Chicago (IL) – The Beta 1 version of Firefox 3.0 was released by Mozilla on Tuesday with more than three dozen major improvements and more than two million lines of changed program code that promise more features, more security and performance.
Firefox 3 Beta 1 arrived after a series of delays - the software was originally planned for a July 31 release – but a first look through the release notes and a quick spin of the browser could convince users quickly that it was worth the wait, even if you have missed the briefly available Beta 1 download last Friday.
Under the hood, Firefox 3.0 introduces version 1.9 of the Gecko rendering platform (Firefox 4.0 is planned to be built on the completely new Mozilla 2.0 platform), which Mozilla says has been in development for more than two years. Compared to version 1.8x of Firefox 2.0x, more than 2 million lines of code have been touched and changed, fixing more than 11,000 “issues”. The result, according to Mozilla, isn’t just sleeker code, but also more performance, more stability and correctness of visualizing code.
But the 6.2 MB package also offers several new features, some of which would have been expected already for Firefox 2.0 and some of which could introduce more convenience how the Internet is browsed and how web pages are viewed today. Among the 39 major enhancements that are listed by the Beta 1 release notes are a new “favicon” next to the URL bar, providing a snapshot of a currently viewed sites and displaying information on who operates the site and possible security issues – which can be blocked right from a pop-up window. Also new is a zoom feature that lets users zoom in and out of a web page by pressing the key combination CTRL+ or CTRL-, a better integration with anti-virus software as well as Windows Vista and Mac OS X. There are also simplified password and bookmark management tools. On the security side, Firefox now warns of websites that are known to host malware (Mozilla also preps a blacklist of malware sites) and the content of pages suspected as web forgeries is no longer displayed.
Mozilla 3.0 Beta 1 is available as a free download from the Mozilla web site, but is only recommended to be used for development purposes.