Firefox 3 Alpha 3

It’s here! People were wondering where Mozilla’s next milestone was for Firefox 3 and it has finally come. This release, like other Alphas, are geared towards developers and don’t really include much that casual users would find exciting. Here’s what’s new according to the release notes:

  • Animated PNG (APNG) images are now supported.
  • The DOM clientLeft and clientTop attributes are now supported.
  • Introduced support for <link rel="offline-resource">, which puts resources into the browser’s offline cache. This allows a web application to ensure that its resources are available in the cache when the browser goes into offline mode. See Marking Resources for Offline Use for further details on offline support.
  • Improved precision of layout and scaling across a wide range of screen and printer resolutions.
  • Implemented cycle collection in XPCOM, which detects cases where two released objects hold one another, but neither is held by anyone else. In this scenario, both objects can safely be purged. Previously, the holds each has on the other would have prevented them from being purged.
  • Added support for the HttpOnly cookie attribute, which marks a cookie as readable only by the server and not by client-side scripts.
  • Added a new preference, “Warn me when web sites try to redirect or reload the page”, which notifies the user when the page specifies HTTP-EQUIV=refresh.

The APNG’s (Wikipedia article) are new and is something that could change how we see animated images on the Internet. Animated GIF’s have been around for quite awhile but their quality does not match the advancements made to date. There are some examples of APNG’s (example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5, example 6), but they only work with the latest nightly releases of Firefox 3, and not with Alpha 3.

Since the images contain many more colors than animated GIF’s, it is only expected that the files would be much larger…and they are. The other thing that came to mind was whether these would start to become popular. Sure they are higher quality, but at this point very few people would create APNG’s because they are not supported across all browsers. I guess Mozilla is the first one stepping up and they’re probably hoping that other browser would soon add APNG support as well.

I had already found the feature to notify users of a redirect and mentioned that here along with providing screenshots. It is a great feature from a security standpoint but a lot of sites use redirects, such as Gmail when clicking on links in emails, which can make this feature annoying. As of right now they don’t have a whitelist option which would make it easier to approve common sites, but hopefully that is something that they add…just like they have for approving popups.

Lastly, I have put together a portable version which you can download below. This will make it easy for you to play with it, see what’s been happening, possibly test your own sites to make sure they still look okay, and then go back to your primary browser.

Windows: Gran Paradiso Setup Alpha 3.exe
Mac OS X: Gran Paradiso Alpha 3.dmg
Linux: granparadiso-alpha3.tar.gz
Firefox Portable 3 Alpha 3 (for Windows)

Source: FF Extension Guru’s Blog