Firefox 2.0 contains a "Session Restore" feature which is really nice. If your browser crashes or you need to install an extension/theme the next time Firefox opens up it’ll be as it was last time. That means you don’t have to interrupt what your doing and you shouldn’t lose any work the next time Java or Quicktime freezes your browser.
It used to be one of my favourite features in Opera although half the time it annoyed me as I didn’t want my session restored from last time.
Restoring all the time…
There is no interface or UI for having Firefox restore your session the next time you restart – I suppose this fits the Firefox methodology with Session Restore every time being a feature which normal users won’t want or need. It does seem a bit strange that they’ve implemented a fantastic feature and not included one preference for what could be the major use of the feature.
Luckily there is a quick preference change you can make. Open up about:config. Right click, New > Boolean.
Preference Name: browser.sessionstore.resume_session
Preference Value: true
The next time you close Firefox 2.0 and open it up again all your tabs, scrolling, the contents of forms, histories and cookies will still be there as it was last time. It even works with TinyMCE which is pretty impressive!
I do see a problem in this feature in that cookies which only last for one session will never be deleted as the session is restored every time the browser gets restarted. It’s probably issues such as this which stop Session Saving being included as an option in the Options window.
Extensions & Uses
The Mozilla Wiki says that the session data can be accessed through APIs by extensions. An extension could upload the session data to a remote website and when you log on to a copy of Firefox from another location (e.g. work, school) you can continue from where you left off at home.
If you use Portable Firefox (running Firefox from a USB drive), you could save the session data to your USB disk and take your copy of Firefox and your current state of affairs to every computer you use.
Firefox 1.5 Extensions
It’s worth mentioning you can already get this functionality using extensions in Firefox 1.5 – Tab Mix Plus is a pretty nice one. There’s Crash Recovery which behaves like Firefox 2.0 and Session Manager which allows you to manage your sessions. There is a pretty comprehensive list at the Mozilla Wiki.