firefox ical preview-1.pngOne of the things that Firefox 3 has really been pushing to do is make the browser more usable, and there are some nice things they’ve added to do just that. I’m not sure how often you deal with iCal calendars in your browser, but I come across them from time to time. Normally it’s because of friends or family that want to share their schedules with me.

Firefox 3 has improved on the way it handles launching applications for files that you’re downloading, and this also reaches out to iCal calendars. In the screenshot to the right I was trying to open an iCal calendar, and seeing that I’m on a Mac it lists iCal given that it is the default calendar application.

The other thing you may notice is that it also lists as a viable option to open up the iCal file. Most of you are probably familiar with the service already, but it’s essentially just an online calendar that anyone can sign-up and use for free. In some sense it is similar to Google Calendar. Why is this such a big deal? Because you’ll get an instant preview by selecting 30 Boxes as the “application” you want to use to open the file. You’ll be able to navigate from one month to the next checking out the events, and can click on them to see more details. Heck, you don’t even have to sign-up for the service in order to utilize the full power of the preview.

I don’t know about you, but it’s really nice having the option to preview files like this in your browser before you actually take the time to open them in an application. Now I’m just hoping that other online services will be able to integrate into Firefox just like this so that we can preview PDF’s, documents, and more without having to download a thing.

And as it stands right now you can’t add your own web application to the list, but you can remove them by going into the preferences and pulling up the Applications tab. Well, I shouldn’t say that you can’t add them because you can by going through the about:config screen. There’s just no pretty interface to do it.