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…

3 Comments on Firefox 3.0m8 (Alpha 8) Released

  1. “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”

    I don’t have the link anymore, but someone at Mozilla said exactly the opposite, and I have to agree with him.

  2. Let me put it this way in terms of add-ons compatibility, there was a major change going from 1.5 to 2.0 compared to 2.0 to 3.0. It does seem as though they are trying to make us think Firefox 3 a major upgrade with how long they are drawing out the development process. The big thing with Firefox 3 should be places, which in of itself is a big change in the way Firefox works.

  3. Looking at what’s going on, i think that this one is really huge, compared to the ff1.5->2.0 switch. The biggest thing in that one was, as you say, the extension changes. I’m sure that the switch to javascript 1.7 was huge too. (I wasn’t paying as much attention that time.)

    but this one’s got:
    -Places (which as you recall got pushed to 3 because it was too big)
    -Reflow-Refactoring (Huge, been working on since 2005)
    -HTML, CSS, and Text re-write for increased modularity and performance
    -Switch to Cairo for rendering
    -Video Element (probably)
    -Massive UI overhaul

    and that’s just the really big stuff. Each alpha has had several things that, imo, would be worth a full point release. (eg 2.0->2.1)

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