Firefox 3.7 dropped from Schedule, next release is Firefox 4.0

Firefox has made changes to the way it develops the world’s most popular browser. Instead of providing incremental updates after every few days, for a change the guys at Firefox have decided to release the next stable release of Firefox as a major release, not a minor one.

The Director of Firefox Mike Beltzner said on Thursday,

Rather than add features to Firefox only in once- or twice-a-year upgrades, Mozilla will quietly insert some functionality via its regular security updates, which seem every four to six weeks.

The browser manufacturer also said, the next stable release should be expected sometime next year. As of now, all the fixes which were provided as new versions will now be given as regular security upgrades. The minor update 3.6 is still running but the next minor update has been dropped, which means the browser will simply jump to a release of Firefox 4.0 later this year.

The primary reason for this change of a decided release is seen as an attempt to bring back the development and release cycle back to it’s routine. The release of Firefox 3.6 has already been delayed by a long time. It was supped to come out in November 2009. It is time, the focus is given more on major releases and much time is not wasted on the minor ones.

As for myself, I cant wait to try Firefox 4.0.

AutoPager Automatically Loads The Next Webpage Inline

One thing I don’t like while googling is loading page after page to get next results. Even though there is an option to extend the search results up to 100, sometimes we would like to go further down while making a deep search.

Recently, when I was browsing, I found an amazing addon for Firefox that can help you to load the next pages of search automatically within the window. The addon is called Autopager.

Auto Pager is darn useful when you do searches online. As you reach the end of the page you will be loading the next results in the same page. So, you just need to scroll down through the search results.

How To Use This?

This is just like Greasemonkey or TwitterFox addon. It sits in the status bar. You can enable or disable by clicking on it (the same way you do in Greasemonkey). When you visit a search engine for the first time, it will ask with a pop-up, whether to enable or disable this site from auto paging. For example, check this picture (click to enlarge).

auto_pager

Note: The auto paging will work only if someone has created a auto paging setting for a webpage. I tried for the three popular search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Bing and all of them have the auto paging feature.

If you want to create auto pager for your own webpages, then go through this tutorial on their home site.

This is how it loads new pages. It works for normal Google search and also Google Image Search.

auto_pager_google_search

Techie-Buzz Verdict

This is a highly recommended one. I know, even if I don’t tell you to, you will use it. It’s a great help while searching online.

Good News: Google Chrome users, don’t get dejected! This addon is even available for Google Chrome. Go ahead and download it here.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 5/5 (Excellent and must-use)

Is Firefox Planning To Drop Extensions in Favor of JetPacks?

Mozilla-Jetpack-ExtensionIn many ways extensions are what defined Firefox and helped it carve out an identity for itself. Extensions are the reason why many early adopters and opinion makers switched to Firefox in the first place. And extensions continue to remain the reason why so many opinion makers and tech enthusiasts continue to swear by Firefox.

Firefox’s extensions are almost infinitely powerful and allow users to truly make the browser their own. However, extensions have their own disadvantages. First of all, developing and maintaining extensions for Firefox isn’t easy. Maintaining a popular extension requires significant amount of time and energy. The other problem is that, extensions have a considerable overhead and can be responsible for major issues including instability, UI quirks and memory leaks.

Google Chrome recently introduced their own extensions gallery, which was generally well received by both developers and users. Chrome’s extension architecture is a lot more restrictive than Firefox’s. While this potentially limits what you can achieve through extensions, there are several advantages. To begin with, Chrome’s extensions have little or no impact on browser performance. They are also significantly easier to develop and maintain.

Mozilla has been experimenting on similar lines with Personas and Jetpacks. Jetpack is basically an API which permits development of Firefox extensions using existing web technologies, while Personas are light-weight skins for Firefox. Mozilla hopes to significantly boost Firefox’s developer ecosystem by simplifying the development process.

Firefox Architect Mike Connor discussed the benefits of Personas and Jetpacks at length in a recent blog post. He also revealed that Firefox wishes to move away from extensions and emphasize more on Jetpacks in the future. However, don’t get worried. Your favorite extensions aren’t going to vanish all of a sudden. This is only a general direction Firefox wishes to take in the future. If and when, this change happens, most of your favorite add-ons should be already available on the new API.

