Available for Download

Mozilla has just posted the second release candidate of Firefox 2, now available for download through Mozilla’s developer center.

After releasing Firefox 2 RC1 only a week and a half ago, the Mozilla foundation has published the second release candidate of its upcoming Firefox 2 browser. RC2 doesn’t mark an enormous improvement over the previous RC1, likely just some performance, stability and fit-and-finish issues that have been worked out as the browser progresses to its official release date.

For those of you who haven’t switched over to Firefox 2 yet, or haven’t switched to Firefox at all, the RC2 build will bring some subtle but important changes that might take some getting used to. The close tab button on the tabbed browsing bar is now included on each individual tab, rather than including a single button that closes all open tabs. The change makes it easier to close tabs that are out of focus, but more difficult to close a series of tabs all in a row. The addition of a tab title dropdown list seems to justify the change, but the use of the single close tab button for the whole toolbar seems to be an easier solution, and takes up less browser real estate.

Other notable changes include a sleek new interface with metallic-looking icons and tabs, a built-in phishing filter, and an inline spell-checker that puts a squiggly red line under misspelled words in any form field. For users who do any blogging, or who are active in forum posting this proves to be an enormously useful feature, and should begin to show up on other browsers in future releases.

RSS feeds are also handled differently in Firefox 2. Rather than displaying the plain XML as would occur when clicking on an RSS feed in Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2 displays the feed content in a readable and well-formatted manner. A drop-down box at the top of the feed offers the user a number of feed readers to choose from, as well as the option to add support for any available feed reader. If you don’t like any of the options on the list, you can also choose to use Firefox’s own Live Bookmarks, one of the more popular feed readers available.

All in all Mozilla has made some nice strides with Firefox 2. Aside from some fit-and-finish improvements, there are a number of new features that help users deal with the Web 2.0 side of the web as Firefox 1.5 wasn’t capable of. No, it’s not a enormous jump in usability from previous versions of the browser, but for only a 2.x build of a browser Firefox has come further in two generations than any browser before it.

[via Mozilla Developer Center]