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Firefox 3.6 Beta: Latest browser from Mozilla

Mozilla recently announced the release of Firefox 3.6 Beta 1. Packed with new features such as Personas (different visual themes), alert of out of date plug-ins, support for the WOFF (Web Open Font Format) font format, full screen video, faster JavaScript responsiveness and improved browser responsiveness.

Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 Logo

It is a bit surprising that visual themes (or Personas as Mozilla likes to call them) have not been implemented widely in web-browsers until now. Using Personas is easy, go to the website GetPersonas.com and browse the gallery. Then select “Wear this” and Firefox 3.6 Beta is updated without any restart required. Most of the different personas look very good making Firefox integrate better with the nicely looking Windows Vista and 7 user interface. Until now I always thought that Firefox had a dated look but now it appears that Mozilla have solved the problem.  Of course visual themes is not what makes a good web-browser but one have to recognize that there are probably many users out there who wants this.

A lot of users of Mozilla Firefox have been using old and unpatched plug-ins causing various security concerns and browser instability, Firefox now have the Mozilla Plug-in Check integrated in the browser. When the users visits a page trying to load an out-of date plug-in an alert will pop-up. It can of course always be discussed if alerts are the right way to handle update issues, for example Microsoft have moved more towards providing automatic updates without any user interaction.

Supposedly Firefox 3.6 Beta is faster and handles JavaScript more swiftly than previous versions. Of course it is something that it is impossible to measure since the performance enhancements will not be that noticeable for average users. However there is nothing wrong with the browser’s responsiveness. The start-up time has clearly been improved and using JavaScript based applications does seem faster.

Full screen video support in Firefox 3.6 has been improved, however the full screen features implemented only works when using HTML 5. This means that most sites will not benefit from the new video feature in Firefox, since the video capabilities in HTML 5 is not used that widely.  Another new feature in Firefox 3.6 is improved support for Windows 7, when hovering over Firefox’s taskbar entry in the different tab that you have open will show up.

Overall Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 contains a bunch of welcome updated, where Personas and plug-in alerts is the most welcome. However Firefox 3.6 is still a minor update compared to previous versions.

Published inWeb-browsers

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