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Mozilla: Firefox 3.0 opens door to Web apps

Firefox 3.0, the open-source browser which is slated for release in the second half of 2007, will include many new features, including offline support for Web applications and new bookmark and search features. While the final feature set hasn't been determined, Firefox 3.0 will also contain elements for its 4.0 release and beyond: "What we're trying to do with all of these things is lay the foundation," said Mike Schroepfer, vice president for engineering for Mozilla, during a stop in London on Tuesday. Ultimately, Mozilla engineers are aiming for an integration between the browser and Web-based services that is as smooth-running as a desktop application. To do offline support, engineers have overcome the hurdle of how to store data locally on the computer – the feature will make it into Firefox 3.0, although the user interface is still under development. Mozilla would also like to create a function where bookmarks could be automatically sorted based on popularity and frequency rather than the static presentation now.

Most importantly, Firefox has to be fast and standards-compliant, Schroepfer said. He also noted that extensions are sometimes to blame for abnormal use of system resources, and therefore Mozilla will soon set up a shared library of tested code that extension writers can download and use. Mozilla also relaunched its extension site, cutting back on the number of extensions listed so first-time users don't overload their browsers and dampen their experience. In a few weeks, discussion forums will also be set up for developers to exchange feedback as code writers sometimes don't know of the problems, he said. Schroepfer also emphasized that Firefox 4.0 will support the JavaScript 2 language, now under development in part by Mozilla's CTO Brendan Eich and the ECMA International standards body. The idea behind the JavaScript revamp is to make high-performance Web applications easier to write and assemble for people with less coding expertise, he said: "It's less about making it possible and more about making it easy."

News source: InfoWorld

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