Firefox 3.7/4.0 Alpha available

Mozilla has released a "Developer Preview" of the rendering engine that will end up being used for Firefox 4.0. The alpha release is dubbed 3.7a1 (not sure why, since 3.7 was dropped from Mozilla's roadmap) and runs the Gecko 1.9.3 rendering engine. The release notes can be found on Mozilla's site. As always with alpha releases, Mozilla cautions against using it as your day-to-day browser.

It doesn't seem like any in UI changes are present in this release. Here are some of the new things that were baked in (most are still works in progress):

  • CSS transitions
  • SMIL Animation in SVG
  • WebGL 3D graphics (disabled by default)
  • For OS X, text rendering is done using Core Text instead of ATSUI
  • Code for scrolling re-written
  • Codes for taking document snapshots re-written
  • Significant changes to how table borders are handled
  • Architectural changes that improve web page performance

Firefox 3.7a1

Photo courtesy of Lifehacker.

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51 Comments

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RenegadeJr said,
This will only hold us over till IE9 with hardware accelerated graphics ;-)
Firefox is also getting Direct2D acceleration - they've been working on it for several months. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=527707

WebGL makes youtube vidoes load faster and out of process plugins make the browser stabler!
And its already noticeably faster (i can see that!). What else we want from a Pre Alpha, oh yes , addons... Im happy that firefox is now in right track , in future releases it will have the new theme , and also i remember it was said that Firefox 4 will be 2 times faster than 3.5 , which make it more promising.
Opera is gr8 , but its still not as stable as this pre alpha too! Also , it takes huge amount of memory , and yeah process separation for opera 10.5 is also not decided. It seems , firefox will bloom !

I will edit the start **** ** that was quick. and Symantec haven't even patched 3.6 yet and now we have another one on the horizon, well at least late Q2 or possible Q3 2010.

veegun said,
yay! opera 10.5 beta is out! i don't use firefox anymore. it's opera, iron, and tiny bit of ie8 for me. :D
Yay! Wrong thread.

i still cant understand why its the WHOLE fetish for a new UI, if i want something so restricted and ugly i would use chrome (i do really like of how fast is it) ... i really hope that Firefox dont change into that thing. some annoyance like TABS above address bar, reload button on the right among other things i cant find it useful, people complaining about "screen space" should get a new monitor or something.. because in the end the space it save do not bring a time in which i waste finding options and accessing a menu inside a two button config because of the over simple and not customizable interface.

eilegz said,
i still cant understand why its the WHOLE fetish for a new UI, if i want something so restricted and ugly i would use chrome (i do really like of how fast is it) ... i really hope that Firefox dont change into that thing. some annoyance like TABS above address bar, reload button on the right among other things i cant find it useful, people complaining about "screen space" should get a new monitor or something.. because in the end the space it save do not bring a time in which i waste finding options and accessing a menu inside a two button config because of the over simple and not customizable interface.

There's always someone who complains. You do know that UI in Firefox is customizable.

Lamp0 said,

There's always someone who complains. You do know that UI in Firefox is customizable.

yeah i know, but you dont know what will happen in the new version... ie6 was a very customizable browser until version 7...

eilegz said,
yeah i know, but you dont know what will happen in the new version... ie6 was a very customizable browser until version 7...
Extensions will still be able to do what they've always done. And you can be *sure* an extension will exist to turn it back into 3.6.

Kirkburn said,
Extensions will still be able to do what they've always done. And you can be *sure* an extension will exist to turn it back into 3.6.

Actually, Mozilla HAS mentioned more than once that the new Add Ons framework they are working on (Though it has many benefits) does limit some of the things that Add On developers can do now... So there's no telling right now what those limitations will be.

With that said, I'm sure Themeing will still be supported, so the UI will have to be fairly customizeable... And as for tab location, I would be shocked if Mozilla didn't have that as a standard setting "Tabs on top or bottom"...

I'm really looking forward to the UI Refresh personally. Some of the mockups looked really good.

supernova_00 said,
Out of process plugins is in that build, you just have to enabled it filter for ipc in about:config and enabled that.

Ever since they turned it on in the nighties, I trouble with Flash and Acrobat Reader. I turned it off for now.

