Firefox 3 Alpha 5
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Alright, many of us have been waiting for Mozilla to get Places into the Firefox Alpha releases and it has finally happened. Alpha 5 comes to us one-week late, but marks the beginning of Places which could end up being a beautiful thing. The only thing is that the user interface changes are still very minor so don’t expect to see any of the cool things, but as I previously mentioned Places is indeed working in the background to manage your bookmarks.

The password changes are also quite important for extension developers who leverage off of the current password system in Firefox. Justin Dolske said that "the new Login Manager has one downside… The interfaces for using it have changed, so extensions that might have been using the old interfaces will need to be updated to use the new ones instead." So this is probably the point where you will start to see more extensions fade into the sunset until developers get around to updating them.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the new stuff in this release:

  • Bookmarks portion of Places has been enabled.
  • New crash reporting system, Breakpad. It’s enabled by default on Mac OS X, on about 50% of Windows installations, and not yet available on Linux. You can also view crash reports at this site.
  • New Javascript-based Password Manager. More details available here.
  • Support for Growl notification under Mac OS X
  • Support for native controls on Mac OS X
  • Miscellaneous Gecko 1.9 bug fixes

If that sounds appetizing for you, then the English downloads are currently at your beckon call:

Looking ahead at Alpha 6 (scheduled for June 29) we should see a much more developed Places implemented. This will include a synchronization client, starring and tagging capabilities, and a unified organizer. Also in Alpha 6 should be a better download manager which I believe is very much needed.

Then comes the move into the Beta’s. The first Beta is scheduled for July 31, and by that time all of the features (including the user interface) should be in place. They’ll start working on fixing everything they have gotten implemented so that they can ship Firefox 3 the third quarter of 2007.

Also, development for Opera 9.5 is underway, which is also supposed to bring some nice things to the table. I haven’t seen any official mentioning of new features, but I’m sure the Opera team will thrown in some pretty cool surprises.