We have a launch date for Firefox 3 (plus an extra RC)

From the Mozilla Developer Centre:

Whenever we’re asked “when is Firefox going to be released” we endeavour to answer to the best of our abilities, but the truth of the matter is that we’ll only ever ship “when it’s ready”. We have a lot of indicators that help us understand when the product is ready for release: feedback from our pre-release milestones, excitement in the community and the press, availability of compatible Add-Ons, and a large active beta community helping us ensure that the release is compatible with all the various sites on the Internet.

After more than 34 months of active development, and with the contributions of thousands, we’re proud to announce that we’re ready. It is our expectation to ship Firefox 3 this upcoming Tuesday, June 17th. Put on your party hats and get ready to download Firefox 3 – the best web browser, period.

Plus the 3rd Release Candidate is out today.  Unless you’re on a Mac you don’t need it though, as it contains only a single change to fix a Mac-only bug that was causing the system to hang or crash at startup or shutdown.

Firefox 3 RC2 Released

image Mozilla has released the second Release Candidate for Firefox 3, if you had RC1 installed it would have come as an automatic update, otherwise you can get it from the download page.  The release notes for RC2 are here

There aren’t any new features, this is a pure bugfix release. Ironically though, there are more ‘known issues’ in RC2 than there were in RC1 (21 vs 17). 

The final for Firefox 3 is due later this month I believe.

New version of Firebug works in Firefox 3 beta

Sweet.  I didn’t see this before, but Firebug has a new beta version too, which means that it works in Firefox 3 beta 4.  Grab it from the releases page under the Firebug 1.1 Betas heading.  Possibly the single most useful Firefox plugin for me, the fact that it wasn’t working in the beta releases of FF3 was what was stopping me from switching to the beta. No more excuses now, the Adblock Plus plugin even works.

Mozilla Firefox 3 beta 4 available

Mozilla has released the 4th beta of the upcoming Firefox 3 browser.  Check out the review of the new beta by Mozilla Links.  Updates in this release:

  • Improvements to the user interface: better search support in the Download Manager, ability to zoom entire page or just the text, continuing look and feel improvements on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux.
  • Richer personalization through: location bar that uses an algorithm based on site visit recency and frequency (called “frecency”) to provide better matches against your history and bookmarks for URLs and page titles, as well as an adaptive learning algorithm which tunes itself to your browsing habits.
  • Improved platform features such as: support for HTML5’s window.postMessage and window.messageEvent, JavaScript 1.8 improvements, and offline data storage for web applications.
  • Performance improvements: changes to our JavaScript engine as well as profile guided optimization resulted in significant gains over previous releases in the popular SunSpider test from Apple, web applications like Google Mail and Zoho Office run much faster, and continued improvements to memory usage drastically reduce the amount of memory consumed over long web browsing sessions.

There’s a link to the download site at the bottom of this page.

It has also been announced that there will be a 5th beta release, with the code freeze on the 18th of March, which means the beta should be available around March 31st. Or they may release it on 1st April just to screw with everyone :)

Firefox 3 new features announced

Percy Cabello on Mozilla Links has posted about the recent Gran Paradiso developers meeting where they discussed the new features in Firefox 3.  They came up with a list of features, separated into mandatory, highly desirable & ‘nice to have’. 

The mandatory features were:

  • Improved interaction with Add-ons: clearer, more coherent language; less steps to install; more visible way to configure add-ons, probably to be moved back to the general Options window, which I hope deeply; more noticeable alerts when updates are available; a permanent restart Firefox button.
  • Support for remote bookmarks, bookmarks and history annotation.
  • Files could be handled by web services. If I am reading this correctly, this could mean you would be able to click on an attached document and open it with something like Writely or Google Documents. Or perhaps, as I asked Santa, the ability to redirect mailto: links to web email services.
  • A much needed print support to prevent cut paragraphs and true WYSIWYG.
  • The much requested MSI installer which will be a much welcomed improvement for IT administrators as it will ease deployment and updating of Firefox across a company.
  • In the security front: support for Microsoft CardSpace and OpenID (check tomorrow’s article for more coverage on this). Smarter credentials handling.
  • Airbag, the Google backed open source crash reporting tool will replace currently licensed TalkBack.