Lewism said,

Ever since they turned it on in the nighties, I trouble with Flash and Acrobat Reader. I turned it off for now.
Once they get it stable though it will mean we can have 64bit Firefox with crappy 32bit flash :)

Lewism said,

Ever since they turned it on in the nighties, I trouble with Flash and Acrobat Reader. I turned it off for now.

i'm finding it pretty stable atm i had a few crashes here and there but nothing that crashed out the whole browser

Rudy said,
Once they get it stable though it will mean we can have 64bit Firefox with crappy 32bit flash :)

Has that been confirmed? I saw that rumor previously, but hadn't seen anywhere where this was actually confirmed...

thealexweb said,
How does it do on the Acid3?
Afaik, it does 96. (Since 100% on Acid3 doesn't mean a huge amount, it's not the top priority target)

Edited by Kirkburn, Feb 11 2010, 11:05pm :

Kirkburn said,
[Since 100% on Acid3 doesn't mean a huge amount, it's not the top priority target]

Yeah they're going all "Internet Explorer" on our asses!

The only thing it's missing is SVG Fonts, which isn't really that big a loss.

WebKit supports SVG fonts just well enough to pass Acid3, trying to use them in practise is really very buggy.

Regarding the versioning system: I believe Mozilla are intentionally staying somewhat agile on what the next version number will be. It depends on what work gets done.

Kirkburn said,
Regarding the versioning system: I believe Mozilla are intentionally staying somewhat agile on what the next version number will be. It depends on what work gets done.

I feel that's the case as well. Makes sense.

Nick Brunt said,
They really need to ship it with a better UI... It uses up a lot of screen space with that huge top bar...
Your wish is their command: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/4.0_Windows_Theme_Mockups

Nick Brunt said,
They really need to ship it with a better UI... It uses up a lot of screen space with that huge top bar...

How about reading the damn comments - it is pretty clear that a UI change is coming and this is a very early alpha build. damn, don't you read any of the bloody posts or do you just repeat the same comment as others so you feel like you're part of the conversation? like the guy who goes "yeah, you tell em" at random points in the conversation to feel as though they're involved.

rawr_boy81 said,

How about reading the damn comments - it is pretty clear that a UI change is coming and this is a very early alpha build. damn, don't you read any of the bloody posts or do you just repeat the same comment as others so you feel like you're part of the conversation? like the guy who goes "yeah, you tell em" at random points in the conversation to feel as though they're involved.

Yeah! You tell him! ;-)

rawr_boy81 said,

How about reading the damn comments - it is pretty clear that a UI change is coming and this is a very early alpha build. damn, don't you read any of the bloody posts or do you just repeat the same comment as others so you feel like you're part of the conversation? like the guy who goes "yeah, you tell em" at random points in the conversation to feel as though they're involved.

Nick Brunt said,
They really need to ship it with a better UI... It uses up a lot of screen space with that huge top bar...

no, hell no, go and get chrome if you want the restricted and not intuitive UI

Kirkburn said,
Your wish is their command: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/4.0_Windows_Theme_Mockups

thçis mock up still wastes some space, why don't they put the "firefox" menu where the "home" tab is and get rid of the top bar altogether ? I think it was this way on some earlier mockups...

BlueScreenJunky said,
thçis mock up still wastes some space, why don't they put the "firefox" menu where the "home" tab is and get rid of the top bar altogether ? I think it was this way on some earlier mockups...
Because it's not a "home" tab. Or a "tab", for that matter.

BlueScreenJunky said,

thçis mock up still wastes some space, why don't they put the "firefox" menu where the "home" tab is and get rid of the top bar altogether ? I think it was this way on some earlier mockups...

Except this isn't a UI mockup in ANY way... This is a Dev Build that updates the code behind ONLY... The UI hasn't even been worked on yet (Aside from sketches and such that they've shown)... You're not supposed to see anything new UI wise in this release...

FlintyV said,
I think Firefox 4 is the next big UI change.

It will be.

There is even a KDE4 look for KDE4 users which is what I'm happy about. No more crappy GTK+ theme look. Though it's still uses the pos GTK+

Jose_49 said,
I thought there was going to be the new mockup.. Rather dissapointed
They were working on finalizing the details - the tickets are now in the system, and are being worked on. So yeah ... wait a little while first :)

Jose_49 said,
I thought there was going to be the new mockup.. Rather dissapointed

The new UI for a Firefox release sometimes isn't even in place yet when they get to the first "beta" release. Patience...

Jose_49 said,
I thought there was going to be the new mockup.. Rather dissapointed

This is still just a developer preview release, i.e. a release intended for developers and webmasters. Mostly just browser backend changes, so one could say this release is more about Gecko 1.9.3 than "Firefox 4.0 The Product". :p