While end users might choose to focus on palpable features for the next version of Mozilla’s open source browser, such as the overhauled graphical user interface, fact is that Firefox 4.0 will bring to the table much more than the revamped UI. And there are new features bound to make little sense to the vast majority of the Firefox audience.

This, however is not valid for developers, no matter whether they choose to focus on the browser itself or on building web experiences. Just as Microsoft has the new IETestDrive website, an online destination dedicated to web developers (much as the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Platform Preview releases), so too Mozilla offers a nook for devs interested in the evolution to Firefox 4.0.

“Firefox 4, due to enter beta in late June, enhances performance, adds more support for HTML5 and other evolving Web technologies, and further improves security. This article provides initial information about this upcoming release and what features are available for Web developers, add-on developers, and Gecko platform developers alike,” an excerpt from the website reads. More »

64-bit (x64) architectures are the future, and already well on their way to becoming mainstream and burying 32-bit (x64). Microsoft was one of the first companies to recognize the trend and adapt products such as Windows XP, and then Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Office 2010 to the general trend in the evolution of processors.

In fact, the software giant is already producing x64 exclusive software with Windows Server 2008 R2 and beyond, for example. Users currently running the 64-bit flavor of Windows 7 will soon be able to install a 64-bit version of Firefox offered officially by Mozilla.

In a platform meeting on May 25th, 2010, Mozilla indicated that it had been gearing up to produce the first x64 builds of Firefox tailored to Windows 7 by the end of this week. Mozilla’s Armen Zambrano Gasparian revealed that, “Once the builds start working (I almost have them) they will show up in” the Latest Trunk download section. Early adopters will, of course, be able to download x64 Firefox releases and run them on 64-bit Windows 7. More »

The next update to Firefox 3.6 will be a minor refresh with a twist. Essentially, Mozilla has taken the Out of Process Plugins feature from the next major iteration of the Firefox browser and integrated it into the version of Firefox released earlier this year.

Early adopters are already free to test-drive Firefox 3.6 with OOPP via the codename Lorentz release, which was offered to testers almost a week ago. Firefox 3.6.4 will be the first stable version of the open source browser to feature Out of Process Plugins, which will also be included in future iterations of Firefox.

“Firefox 3.6.4 will include out of process plugins for Windows and Linux. Builds were delayed by a day, this will likely push back our schedule. Expect QA signoff late on Friday or early Monday. Expect to publish as opt-in upgrade to beta channel on Monday,” a Mozilla representative stated.

While codename Lorentz Beta is currently available for download and testing, it appears that Mozilla will also produce a Firefox 3.6.4 Beta soon. In this regard, Firefox Lorentz is nothing more than Firefox 3.6.3 plus out of process plugin code for Windows and Linux, while version 3.6.4 is expected to deliver additional changes, including the traditional security and stability updates. Another way for testers to try out OOPC is through Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4. More »

On the heels of Firefox 3.6.3 Plugin 1 / 3.6.4 codename Lorentz Beta, Mozilla has made available for download a new release of the next major iteration of its open source browser. Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 is currently available for download from Mozilla’s FTP servers, as it is a very early development milestone of the next version of Firefox. In fact, Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 is the Mozilla Developer Preview 1.9.3 Alpha 4, and in this regard, not a full browser, and certainly not ready for end users, but instead designed to be tested by early adopters and developers.

And yet, Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 / the Mozilla Developer Preview 1.9.3 Alpha 4 and Firefox 3.6.3 Plugin 1 / 3.6.4 codename Lorentz Beta both now share an upcoming feature. Here’s the explanation from Mozilla: “Gecko 1.9.3 alpha introduces new features which can be tested by using this Mozilla Developer Preview. Many of these features are still in development, and while they will likely appear in some future version of Mozilla Firefox, some may be in earlier releases than others.”

The next generation Out of Process Plugins feature that made its debut in Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 is now heading to Firefox 3.6. The next update to Firefox 3.6, namely version 3.6.4, will feature OOPP, which can currently be tested through the Beta Build for codename Lorentz. More »

A second Alpha version of Firefox is planned for availability by the end of this week, the evolution from Firefox 3.7 Alpha 1 which was released almost two weeks ago to developers. Specifically, in the first half of February 2010, Mozilla offered the Developer Preview of Gecko 1.9.3 Alpha 1. In this regard, Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 is bound to be nothing more than Mozilla Developer Preview of Gecko 1.9.3 Alpha 2.

With the Alpha releases, Mozilla is exploring development directions for the next iteration of its open source browser. The Alpha 2 development milestone will bring to the table one of the key features announced for Firefox 4.0, namely Out Of Process Plugins (OOPPs).

“We are planning to do another alpha release of 1.9.3 this week with out-of-process plugins on by default. The following bugs should be resolved on February 23rd or 24th: bug 532208 – make browser->plugin streams unidirectional; bug 545734 – hide the iframe used to submit plugin crash reports; bug 547894 – topcrash with DivX passing null to a string function; and bug 544074 – topcrash at PluginModuleChild::UnregisterActorForNPObject,” stated Mozilla’s Benjamin Smedberg. More »