Firefox 3 has been in development for a few months now. While we're anxiously waiting for it to be officially released, it seems the Mozilla guys like to keep us drooling over the new functions that will be implemented in the browser's new version. A good example is the download manager, which has been greatly improved as we could see some days ago in the Mozilla Links blog. But I wanted to see it with my own eyes.
No sooner said than done. After installing the latest Firefox 3 nightly version, I downloaded a few files to test this new download manager. I must say my first impression was not totally positive. After so many years with the same interface, it's kind of weird to face a new design, even if it's only new in small details.
To begin with, now the download manager organizes downloads into active and completed ones, which makes it easier to browse files and control transfers. Also, the "Pause", "Retry" and "Cancel" text links have been replaced by colorful but tiny buttons. There's another button that displays some information about files that have already been saved: the date they were downloaded, their source URL and their current location on your hard drive. On the downside, I missed the possibility to copy the source URL directly to the Clipboard, something you could do with the previous download manager by clicking on the file's "Properties" menu option.
Another new feature is the search tool. It's a small text field at the bottom of the window which you can use to look for a certain file and which may be useful for heavy downloaders. Talking about massive downloading, I noticed that both the "Clean up" button and the shortcut to the download folder have disappeared, something I'm not particularly happy about. I like keeping my download list clear and I found that button extremely useful.
So far I'm not really impressed by this new download manager. Although I do like some of its features I think there's still room for improvement and I don't understand why they have removed some elements that were really helpful. In any case, Firefox 3 is still on an alpha stage, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it all comes out.