Firefox 3.7 Pre Alpha: Looks vs. Speed

Another Firefox 3.7 Pre Alpha has released and it has a new set of nifty features which are intriguing but some missing improvements which were expected to be there by now.

The two issues I am discussing here are looks and speed.

firefox-minefield

Regarding looks, the latest pre-alpha developers preview has improved in terms of looks and features a new Aero support for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Moreover, it is not just the title bar which has the Aero look. The navigation and the bookmarks bar also have the glass look. Lee Mathews from DownloadSquad has written on this but has not found a about:config key to disable this yet. The glass effect works best with the default installation without any theme or persona. Read more at DOWNLOADSQUAD.

In matters of speed, OMG!Ubuntu has done a simple JavaScript benchmark. The results show that Firefox is still significantly slower than Google Chrome and Opera 10.5. Chrome still stands as the fastest browser with respect to JavaScript rendering beating Opera 10.5 closely.

It is time Firefox focuses on the important aspect, which is faster rendering of webpages. Eyecandy on Firefox has come a long way already and any further progress in this matter can wait.

The latest test build is available for download.

Firefox 3.7: Mozilla Developer Preview 1.9.3 Alpha

The Mozilla Firefox Alpha 3 developer preview was released on the 17th of March. The developer preview 1.9.3 Alpha which is available for testing has the latest Gecko layout engine. It is an early release in the development cycle. The changes seen in the developer preview are:

  • A Direct2D rendering on Windows is available and turned off by default.
  • Significant API improvements have been made.
  • Stability has been improved by using a mechanism to abort memory allocation if it does not get fulfilled in time.

To turn on Direct2D rendering, got to type in about:config in the address bar. Now, look for the key gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled and set it’s value to true. Next, set the value of the mozilla.widget.render-mode key to 6.

See The thoughts and ideas of Bas for more help.

Additionally crashes and bugs have been fixed and improved upon.

A complete list of changes and information related to download on different platforms is available at the Release notes.

Firefox 3.7 will boast significant improvements in terms of an overall browsing experience and these developer previews are there to prove just that.

Download Firefox 3.7 Pre-Alpha 2

Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 will be officially released in the next few days, however, the release schedule does not have the actual date of the release, but you can download Firefox 3.7 Pre Alpha 2 "Minefield" right now from their FTP Repository.

Firefox 3.7 Minefield Pre-Alpha 2

Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 will come with the 1.9.3 Gecko engine, and also includes new icons and other features which makes Firefox a bit faster than the earlier versions. The Pre-Alpha does have a stable version of separate processes for Plugins which works better than my earlier tests.

Firefox 3.7 Acid3 Test Rating

However, Firefox 3.7 did fail the Acid3 test and was given a rating of 96/100 as compared to current version of and , which both received 100/100 in the Acid3 tests. Even Firefox 3.6 had a Acid3 rating of 96/100.

If you are a brave-heart and want to test the Pre-Alpha2 of Firefox 3.7, head over to the nightly build repository and download the appropriate version. FF 3.7 Pre-Alpha2 is available for downloads for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Download Firefox 3.7 "Minefield" Pre-Aplha2