Archive for the ‘Firefox’ Category

Mozilla has renamed its Weave add-on to Firefox Sync. The plugin allows users to synchronise their password, bookmarks, history and tabs across multiple devices.

“We are excited to announce that the “Weave Sync” project from Mozilla Labs has officially graduated and is now being incorporated into the Firefox roadmap. “Weave Sync” is now named “Firefox Sync” and the service will become a feature of Firefox in an upcoming major release” announced Mozilla’s Ragavan Srinivasan.

The add-on for Firefox has already had over 1.4 million downloads, and is proving to be hugely popular. A similar feature is available in both Google Chrome and Opera.

Currently available in more than 15 languages, the Firefox Sync add-on can be downloaded from the Mozilla Add-ons website.

Native 64-bit builds of Firefox 4 Alpha for Windows are now appearing in the Firefox Nightly builds, and are expected to be released simultaneously when Firefox 4 ships.

Mac and Linux users have had 64-bit builds since early April, but there is still limited plug-in support, with most plug-ins falling back to 32-bit.

“This is still just a very very very early experimental build” noted Mozilla’s John O’Duinn. This means the browser may not behave as expected, and testers are advised to proceed with caution.

Eager testers can download 64-bit versions form the Firefox Nightly repository.

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An article written by Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb suggests that Google Chrome’s battle is with Firefox, and not with Internet Explorer as many think.

They base this data on their Google Analytic data that is collected from their website, with users of the site being described as early adopters.

ReadWriteWeb data shows a big drop in Firefox users over the last 12 months, from 54% to 39%, while Chrome has enjoyed a jump from 7% to 18%, all while Internet Explorer usage has stayed constant at around 25%. These statistics make this theory sound plausible.

We can’t vouch for these figures in our own statistics, but it is interesting none the less. Market Share data from Net Applications shows that Firefox is still gaining share slowly, while Chrome is also growing, and Internet Explorer is on a one way slop down.

This would suggest that Firefox may be taking users away from Internet Explorer, but that older and more experienced Firefox users are taking the plunge to Google’s Chrome browser.

Either way, the entrance of Chrome into the market has surely stirred things up. Statistics over the next few months will be very interesting, with yesterdays release of Chrome for Mac and Linux.

Nightly releases of Firefox 4 now include Aero Glass for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, with the feature still a work in progress.

“The feature was available first in early April but pulled back soon after to iron some important bugs” noted Mozilla Links Percy Cabello.

The above screenshot also showcases the ability to hide the menu bar, and move the tab bar above the location bar.

Keen users can test the new interface by downloading a copy of the latest Firefox nightly.

Mozilla Developer Rob Cambell has revealed that Firefox 4 is recieving a new DOM inspector, similar to what is found in other browsers, after it was removed from Firefox 3.

Currently, Firefox web developers use the Firebug add-on to achieve the same effect. Cambell has stated Mozilla is not out to “kill” the Firebug add-on, but to merely suplement it.

“Now every browser ships with a set of development tools. We didn’t feel that [the original] DOM Inspector was the right tool to include in the browser” wrote Cambell.

Early Firefox 4 builds that include the new, unfinished DOM inspector are available for download.

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Mozilla has given a presentation discussing Firefox.Next, now officially known as Firefox 4, which bypasses the often talked about Firefox 3.7 version number.

New features set to make an appearance in the browser include:

  • Speed – it will be “super-duper fast”
  • Power – it will support “HTML 5 and beyond”
  • Empowerment – users will be allowed to fully control their browser, its data, and their web experience
  • Completely re-vamped user interface allowing layout customization and less chrome
  • Improved stability and security
  • Ability to install add-ons without restarting browser
  • Better tools for developers
  • 64-bit support
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Multitouch support

Currently, a Firefox 4 Beta is expected in June next month, with a possible final release planned for November, or Janurary if development slips past the November time-frame.

The full 50 minute presentation can be downloaded or watched online.

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Along with the customisable tab bar, Firefox 4 also looks set to gain a new add-on manager, which is currently receiving a major overhaul.

The new add-on manager works in a browser tab, removing the need for a separate window completely. Along with the standard options for managing extensions, themes, and plugins is the ability to manage both installed languages and search engines.

Currently it is still very much a work in progress, with not all functions working as intended, with  icons and the interface still not final. Other features are still yet to be included, such as silent extension updates.

The new add-on manager is expected to start appearing in nightly builds of Firefox 4 soon.

Latest nightly builds of Firefox include a new customisable tab bar in the browser.

New builds allow buttons in tabs to be removed, saving valuable screen real estate for heavy tab users.

Previously this has been possible with third party add-ons, or by modifying the browsers own CSS files.

The tabs in this build also appear to be more rounded, as has been apparent in early interface mock ups for Firefox 4.

This is only the start of changes, with tab animations and aero glass still on their way for the upcoming browser.

Eager testers can view the new tab bar in action by downloading the latest nightly builds from the Mozilla FTP server.

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Mozilla have released a pre-alpha build of it’s popular Firefox browser for Android devices. The browser, previously known under the Fennec codename, has been released to gather feedback from the Android community.

This news comes just a month after Mozilla announced it was putting Windows Mobile development on hold, and shows there is still life in the mobile version of Firefox outside of Windows Mobile and Nokia Maemo devices.

So far, the browser is only confirmed to be working on the Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One at this early stage of development.

Vladimir Vukićević has stated that this early build has poor memory management, and this build requires Android 2.0 or above, and likely an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable device. This is on top of a few other smaller issues.

Firefox for Android can be downloaded from

Mozilla has released a multi-process beta version of its Firefox browser, code named Lorentz.

“Firefox “Lorentz” provides uninterrupted browsing for Windows and Linux users when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins. If a plugin crashes or freezes, it will not affect the rest of Firefox. You will be able to reload the page to restart the plugin and try again” said the browser release notes.

The multi-process, or out-of-process plugins support first started appearing in early versions of Firefox 4 back in March, but Mozilla has now almost finished the task of porting the code back to the Firefox 3.6 branch.

Out of the box, it only supports Adobe’s Flash, Apple’s Quicktime and Microsoft’s Silverlight plugins, but support for other plugins can be added via the about:config menu.

The multi-process plugin feature is only available for Windows and Linux users, with support for Mac OS X coming in the near future.

A download is available from the Firefox Lorentz website.