Firefox 3.0m8 (Alpha 8) Released

The next milestone, (still an Alpha) release of Firefox 3.0 is now out. Here’s what’s new with this release (via the release notes):

  • Basic and unpolished UI for starring and tagging pages has been added, as well as a richer Location Bar autocomplete algorithm that matches against page title (see Places UI Plan for more details)
  • Prompt for remembering passwords is no longer a modal dialog
  • Built in malware protection (which you can test here)
  • Basic and unpolished UI for indicating richer website identity information has been added
  • Support for web-based protocol handlers, though it doesn’t work in all situations (see bug 394483).
  • A new Applications preference panel for configuring handlers for various content types (see bug 377784) has replaced the Download Actions dialog and the Feeds preference panel
  • All Firefox add-ons must now use a secure method for auto-updating (see bug 378216 and this guide for more details)
  • Firefox now quits properly (instead of just being killed) when Windows is shut down or restarted (see bug 333907)
  • Added support for document.elementFromPoint method (see bug 199692)
  • DOMWillOpenModalDialog events are no longer fired by the nsIPrompt implementation (see bug 391100)
  • TYPE_PLUGIN has been removed from the Extension Manager code (see bug 392140)
  • You can also see the full list of all bugs fixed since Gran Paradiso Alpha 7

So now it is almost the end of September and we are sill in the Alphas. As I pointed out in the Fx 3a7 Released entry, Firefox 2 RC1 was released on September 26th last year. Taking A Look Back At Fx 2 Schedule you will notice Firefox 2 only had 3 Alpha, 2 Betas and 3 Release Candidates ( eight milestones) before the final release on October 24th. Firefox 3 is not as much of a major change from Firefox 2 in comparison to the change from Firefox 1.5 to 2.0 version. Yet Firefox 3 is sure taking a heck of a long time. I know Places has been a major pain in the rear (which was why they yanked it from Fx 2 in the early development stages), but still it almost seems as if the developers don’t know when to stop when adding features/fixes.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good new features/fixes in this milestone such as the fix for that dreaded Improper Shutdown Bug. Also requiring all add-ons to use a secure method for auto-updating is a step in the right direction.

Now big question will see Firefox 3 this year? Highly doubtful unless they can get thru all the betas (however many there are going to be) and the release candidates in the next 2 months. Looking back at the Firefox 1.0 & 1.5 releases they were in November. I just don’t see Mozilla doing any type of a major release until after the first year if it isn’t done right around Thanksgiving. I could be wrong though…