Firefox 3.0 Development Continues in ‘Gran’ Style


Mozilla developers are keeping up the pace on the development of their next-generation Firefox 3.0 browser with the Alpha 3 release, adding more under-the-hood improvements to security and its offline capabilities.


Development began on Firefox 3.0, code-named Gran Paradiso, around October when Firefox 2.0 was released. Gran Paradiso hit its Alpha 2 release in early February.


The Alpha 3 release includes support for animated PNG graphics,
which would mark the first new browser to include a default animated file format in more than a decade. Animated GIFs and JPEGs were a common development in the
early days of the Web. The PNG format is considered to be more scalable than
either GIF or JPEG and does not have the same patent issues that surround the use of GIF.


Firefox 3 Alpha 3 also adds a number of new security-related enhancements
to the browser. Support for a cookie attribute called “HttpOnly” will make
a cookie only readable as a server and not client-side scripts. The attribute
could well serve to limit the potential exposure of personally identifiable
information to unauthorized scripts that are running on a user’s PC.


Additionally Mozilla developers have added a new preference for the “HTTP-EQUIV=refresh” attribute, which is commonly used to reload and, in some
cases, redirect users to another page. The new preference will warn the user
when a site is attempting to either reload or redirect.


Since the days of Marc Andreessen’s first Netscape release, browsers have
included a history cache, which enables users to go back to recently viewed
content. In the modern world of AJAX-infused Web sites, that caching feature
has fallen somewhat short.

Firefox 3.0 Alpha 3 is taking steps to help fix the
off-line problem with support for the new off-line resource tag, which will ensure browser resources are available for cached content even when the browser is not connected to the live online resource.


Previous Alpha releases of Firefox 3.0 have focused on the new Cairo graphics
library, as well as greater compliance with the ACID2 test, which measures compliance against existing W3C standards.


Firefox 3.0 is expected to be generally available as a final release in
November.

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