These would all be cool, but the two best features I saw were on the ‘highly desirable’ list:

  • Save web pages as PDF files, plus integrated with history. That would be just awesome.
  • Support pause/resume downloads across sessions.

Both of those would indeed be just awsome.  You can see the full list with details plus other info on the Firefox 3 requirements doc.

Gran Paradiso Alpha 1 was released in December and according to the Mozilla Release Roadmap, final release is due November 2007 (est.). Another alpha is due in the next couple of months.


Firefox 2 Release Candidate 3 for Windows and Mac released

Mozilla has released the third Release Candidate for Firefox 2 for Windows & Mac, following on from the Linux release a few days ago.  There’s a good chance that this will be the last release candidate before the final production release.  People who had RC2 installed would have received RC3 already as an automatic update. For everyone else, you can download it here.

As of this release, the only plugins I have installed that still don’t work are:

Firebug, the Web Developer Tool Bar, Adblock and the rest I have installed all work fine though, so for my 2 cents it’s now safe to update to the new version.

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Mozilla Calendar updated

Mozilla has released the latest beta versions of their calendar apps Sunbird (Standalone program) & Lightning (Thunderbird calendar plugin).   It’s been a while since the last release (January, IIRC) on these projects, there doesn’t seem to be as much developer interest in these ones, so it’s great to see some progress being made. I really think Thunderbird has zero chance of competing with Outlook in any meaningful way until it has a stable calendar function.  For your average home user it may not be all that critical, but for your average business user, it’s absolutely necessary.

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Internet Explorer 7 – beta 2 preview

I’ve now installed the IE7 beta 2 & I thought I’d share my experience with it here. The IE blog has been lauding the new features of IE7 for a while now, so lets see if it at least starts to measure up to expectations (remembering that this is a beta preview release).

IE 7, like all versions of IE before it, installs over the top of any previously installed version of IE. This is a real pain right off the bat, especially as this is a beta release. The irony here is that the people who would most like to beta test, and who would be most valuable for Microsoft to beta test, are web developers. We know what sites should look like. We know the standards, we know the hacks and the common pit-falls and we can test them. But we also need a working copy of IE6 (even if we don’t use it as our own browser) to test the development of the sites we build, so we can’t very well replace IE6 with IE7 because it would interfere with our job. There is a discussion on the IE forum about having both versions installed, and the official response in there is that it can’t be done (never mind that it has been done, right up to and including beta 1 of IE7). So basically I’ve decided to give this beta a go today and then remove it tonight. There’s not much else I can do (other than decide to not play with the beta, and that’s just not going to happen).

So anyway, here we go…

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Firefox 1.5 Beta released

Firefox 1.5 Beta is now available. Only available in English at the moment but I imagine that will change soon.

I started digging around on the train trip home (I’ve got over an hour to kill, so why not). There’s the stated changes on the release notes, but some of the more interesting things I’ve noticed:

  • Its about 1 second faster to start up, and that’s on a Celeron 2 with 512MB compared to version 1.0.5 running on an Athlon with 1G of RAM, however 8 our of my 9 plugins don’t currently work with it, so that’s probably helping a fair bit. Linky is the only one that currently still works.
  • You can reorder tabs by dragging & dropping – nice
  • You can really notice the difference in the back & forwards buttons’ speed
  • The options screen has been re-done, screenshots were shown of this a few months ago by Ben Goodger and they seem to have stayed pretty much the same since then. For my 2 cents I think the change is for the better. Easier to use and more logically laid out.
  • Clear Private Data on the Tools menu – can be set to clear as much or as little info as you like. Very nice for those who use a shared system.
  • The Live Bookmarks link has been moved to the top, at the far right hand side of the address bar. This seems to be a better place for it, no one ever looks down the bottom right side of the browser unless they know to.

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