Download Firefox 4 Beta to enjoy HTML5 support

Posted by on Jul 09, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Firefox 4 Beta 1 is made available by Mozilla on Tuesday for download and testing. For the first time, a testing feedback app has been integrated by Mozilla into its Beta to make it easier for people to offer their suggestions and report problems. New beta versions will be released each two or three weeks until the official Firefox 4 launch, which is uncertainly listed for November 2010. Dozens of major features and improvements are included in Firefox 4 Beta 1 to feedback for future versions of Firefox.

Firefox 4 Beta, download Firefox 4 Beta

Screenshot of Firefox 4 Beta

Principal designer at Mozilla Firefox, Alex Faaborg said in a blog post, “This is a very early Beta, so a lot of features are not complete yet, and the interface is still rather unpolished.” Mozilla’s Faaborg said, “Recently modern browsers have been transitioning to placing tops on top, and that decision isn’t arbitrary, it isn’t about fashion,” and “The change to placing tabs on top isn’t about one browser versus another browser, it’s about the evolution of the Web as a platform.”

Probably the most exciting feature of the new Firefox is better HTML5 parsing and support for more HTML5 form controls. The new browser is relatively slow compared to the competition that is indicated by early speed tests but in early stages of development, this is typical for browsers. Firefox 4 Beta was slightly quicker than the present Firefox 3.6.4 version, six times quicker than Internet Explorer 8 in a SunSpider JavaScript benchmark test, but at rendering Web pages as Google Chrome 5 and 6, it only about half as fast. Since launch of Chrome in 2008, it has held the rank of speediest browser.

The Firefox 4 user interface has most visible change, that is similar to Chrome’s tab placement, the location of the tabs at the top. Web address and search bar that is called the “Omnibar,” are combined in Chrome. “Awesome Bar” of Firefox is similar, but to search across open tabs while retaining a separate search bar, it has added functionality such as a “Switch to Tabs” option.

The Firefox Command button is the only item above the tabs in which tasks like print the page, send a link and exit are included. The standard minimize, maximize and exit icons would be a useful addition in the upper right corner of the browser window. It is a Command button function at this time, but oversights like this one are typical of beta versions.

Features of Firefox 4 Beta 1:

  • Firefox Button replaces the Windows 7 menu bar
  • Top mounted tabs (for Windows)
  • Smart Location bar for easy tab switching
  • Stop and Reload are now 1 button
  • Crash Protection

There is a lot more to this beta than a facelift on Windows, including:

  • New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!
  • Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.
  • HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.
  • Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.
  • Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) – when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.

Web developers will be interested in some of the changes that made under the hood:

  • HTML5 Parser: Run the best Web apps of today and tomorrow – if a user’s browser doesn’t support HTML5, they still won’t miss out on your content.
  • Web Console: Peek into dynamic websites with this experimental “Heads Up Display” analysis tool.
  • Simpler Add-On Development: Authors can create Add-Ons that don’t require a restart to install, develop their Add-Ons more quickly using the new powerful Jetpack SDK, and safely connect to existing libraries using js-ctypes.
  • WebSockets: Build real-time, online interactions like gaming and chatting.
  • IndexedDB: Use structured storage in your Web applications to speed them up or provide offline support.
  • For a full list of Web technologies supported by Firefox check out our “big chart o’ features.”

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