It is likely that Mozilla has been contemplating on this switch for a long time. There are tradeoffs to be made. XUL overlays will have to go. Although Jetpack add-ons are faster and lighter they lack tight and polished integration with the UI. It’s not surprising that many Firefox fans resent even the suggestion of ditching the current extension architecture. However, the success of Google Chrome extensions has undoubtedly emboldened Firefox.

Firefox 3.6 RC1 Officially Released

The new Release Candidate build of Firefox 3.6, codenamed “Namoroka”, is now available for download from the official FirefoxMozilla website.

Softpedia was already providing a preview version of Firefox 3.6 RC1, since January 6th 2010. After that, it also offered nightly testing version of Firefox RC1. Mozilla had earlier stated that, it was hoping to release the post-Beta variant of Firefox 3.6 on 8th January, 2010. And indeed, the developers have been able to release it on schedule.

You can go ahead and download Firefox 3.6 RC1 now.

According to our sources, Firefox 3.6 web milestone is nearing completion and is expected to be launched later this month, by the end of January 2010. Current users of Firefox 3.6 Beta will receive notices of the automatic upgrades to the Release Candidate stage over the coming few days.

Mozilla had delivered five Beta builds of Firefox 3.6 and the developers were trying their best to roll out the final release of Firefox 3.6 in November 2009, a month after the launch of Windows 7. But it was postponed due to various severe bugs that needed to be resolved.

Firefox Grew 40% in 2009

Mozilla Firefox, has moved up the browser market and has set up many new records. It has taken huge market shares from Internet Explorer and the ending of 2009 has been breathtakingly profitable for the browser. The browser of choice for billions across the web has seen a growth of 40% around the last quarter 2009. All over the world, we can see varied levels of rise with Asia recording a 73% rise in Firefox users. The growth in Africa was above 80% and it is reported that most of this growth occurred recently, at the latter half of the year.

Reportedly, Firefox added 22.5 million users daily in the last four months to the browser’s user base, as against  16.4 million of the previous year. This is a marvelous growth and has proved to be beneficial for the beta release as well, which provides the developer community with more people who are ready to test the beta releases and provide feedback of their experience.

Not only this, the browser also expects a big rise in the next year as well. Firefox is a really good browser and has kept attracting more and more users from five years now, but the development over the last few days has paced up. Going by those statistics, we can expect a bright year ahead for Firefox.

Firefox Home Tab Design challenge

Mozilla Firefox has organized a Firefox Home Tab design Challenge under the Mozilla Labs Design Challenge series. The contest is an attempt to design a Home Tab for Firefox with maximum usability.
firefox-homepage
The contest page describes this with a question:

The Home Tab — What are some interesting uses of a Firefox-hosted start page?

We all are familiar with the Firefox Home Button. It takes to a page which can be set by the user as the homepage.

Plans are to shift the Home button to a Home Tab, which will feature some awesome designs and usable functions. The winning entry will be selected as the Home Tab. This tab will add to the existing dull homepage and give users a choice to use the web in a better way. The homepage can also use user data to display surfing trends or to display a gadget based page like iGoogle or MyYahoo!.

The contest is online from December 2009 and has a roadmap as:

  • December 2009            : Design of Home Tab Contest online
  • February 14th, 2010   : Submission deadline
  • February 15th, 2010   : Public voting starts
  • March 1st                          : Public voting ends
  • March 15th                       : Results declared

You can see the existing entries to have a brief idea of the contest.

Visit the contest homepage and submit your ideas today.

Firefox 3.7 Will Be Up To 3 Times Faster

The browser war is getting really interesting. Speed and usability have assumed center stage. Firefox – the once darling of the alternate browser movement, has been finding it tough to keep up the pace. In our recent JavaScript rendering benchmarks, Firefox was blown away by Opera, Chrome and Safari, and the next major version of Firefox (Firefox 4.0) won’t be ready until next year. However, that doesn’t mean that 2010 is going to be a dull year for Firefox.

Mozilla has been busy working on Electrolysis – a project which aims to introduce multi-core optimizations in Firefox. Firefox 3.7 will include the first stages of Electrolysis. However, it won’t get full-fledged multi-process support until v4.0.

