Earlier this weekend Mozilla released Firefox 3 Alpha 7 to the public. According to the original development cycle we were supposed to be onto the Beta builds already, but Mozilla has run into some setbacks…particularly with performance. They are still continuing on their 6-week release schedule, and here’s what’s changed in the latest version:

  • Favicons are displayed in the address bar history:
    Firefox 3 Favicons
  • "Real" page zoom functionality [read]
  • Visit history is now 180 days by default instead of just 9 days
  • Simplified interface for launching external links (ex. itms:// or mms://):
    Firefox 3 Launcher
  • Updated Google anti-phishing protocol [read]
  • Domain awareness appears to have been removed [read]

And what’s coming up in future versions:

  • They will unify the add-ons management system (themes and extensions) with the plugin management system (Flash, Quicktime, etc…)
  • Make it easier for users to engage with the support community and report problems
  • Integration with Vista’s parental control system
  • Only let users save a password after it has been verified that the login succeeded
  • Create a platform for Places that allows syncing with a remote server (such as Del.icio.us)
  • Improved performance and ease-of-use for bookmarks and history storage
  • Blacklist malicious sites
  • Resizable search bar

Most of those things have already begun development, and should have no troubles making the final release. There are other high-priority items, such as a new Firefox theme, that don’t even appear to have been started yet and could end up jeopardizing an on-target release.

The next milestone, which is yet to be specified as an Alpha or Beta build, is scheduled for September 18th. I believe that the release of Firefox 3 is going to get pushed back into 2008 because they still have a good amount of work left on it. If I had to guess I would say that it will be in January or February of 2008, because they will want at least two Beta releases, and a few release candidates which should all be spaced several weeks apart.

Download Firefox 3 Alpha 7
Source: Mozilla and Mozilla Links
Thanks for the tip MetaMan!

There Are 8 Comments

  1. Let’s see how long it takes Microsoft to roll out with these features. I’m so impressed that firefox is so quickly adapting to some of the features in Vista. Congrats, only another reason why Firefox is much better than IE.

  2. I don’t really care about any of these features enough to want the new browser – all I want to see is a more Vista friendly theme, passing the Acid2 Test and more efficient use of memory (make that ‘be faster’). Extensions can do the rest. Though the saving password only if the logon succeeds would be nice.

  3. Ahh..blacklisting sites. This’ll be helpful since my sister likes to go on sites that are popup city.

    I also like the password saving feature. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved an incorrect password….it’s so annoying.

    As for ease of use with bookmarks….how much easier can it get? You can already drag and drop urls into the bookmark menu…

  4. As much as I want to try out the new Firefox Alpha versions, I think I’m going to wait it out until the Beta version is out. I don’t mind it if they push the dates back as they are just trying to get things right the first time around than release it and fix the bugs motto! :-)

    Thanks for the update..

  5. Alex – I assume that you are probably referring to the parental controls on Vista, and that is something that Internet Explorer 7 already integrates with. I haven’t tried them myself, but that’s what I’ve heard.

    I agree with Inferno_str1ke that there needs to be a more Vista friendly theme. This is something that a lot of browsers need to look into because I love the IE7 theme simply because of the transparent effects it has.

  6. Well Ryan I assume you would not waste any time in shifting to firefox completely if they indeed manage to push in a Vista friendly Theme would you :twisted: ;)

  7. I use both Opera and Firefox on a regular basis, both for different reasons. Firefox has some site compatibility that I need for some services, but Opera can manage dozens of tabs without using insane amounts of memory. So while the theme would be awesome in Firefox, the thing that I really need is better memory management. :)

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