adding some features in FF3.1 beta *2*

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Mike Shaver

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Sep 12, 2008, 3:40:27 PM9/12/08
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Hello, dev-planners!

There has obviously been a lot of discussion of browsers of late, around
Mozilla and around the industry. Probably the most energetic time we've
seen in a decade, if not ever, and it's a tremendous validation of all the
hard work that people have put into Mozilla, and making the browser market
more exciting than any monopoly could be.

One aspect of the discussion is obviously how Firefox fits into the mix, and
what we're seeing is that it fits very well. The improvements we made in
Firefox 3 around performance, security, web platform capabilities, OS
integration and even something as "simple" as navigation have resonated very
strongly with new and existing users, the press, and developers.

Firefox 3.1 is intended to continue with those themes, to pick up things we
had to leave out of FF3.0, and to react to things we've learned in bringing
those advances to a skyrocketing percentage of Firefox's coming-up-on-200M
users. And, of course, to continue to learn from what people are doing in
other browsers, add-ons, and web applications.

Along the way, we've been pleasantly surprised as a couple of "longer term"
projects have shown that they're likely to be ready sooner than we had
expected. TraceMonkey's early results have led us to some promising plans
for DOM and other optimizations in addition to lots of head room on pure JS,
and the pace of our private browsing implementation has given us new options
for our 3.1 work. We've also had some great feedback on user interface
elements in Firefox 3 that we want to incorporate quickly, and of course
we're always watching the competition.

Because of the strength of Firefox 3.0, we're not in a rush to get a product
to market, and so we've started to look at what we might be able to do with
one more "feature cycle". We're still hammering out the details, but we
know that there is a core list of features that we'll be looking to land
between beta 1 and beta 2, likely:

- extending TraceMonkey's capabilities into the DOM and other parts of our
system
- completing private browsing
- a bunch of UI cleanups and improvements building on FF3's success, and
incorporating things we've learned from other browsers and add-ons
- some core improvements to systems like PFS and our security UI

We'll have more detail in the coming week or two, but the list should --
must; will -- be small and clear. This isn't an opportunity to resurrect
arbitrary features that miss 3.1, but rather an extension of scope in some
specific dimensions. These feature exceptions are a small adjustment in
scope, and likely in schedule, but I wanted to call out their (coming)
existence so people wouldn't be surprised when they saw features being
discussed and landed after the beta1 freeze.

Please do continue to prioritize work (including reviews and testing) on 3.1
blockers and wanted, including the "feature exceptions" I'm describing here
as they're clarified this month (we'll figure out how to label the
exceptions and so forth shortly). 3.1 is already shaping up to be a worthy
successor to Firefox 3, and it's only been a couple of months since we
released!

Mike

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