Word hit the Web this week, via a Mozilla executive posting on a developer list, that Firefox 4 was finally on its way next month. The only thing standing in the way? About 160 "hard blockers", or significant bugs, that needed to be addressed.
A big part of fixing bugs is testing and today Mozilla announced the next major version of Firefox 4 Beta for users to help test. The latest version includes increased performance, start-up time, bookmarking and graphics capabilities. Read on for the details.
The next version of Firefox 4, said Mozilla senior director Damon Sicore, "is gonna kick ass" and here's why, from the Mozilla blog:
Firefox 4 Beta is built for the way people use the Web today, offering more control over the browsing experience. It introduces a fresh new look and features like App Tabs and Panorama to make it easier and more efficient to navigate the Web. Firefox 4 Beta also includes performance enhancements to make everything faster from start-up time to page-load speed and the performance of Web applications and games. Firefox Sync is integrated into the browser with Firefox 4 Beta, giving you access to your Awesome Bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across computers and smartphones.
Firefox 4 Beta also enables developers to create fun Web apps and websites. With full support for HTML5 features in Firefox 4 Beta, developers can create new ways for people to enjoy the Web. This includes WebM and HD video, 3D graphic rendering with WebGL, hardware acceleration and the Mozilla Audio API to help create visual experiences for sound. Director of Product Platform Management Chris Blizzard has a full overview of all developer tools in Firefox 4 Beta.
Now, if you're anything like many of us here at ReadWriteWeb, you forgot about Firefox a good six months to a year ago and have fully moved on to Google Chrome. (For me, it's something about the ultra-simple design - I just can't pull myself back to anything else.) But that isn't true for everyone.
When you look at the global browser usage stats, it looks like Firefox has remained essentially even-keeled over the past year, while the most movement has been in adoption of Chrome and abandoning of Internet Explorer. 2009 ended with Firefox at around 31% and a year later, Firefox was at 30%. Chrome, in the meantime, went from around 5% to 15% and Internet Explorer (all versions) dropped from around 56% to 47%. Will Firefox 4 change anything?