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Mozilla Gets Lite with Phoenix

The Mozilla open-source project Tuesday released a new lightweight browser that promises to strip away the bloat and double the speed in which Web pages are displayed.

The AOL-backed Mozilla project, created to prod developer interest in browser technology, described the new Phoenix browser was a redesign the Mozilla browser component, similar to Galeon, K-Meleon and Chimera.

"Phoenix is not your father's Mozilla browser. It's a lean and fast browser that doesn't skimp on features," Mozilla said of the new browser, which was built using the XUL user interface language and designed to be cross-platform.

XUL is an XML-based UI definition language/schema used to describe the layout/composition of the browser window.

New features in the Phoenix release include a customizable toolbar where users can re-order the buttons and address bar. Phoenix users can also choose to show large or small icons or to display buttons and text, instead of having the application make those choices.

The browser's bookmarks and history managers also contain a quick search bar for filtering the list of bookmarks or history items. "Quick search makes managing these lists faster and much more convenient," Mozilla said.

"Phoenix was designed with performance as a primary goal. The XUL experts built a browser that starts in nearly half the time of Mozilla and its commercial derivatives. New windows also snap into existence almost twice as fast as Mozilla and commercial derivatives," the group said.

Phoenix developers have also configured behaviors for pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, and other features to allow users to manipulate the way content is displayed in the browser.

Developers promise Phoenix add-ons in coming months that include 'Satchel,' a replacement for Mozilla's Wallet functionality and plug-in extensions.