My Outsourced Brain put a pre-release build of Firefox 3.7 through the paces. The results were quite impressive. The pre-release build was about 3 times faster than 3.5.6pre and only 50% slower than Chrome. Opera 10.5 pre-alpha wasn’t included in the tests. However, in all likelihood Opera too would have trumped Firefox, as Opera 10.5 is as fast as Chrome (if not faster).

Firefox-3.7-Speed-Benchmark
(lower is better)

Firefox still has some way to go, if it wants to gain the crown of the fastest browser (at least as far as synthetic JavaScript rendering benchmarks are concerned). However, 3.7 is definitely looking promising.

Mozilla Firefox Releases: 3.5.7, 3.0.17 and 3.6 RC1 Out

Last year was not Mozilla’s year, however, they will definitely look to make a comeback this year with a bang. Several noteworthy Firefox releases made its way to general public in the last couple of days. These include Firefox 3.5.7, Firefox 3.0.17 and the Release candidate 1 for Firefox 3.6.

firefox_logo

A few days back, Mozilla had also released the Release Candidate 1 of Firefox Mobile for Maemo based devices.

Firefox 3.5.7

Firefox 3.5.7 is more of a stability fix release, and includes fixes for a common stability issue and a problem on how updates were being presented to users.

You can find a list of fixed bugs in this release on this page. Download Firefox 3.5.7.

Firefox 3.0.17

Firefox 3.0 is the older version of Firefox which got an update too, it also fixes an issue with how updates are provided to users. Firefox 3.0 is on the deathbed though. Mozilla will stop supporting Firefox 3.0 after January 2010.

Users who are using Firefox 3.0 are urged to upgrade to the more secure and faster Firefox 3.5. Download Firefox 3.0.17.

Firefox 3.6 Release Candidate 1 (RC1)

Firefox 3.6 RC1 is now available for downloads. Lee Matthews spotted the new build of Firefox 3.6 RC1 on the Mozilla FTP servers. The release is not available directly for HTTP downloads yet. We had done a review of Firefox 3.6 Beta 1, however, lots has changed since then. We will keep you updated about the new features included in the RC1.

Download Firefox 3.6 RC1 for Windows, Linux and Mac.

Chrome, Safari and Opera Gain Market Share at the Expense of Internet Explorer and Firefox

Earlier today, Net Applications published the monthly summary of browser and operating system market share reports. The biggest news is that Chrome has managed to overtake Safari. Chrome jumped from 3.93% to 4.63%. Opera and Safari also managed minor gains in market share. On the other hand, Microsoft Internet Explorer continued to bleed. Even Firefox saw its percentage drop by 0.11 points.

Browser-Market-Share-November
Browser Market Share in November
Browser-Market-Share-December
Browser Market Share in December

Mobile browsing continued to display strong growth and now accounts for 1.3% of all browsing. Both Windows and Mac devices lost market share, while all major mobile operating systems gained. This indicates a general tendency to browser more from mobile devices, irrespective of the platform. Android was the biggest gainer in December with 54.8% growth. Blackberry and iPhone managed to grow by 22.2% and 20.1% respectively.

Mobile-OS-Market-Share
Mobile OS Market Share in December (source)

TwentyTen for Firefox – Stunning Office 2010 Inspired Firefox Theme

Microsoft Office 2010 looks quite cool and thanks to a new extension you can easily get the same look in Firefox. TwentyTen is a new theme for Firefox which includes Office 2010 inspired graphics and color styles.

TwentyTen-Office-Inspired-Theme-For-Firefox
TwentyTen for Firefox with Microsoft Word Color Style

The theme also features a companion extension called TwentyTenBuddy which allows you to tweak various aspects of the theme and change color styles. The best thing is that, any changes you make are applied instantaneously.

TwentyTen-Office-Inspired-Theme-For-Firefox
TwentyTen for Firefox – Theme Options

Although the theme supports Aero Glass effects, it is completely optional. The theme looks good even on systems without Aero. I personally prefer to use the theme with the menu bar hidden. If you feel that you can’t do without the menu bar, you can use the Hide Menubar extension for Firefox to temporarily hide the menu bar.

TwentyTen-Office-Inspired-Theme-For-Firefox
TwentyTen for Firefox – File Menu

TwentyTen is one of the best Firefox themes we have come across. Its biggest strength is its minimalism. Give it a try and let us know if you loved it as much as we did.

[ Download TwentyTen for Firefox ]