Firefox 3.1 beta 1 - is now available for download. With it, comes a whole new set of features designed with developers and designers in mind. The beta includes native support for the Geolocation API, CSS @font-face support, and audio and video tag support.The latest beta build of Firefox -
Mozilla details the new features in their post, but we'll hit the high points on what the new build includes.
Fresh on the heels of the Geode announcement, comes the news that Firefox 3.1 beta 1 has incorporated the Geolocation API into the browser. And that exposes some interesting functionality to developers.
With support for the W3C draft specification of the Geolocation API - an API that "provides scripted access to geographical location information associated with the hosting device" - baked into the browser, it now makes it feasible for developers to build applications that can access location-based information from other devices, like GPS.
How would that work? Mozilla provides an example:
"The Geolocation API in Firefox 3.1 exposes a single API to web developers, but can potentially be backed by a number of different location sources. Examples include the Skyhook service, which guesses your location based on nearby access points, a GPS device in your mobile computer or hand-setting a fixed location where your desktop lives."
Benefits? In today's mobile world, it's all about location, location, location.
Native @font-face support will enable greater typographic control by Web designers. With this feature, designers will be able to specify true-type fonts as part of their Web design - freeing them from the constraints of Arial, Times New Roman, and the like.
How will Web users benefit? Aesthetics, for one. For designers, this could mean a whole new crop of interesting and accessible Web design.
Support for <audio> and <video> elements, XHR, and More
According to the specifics from Mozilla, Firefox 3.1 beta 1 also incorporates support for <audio> and <video> elements, which promises to make embedding audio and video easier for end users.
In a day and age where video and audio are a much a part of the Web experience as text, this could streamline the ability to share this content, without having to wrestle the dreaded <object> code.
The build also features XHR Progress Notification - "a better way to get progress notifications for XML HTTP Requests" - and XHR Cross-site Access Control which "offers the ability for servers, content and web clients to cooperate to make a lot of new things possible on an opt-in basis."
Feature Rich for Richer Applications
All in all, the Firefox 3.1 beta 1 appears to incorporate a number of features for which developers and designers have been asking. Now that they have access to the features, we can only wait patiently to see what they're capable of making Firefox do.