Firefox 3.6 Tidbits

A bit of a Smörgåsbord of Firefox 3.6 news from the past couple weeks.

  • Firefox 3.6a1 Released
    • On August 7th, the first (and only) Alpha build of Firefox 3.6 code name Namoroka was released.
  • Firefox 3.6b1 Next Milestone
    • According to this week’s Mozilla Project Weekly meeting, the next milestone is going to be Beta 1. I knew Mozilla had an aggressive release schedule planned for Firefox 3.6, but this seems a little extreme. When I get some time, I am going to get the Alpha 1 milestone downloaded and installed or jump into the nightly builds like I’ve been doing with Firefox 3.5 for the past several months.
  • Firefox 3.6a1 Review
    • Percy over at Mozilla Links has once again provided a very comprehensive review of this new release. Mainly focusing on the new features coming with Firefox 3.6 including:
      • New Tab Switching interface. Much like the Windows Task Manager, CTRL+TAB would provide a graphical interface for switching and previewing between tabs. For those of you keeping score at home, this was planned then yanked out of Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.1/3.5. One has to wonder if the third time is going to be the charm for this feature. Personally, it is not anything I am overly excited about. In fact Mozilla has it turned off by default in this latest release. To activate tab preview, set browser.ctrlTab.previews to true via about:config.
      • New Full Screen Button. In case pressing F11 is too much trouble, you can add a ‘full screen’ button to your toolbar to activate/deactivate full screen mode. Again, nothing exciting here and why clutter your toolbar with an icon that perfoma an action that can be accomplished with a simple 1-key keyboard short-cut?
      • Performance (JAVA Script Optimization/TraceMonkey). TraceMonkey was a major hurdle and the cause of several release delays for Firefox 3.5. Furthermore, Firefox 3.5 has shipped with parts of the feature turned off. It will be fully active by default in Firefox 3.6. I can’t say much about this until I get Firefox 3.6 installed and start using it.
      • Web Development. Firefox scored 94 in Acid3 (the web standards compliance test), one point more than Firefox 3.5.
  • Firefox 3.6 Features List Shrinking
    • An earlier draft plan (before the move to a more aggressive release schedule) for Firefox 3.6 called for new features borrowed from Prism, Ubiquity, Personas, and Jetpack Mozilla Labs’ extensions. However since the release is only months away, these will likely be added into Firefox 3.7 scheduled for next spring.
  • November Release and Personas
    • Mozilla is aiming for a November 2009 release for Firefox 3.6 and to include Personas. For those not familiar with Personas, take a moment to read my Review: Personas from December 2007. I am excited to see this as being a standard part of Firefox 3.6. Personas has been a major change for themes in Firefox. Being able to preview your Persona and apply it on-the-fly (no install then browser restart needed) is wonderful and something that has been missing from Firefox. Opera has a similar interface allowing you to apply ‘skins’ without having to restart the browser. However, Personas also includes a much larger and still expanding library to choose from.

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