The Mozilla Foundation has announced the first beta version of Firefox 4, the next generation of its cross-platform web browser.
Although there is some time before the final release of Firefox 4, the beta product is considered to be stable and safe enough for daily use.
Mozilla is aiming to sign up to 4 million users in an interactive process to shape the final release. Feedback opportunities are prominent in the user interface, with users encouraged to submit their thoughts to the developers.
The popular browser is undergoing many changes, both visible and under the hood. The Windows release has seen the most apparent refinements, with tabs moved above the address bar as well as a single Firefox button to replace the menu bar.
Universal changes include a Smart Location bar, updated add-ons manager, replacement of the bookmarks bar with a bookmarks button, support for high definition WebM video, extra privacy protection and crash protection against media plug ins.
For web developers, the main feature to embrace is the new HTML5 parser – which has full support for drag and drop, audio, video, file handling, and in-line SVG and MathML support.
Taking a leaf from the book of Chrome, the rendering of web pages is instantaneous and video sites such as YouTube load up in record time.
Source: Guardian newspaper
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