Mozilla releases Firefox 3.0 beta 1

Developers and Firefox fans who like to live on the edge now have a chance to try out the latest pre-release version of Mozilla’s Firefox 3.0 browser. Firefox 3.0 beta 1 isn’t quite ready for prime time, but it includes a whole host of changes that give a nice preview of what the finished product will be like. It’s available for download over on Mozilla.org, and detailed release notes can be viewed here.

First and foremost, Firefox 3.0 beta 1 includes a revamped rendering engine code-named Gecko 1.9, which Mozilla says includes “nearly 2 million lines of code changes, fixing more than 11,000 issues.” Gecko 1.9 brings major architectural changes that improve performance, stability, rendering correctness, and code simplicity. Other under-the-hood improvements in the new Firefox include a transactionally secure database system to store user data (i.e. bookmarks, history, cookies, and preferences) as well as the removal of over 300 memory leaks compared to Firefox 2.0.x.

However, the most noticeable changes are in the user interface and new functionality. Firefox 3.0 beta 1 has a tweaked user interface designed to better integrate with Mac OS X, Windows Vista, and Gnome desktops. The browser also includes a plethora of new features like an instant bookmarking system via a star button in the address toolbar, advanced history/bookmark search, bookmark tagging, anti-virus software integration, a new download manager with resumable downloads, a plug-in manager, full-page zooming, tab scrolling, resizable address and search bars, and re-thought tab behavior, just to name a few.

The final version of Firefox 3.0 is scheduled to come out either late this year or early next, according to the Firefox Product Release Roadmap in Mozilla’s Firefox wiki. Mozilla says Firefox 2.0 will continue to be supported for six months after Firefox 3.0’s release.

Comments closed
    • axeman
    • 13 years ago

    Boo to the new download manager. Those tiny little icons next to the files suck, as does the omission of the “clean up” button. Making downloads resumable = good. Screwing with the UI for no good reason = bad. Maybe those stupid UI changes will be fixed before the final release. Once upon I time, we scorned the Mac for lacking right click. But at least they figured out how to make a better UI because of it. Right clicking should be a shortcut to do something “quicker”, not the only way to do it.

      • BeowulfSchaeffer
      • 13 years ago

      You could always use one of the download extensions available.

    • holophrastic
    • 13 years ago

    I’ve hated using (and developing for) Firefox for a long time. It’s the rendering bugs that kill me. Not that IE doesn’t have rendering bugs, but FF has rendering consistency bugs. Things that are, forget out of spec, completely screwed up.

    My favourite ones — and by favourite, I do mean dreaded — are the styles and attributes that FF “forgets” to assign to block elements that begin as ‘style=”display:none;”‘ . Whe these elements are revealed, the attributes are still not assigned.

    Simple examples include such tiny things as centering the content, or centering the block element.

    If these types of rendering issues have finally been fixed, FF is starting to look like a nice application for remote web content viewing — It’s still a long way off from a local application platform.

      • BenBasson
      • 13 years ago

      While you probably have some legitimate bugs, others (such as not being able to center block elements) sound like a lack of understanding. Are you talking about only when styles are dynamically applied? This is something I’ve personally never experienced. IE’s lack of styling when classes are dynamically applied is at least as frustrating as your problem sounds though.

      Granted, there were some reflow bugs, but they have largely been solved for a long time.

      From years of developing web pages and recent experience of working with full-blown web applications, I can say with certainty that minor issues with the way Firefox does things are totally eclipsed by Internet Explorer’s layout/display bugs, and having to live with bugs in both products has been an absolutely horrendous experience.

      One immensely positive thing to come out of Firefox 3.0 will be support for inline-block, which means that we can all stop using floats as a hack to make layouts (e.g. forms/menus) work in Firefox properly, which filters back into easier IE development (floats in IE are pure horror).

      Another useful thing is support for the onpaste event, which has been non-existent in Firefox for many years (it’s a Microsoft DOM-Event extension). It’ll be extremely useful.

        • holophrastic
        • 13 years ago

        Nice that you’ve been experiencing the same thing. I too have been avoiding floats, and happily so. With regard to the styles, no I mean directly specified, hard-coded, inline styles, that are just ignored because the element isn’t being rendered. And when one dynamically flips the display style from none to block, FF doesn’t apply the styles then.

          • RyanVM
          • 13 years ago

          Any kind of testcase?

          • BenBasson
          • 13 years ago

          Ah, that makes sense.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    YAY! You can’t resize windows to go below the OS X dock.

    Boo, I have two file menus. That’s friggin weird. And some stuff on the second one, like “New Tab” are grayed out where they’re active on the first File menu. I’ll file that bug for sure. heh

    YAY! Interface overhaul, and it doesn’t look bad (if a little light on the color, so it still doesn’t blend into Leopard’s darker scheme)

    Boo, it broke my extensions.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 13 years ago

      Boo, when I reverted back to 2.0.0.9, it forgot all my logins and remembered stuff.

        • RyanVM
        • 13 years ago

        You know, the release notes /[

          • derFunkenstein
          • 13 years ago

          pffft, release notes.

          What I mean is that 3.0 successfully imported my 2.0.0.x profile, but then promptly tore it to pieces, so when I opened 2.0.0.x again, it was reset for everything except my bookmarks.

          I should have a reasonable expectation that the new database it creates isn’t going to destroy my old profile.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    “Mozilla says Firefox 2.0 will continue to be supported for six months after Firefox 3.0’s release.”

    This bit my brother in the ass. He liked version 1.5.x’s ability to use “Control+F4” to close firefox. This doesn’t seem to exist in version 2.0.x, it just closes tabsg{<.<}g eventually he had to look for another browser as 1.5 stopped being supported.

      • green
      • 13 years ago

      how is that much different from pressing “alt+f4” to close a window?

        • indeego
        • 13 years ago

        To him it’s a big enough difference. Trust me, I tried to convince him, but he’d have none of itg{<.<}g

      • SonicSilicon
      • 13 years ago

      A similar functionality exists with 2.x versions of Firefox. Ctrl+W, which closes the currently open tab, can also close a solitary tab / window. Ctrl+Shift+W will close down the current window, regardless of how many tabs there are. It isn’t quite the same, but essentially replaces Ctrl+F4 for tabbed browsing.

        • indeego
        • 13 years ago

        He an I are aware of the workarounds, but he really was used to Control+F4 closing the entire browser and not tabs. Even an extension to remap commands would be welcome.

        Remember /[

    • eloj
    • 13 years ago

    Finally a working zoom.

    • JJCDAD
    • 13 years ago

    Will my addons work with this beta? (Adblock+, flash block, Exif viewer, etc)

      • etilena
      • 13 years ago

      Some of my addons are broken, like Tab Mix Plus and Stylish. Not sure about the others.

      • adisor19
      • 13 years ago

      Adblock Plus doesn’t work 🙁 Oh well, sticking with v 2 for now :s

      Adi

        • derFunkenstein
        • 13 years ago

        none of mine work, though the ones that work with 3.07a will probably be updated shortly.

    • vinnie1023
    • 13 years ago

    I’ve been using the FF3 alpha for a few weeks (rather amusingly named “Minefield”) and apart from the occasional rendering error haven’t had any major problems with it. The interface changes are very intuitive and overall it just feels faster.

    • etilena
    • 13 years ago

    Does feels a little more snappy. Will test it out to see if the memory leaks are stsill as bad.

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      According to the release notes they worked on memory fragmentation issues (which you likely experienced much more than memory leaks.) Oh and they worked on leaks alsog{<.<}g 🙂

    • [TR]
    • 13 years ago

    OMG! The bugs! The horror!!!!

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