Mozilla reveals Firefox 3.6 (Namoroka) details

Sit up and pay attention, Firefox fans. Mozilla has just released details on what they plan to include for version 3.6 of their popular browser, and so far it's looking delicious. The code name for the version is Namoroka, a national park in Madagascar, which keeps to Mozilla's naming conventions.

Mozilla has split development of this build off from the development of the upcoming version 3.5, and it has also been expected that 3.6 will not even be the final version number, according to Mozilla Links. So what kind of changes are looking at? Well, according to the official Wiki for the version, this is the focus:

Performance:
Observable improvements in user-perceptible performance metrics such as startup, time to open a new tab, and responsiveness when interacting with the user interface. Common user tasks should feel faster and more responsive.

Personalization & Customization:
Simplify the development, discovery, installation and management of browser customization and functional extension. Where possible, provide a custom fit user experience based on a user's interaction history. Act in the user's interests, leveraging existing knowledge about their identity and browsing habits.

Task Based Navigation:
Allow users to organize their tabs, history, downloaded files, and other resources according to the task they were attempting to accomplish. Provide support for executing common web-based tasks, mash-up style, without having to visit a website.

Web Application Support:
Blur the distinction between web and desktop applications, providing web developers with the tools required to create rich application experiences for a user who is connected or disconnected from the Internet. Act as the intermediary between web applications and the user's OS desktop.

System Integration:
Integrate with the look and feel of the host operating system, including data-level interactions with existing system services such as dictionaries.

It's interesting to see Web Applications support in there; currently this is only available by downloading Mozilla Prism, or even more alternatively, Google Chrome. Some other changes include a new theme for Windows, which will be Aero Glass based, a better method for file uploading, and the ability to install themes and extensions without having to restart the application. This is going to be a big one for fans of theming for Firefox, as having to restart the software each time is a pretty significant time waster, especially to those who try a lot of themes before they settle on one.

It's expected for this version to be publicly available in May 2010, so there's still a bit of a wait to go yet.

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I tried Chrome and it went to 50% CPU on a lot of sites and stayed there after leaving, wasn't impressed. Sticking with Firefox for now.

Integrate with the look and feel of the host operating system

Exactly my feedback to the program. Although faster than IE, it still looks like Netscape. It's like a BMW 200-series. Nice for the oldtimer lover, but outdated compared to current designs.

You guys are crazy if you think chrome will take Firefox's spot in one year. It took firefox years for it to become as recongized as it is now. Chrome can't do that over night.

Not really. Firefox had to tread a lot of uncharted territory (I mean let's face it IE was nothing to go back back in the day and Chrome didn't exist). Chrome is entering a market where a lot of the homework is already done and they have the luxury to experiment a little more without fear of losing market share. As of date their JS engine is already best of breed and no one even dared to touch Chrome with a "10-foot pole" at Pwn2own. Now that's saying something for a browser that's barely entered the market and isn't even out of beta yet.

Not really. Firefox had to tread a lot of uncharted territory (I mean let's face it IE was nothing to go back back in the day and Chrome didn't exist). Chrome is entering a market where a lot of the homework is already done and they have the luxury to experiment a little more without fear of losing market share. As of date their JS engine is already best of breed and no one even dared to touch Chrome with a "10-foot pole" at Pwn2own. Now that's saying something for a browser that's barely entered the market and isn't even out of beta yet.

They need to optimize raw initial startuptimes without memory preloaders and also remove the lag and shuttering on javascript heavy sites... especially if you do a rightclick... the menu is painting like you had a ooold machine...

I'm not impressed. I was hoping "fixed bugs" would be among their list of achievements but unfortunately they don't seem interested in that.

When has this ever been among their list of achievements? They have any number of bugs open from the early 2000s that nobody has gotten around to fixing because they're too busy adding the next flashy bloat to the browser instead. Media headlines seem to win out against baseline functionality every time with them.

They are making this announcement almost a year in advance. Yep, we have these nice ides, now we will release this announcement to the public to get some chatter going, and then have our hundreds if not thousands of programmers see if they can implement them. I hope everyone realizes how far ALL browsers will evolve in a year's time. The problem is; Firefox is in the catch-up phase. IE8 and Chrome are both faster than Firefox, and neither one of these are letting moss grow under their programmers. I think in a year's time we will see a LOT good things come from the BIG three. Right now I see as far as speed:

#1 IE8
#2 Chrome
#3 Firefox

Firefox and Chrome are really battling for the #2 spot as far as usage.

Windows 7 is really going to give IE8 another boost...

"Integrate with the look and feel of the host operating system" ... oh no. The Windows default theme is already ugly as hell ... (so I presume I'm gonna stick with several themes for another year.)

By the time this one is out in 2010, Chrome should have extension support since it's currently being implemented. Chrome already have rudimentary Greasemonkey support, and Google has announced their plans for extension support already.

Jugalator said,
By the time this one is out in 2010, Chrome should have extension support since it's currently being implemented. Chrome already have rudimentary Greasemonkey support, and Google has announced their plans for extension support already.

If I could use NoScript and AdBlock on Chrome I'd be using it right now. Separated processes per tab and sandboxing are both extremely awesome but its seriously impossible for me to work without NS and ADB.

Huh? The soon to be released Firefox 3.5 is sporting the new Javascript engine that is much more competitive with Chrome, Safari 4, and so on, although it's still not quite there.

And the 3.6 discussed here will likely become the very 4.0 release.

Just to elaborate on the add-on/theme without restoring feature, I believe that some add-ons/themes which change certain areas of the browser will still need to be restarted.

I switched to Seamonkey a few months ago; it's so much faster and more stable. I might try 3.6 when it comes out someday but I don't really care much about it anymore.

"3.6" in this article is just a placeholder name, like "3.1" was for what will become Firefox 3.5.

Confusing, yes, but their marketing team hasn't decided for a version number yet, and this version is picked because it's 0.1 higher than the currently branched Firefox 3.5 builds. Yes, it's really as simple as that.

So this will likely become Firefox 4. And then the 2010 date doesn't sound very odd anymore. So one can pretty much start using Firefox 4 pre-alpha builds today, just start using the trunk builds... I personally prefer the 3.5 branch builds though for stability; they've been stable for months for me by now.

oh really? wiki says that 3.6 is ad interim which means is temporary (should be a smooth swith between 3.0 and 4.0 imo) and 4.0 afair, have areally own branch

there is no branch for 4.0, there is a branch for the upcoming release of 3.5, and the trunk which is versioned as 3.6a1pre. It's going to be months before the next branch is cut for the next release.

Luis Mazza said,
Oh boy... Now Firefox will get EVEN BETTER???? :)

But one year is too much :(


There'll be some nice versions released between now and then 3.5, I believe, has some good stuff in it.