Firefox 3 is based on the new Gecko 1.9 Web rendering platform, which has been under development for the past 28 months and includes nearly 2 million lines of code changes, fixing more than 11,000 issues.
Gecko 1.9 includes some major re-architecting for performance, stability, correctness, and code simplification and sustainability. Firefox 3 has been built on top of this new platform resulting in a more secure, easier to use, more personal product with a lot under the hood to offer website and Firefox add-on developers.
Firefox 3 Beta 2 includes approximately 900 improvements over the previous beta, including fixes for stability, performance, memory usage, platform enhancements and user interface improvements. Many of these improvements were based on community feedback from the previous beta.
- Reliability: A user's bookmarks, history, cookies, and preferences are now stored in a transactionally secure database format which will prevent data loss even if their system crashes.
- Speed: Major architectural changes (such as the move to Cairo and a rewrite to how reflowing a page layout works) put foundations in place for major performance tuning which have resulted in speed increases in Beta 2, and will show further gains in future Beta releases.
- Memory usage: Over 300 individual memory leaks have been plugged, and a new XPCOM cycle collector completely eliminates many more. Developers are continuing to work on optimizing memory use (by releasing cached objects more quickly) and reducing fragmentation. Beta 2 includes over 30 more memory leak fixes, and 11 improvements to our memory footprint.
Easier to Use
- Easier password management: an information bar replaces the old password dialog so you can now save passwords after a successful login.
- Simplified add-on installation: the add-ons whitelist has been removed making it possible to install extensions from third-party sites in fewer clicks.
- New Download Manager: the revised download manager makes it much easier to locate downloaded files, and displays where a file came from.
- Resumable downloading: users can now resume downloads after restarting the browser or resetting your network connection.
- Full page zoom: from the View menu and via keyboard shortcuts, the new zooming feature lets you zoom in and out of entire pages, scaling the layout, text and images.
- Tab scrolling and quickmenu: tabs are easier to locate with the new tab scrolling and tab quickmenu.
- Save what you were doing: Firefox will prompt users to save tabs on exit.
- Optimized Open in Tabs behavior: opening a folder of bookmarks in tabs now appends the new tabs rather than overwriting.
- Location and Search bar size can now be customized with a simple resizer item.
- Text selection improvements: multiple text selections can be made with Ctrl/Cmd; double-click drag selects in "word-by-word" mode; triple-clicking selects a paragraph.
- Find toolbar: the Find toolbar now opens with the current selection.
- Plugin management: users can disable individual plugins in the Add-on Manager.
- Integration with Vista: Firefox's menus now display using Vista's native theme.
- Integration with the Mac: Firefox now uses the OS X spellchecker and supports Growl for notifications of completed downloads and available updates.
- Integration with Linux: Firefox's default icons, buttons, and menu styles now use the native GTK theme.
- Star button: quickly add bookmarks from the location bar with a single click; a second click lets you file and tag them.
- Tags: associate keywords with your bookmarks to sort them by topic.
- Location bar & auto-complete: type in all or part of the title, tag or address of a page to see a list of matches from your history and bookmarks; a new display makes it easier to scan through the matching results and find that page you're looking for.
- Smart Bookmarks Folder: quickly access your recently bookmarked and tagged pages, as well as your more frequently visited pages with the new smart bookmarks folder on your bookmark toolbar.
- Places Organizer: view, organize and search through all of your bookmarks, tags, and browsing history with multiple views and smart folders to store your frequent searches.
- Web-based protocol handlers: web applications, such as your favorite webmail provider, can now be used instead of desktop applications for handling mailto: links from other sites. Similar support is available for other protocols (Web applications will have to first enable this by registering as handlers with Firefox).
- Easy to use Download Actions: a new Applications preferences pane provides a better UI for configuring handlers for various file types and protocol schemes.
You can download this second beta release of Firefox at here.