Firefox 3 Gets some FUEL

Mozilla’s relentless march toward the release of Firefox 3 continues with the release of Gran Paradiso Alpha 4.

Gran Paradiso is Mozilla’s code name for the Firefox 3 development effort. For the fourth development milestone, Mozilla developers have included a few new features to improve the browsing experience for users and the development options for developers.

The biggest new addition is something called the FUEL (Firefox User Extension Library) JavaScript library . FUEL according to Mozilla’s description is a JavaScript Library designed to help developers build extensions using terminology and interfaces that are familiar to them.

JavaScript has become increasingly popular again with rise of AJAX. JavaScript as a language is also expected to get a boost in Firefox 3 with an update to an as yet unreleased future version of JavaScript, currently Firefox 2.0 includes JavaScript 1.7.

Alpha 4 also provides more offline application support than previous iterations of Firefox. As more and more applications move online, the need for offline support is becoming increasingly more important enabling users to view cached versions of pages.

Mozilla has been on an aggressive development path since October of 2006 when the first Firefox 3 alpha appeared. The second alpha appeared in early February and introduced improvements to the Cairo 2-D graphics library which is a departure from Firefox 2.0’s gfx graphics infrastructure.

Moving forward from the Alpha 4 release, Mozilla is planning on releasing milestone updates every month until July of this year. The Alpha 5 is set for a May 31 release and is expected to introduce a new password manager for Firefox. Mozilla’s Password manager was recently patched and at least one security researcher has alleged that the system is flawed .

The final Firefox 3 release is expected before the end of the year.

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