Firefox's new customization panel
Mozilla around the release of Firefox 4 made the decision to merge all separate configuration and informational windows of Firefox with the main user interface. You may have already seen that happening with the download panel for instance which has been integrated into the ui of the browser whereas before it had been available in its own window.
Other panels are still under construction, like the options menu for instance which Mozilla aims to integrated on a local page in the browser eventually.
I mentioned previously that I like Firefox for its customization options which are superior to what other browsers have to offer - with the exception of Opera, maybe. You can customize the interface of the browser currently by tapping on Alt and selecting View > Toolbars > Customize from the menu that appears on top. Here you can then drag and drop icons from one toolbar to another, new icons on to toolbars or remove icons that you do not need.
The customization menu opens in its own window in current versions of Firefox, but that will be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. Mozilla aims to integrate the customize menu into a panel in the browser just like it did with the downloads menu.
You may ask yourself why Mozilla is making the change. The project page has this to say about that:
Simplifying the ability for users to find what they're looking for, increase relative discoverability for the important items, have a predictable and consistent approach to interface customization.
While I'd agree that the customize menu needs improvements in some regards, I'm not really sure if an integrated panel is the best way to achieve the goal. Still, Mozilla seems intend to go forward and first test builds have been released for Windows and Mac that highlight how it could look like.
When you select customize you are now taken to an internal page, about:customizing that displays a panel on the right and - in the future - icons and theme options in the main window. You can use drag and drop just like before to move elements around, add them to a toolbar or remove them from one.
The current test build is not fully functional but it highlights how Mozilla envisions the new customization interface for Firefox. It is not really clear when builds will land in regular Nightly versions but it looks as if that is going to happen sooner rather than later.Advertisement