Firefox 3.6 new features: Personas
There's more to a browser than just fast page rendering, and Firefox 3.6 offers numerous new features that I think make it a compelling browser choice.
Users who like to tweak the look of their browser but don't want to dig into the technicalities of Firefox's XUL (XML User Interface Language) should enjoy playing with Firefox's new Personas feature.
This is a one-click Web-based tool that lets you change the look and feel of your browser. You can either roll your own theme or pick one of the more than 35,000 themes that are already available. Personally, I like the plain-old Firefox theme, but if you like jazzing up your browser's looks, you'll like Personas.
Personas are essentially a way to add skins to your browser. Personas change the colour and background graphic at the top and bottom of the browser.
Personas are slightly different than Firefox themes, which also change Firefox's navigation buttons, in that Personas leave the navigation buttons intact. Also, you don't have to restart your browser to add or change Personas, which you have to do with themes. Personas are certainly a nice extra, but they're far from groundbreaking.
You can find Personas by selecting Tools -> Add-Ons -> Themes and clicking Get Themes. (Yes, you get Personas by clicking Get Themes, which is quite confusing.)
When you install a second Persona, two buttons appear near the top of the browser: Undo and Manage Themes. Click Undo to revert to your previous Persona. Click Manage Themes and you'll be able to see all of your installed Personas, switch among them, and uninstall any you want.
Users of previous versions of Firefox were already able to use Personas, but only with an extension designed for that purpose. Now, with 3.6, the extension isn't required.
However, the Personas Plus extension does make it easier to install, use, and manage Personas. Among other capabilities, it puts a small icon on the lower-left portion of your screen that lets you instantly switch themes and browser and install new ones.
NEXT: More new Firefox 3.6 features.