The wait is over! Firefox 3.5 has reached the end of its development process. The gold build of the open-source browser from Mozilla, formerly codenamed Shiretoko, was finalized on June 29, 2009, and is now available for download (links are live at the bottom of this article). Mozilla is planning to ship Firefox 3.5 today, June 30, but at the time of this article the availability of Firefox 3.0’s successor hasn’t yet been announced officially. Still, the final development milestone of Firefox 3.5 has already been wrapped up and the bits went live on Mozilla’s FTP servers. It is only a matter of Firefox 3.5 being released to web, but you needn’t wait, just grab Firefox 3.5 from the links below for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

“The team here at Mozilla has been working hard on creating features, enhancing performance and adding other awesomeness to Firefox 3.5, and we’re very excited about sharing it with the world,” revealed Mozilla’s John Slater on June 29. More »

Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate 2 is live and is available for download. This is the development milestone of the open source browser that will be made available to the general public. Mozilla already started serving the RC of Firefox 3.5 as soon as June 16, but the availability process is not over yet.

In fact, June 19 marks the day that the final RC bits of Firefox 3.5 are going to be served to the public. Mozilla indicated that with the development of Firefox 3.5, formerly Firefox 3.1, and codenamed Shiretoko, it has changed the traditional process of wrapping up the browser.

Historically, step seven in the development evolution involved “shipping partial updates to beta-channel users and change the beta download page to point to the new development milestone,” revealed Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox at Mozilla. “So, what’s new and exciting? We’ve realized that we can run this process in a more parallel fashion by splitting step 7 into: 7.1 ship partial updates to beta-channel users; 7.2 change the beta download page to point to the new development milestone.” More »

With Firefox 3.1 evolved into Firefox 3.5 in the move from Beta 3 to Beta 4, Mozilla is also looking ahead beyond Shiretoko, to the next iteration of its open-source browser. Firefox Next will be codenamed Namoroka and the version number for the project will be 3.6, although this will only be valid for the initial stages. Mozilla in fact refers to what will be the successor of Firefox 3.5 as Firefox.next. Namoroka will be based on the Gecko 1.9.2 rendering engine, and is currently planned for availability in the first half of 2010.

“In contrast to previous product planning exercises, which were declarative and relatively inflexible, we hope to develop this project in a highly iterative manner by which we initially declare project goals and prioritized areas of interest for investigation, and then spend time determining the exact shape and scope of feature development tasks. The outcome of these investigations will be a set of feature design documents (using a common template) which will be prioritized and constitute the final product development plan,” revealed Mike Beltzner, Director of Firefox at Mozilla Corporation. More »

While Firefox 3’s location bar is perhaps my personal favorite new feature and the one I missed the most when I have to use Firefox 2 for some testing, there are a lot of people who find it weird, obtrusive and don’t like it including bookmarks and history among its results.

An option to restore its old behavior was available for a few weeks during Firefox 3 development but it was pulled basically because it would need a lot of testing and it was thought it was not worth it. The option may come back for Firefox 3.1.

In the meantime, for those who prefer the old way and those who want even more power, here are 9 easy tweaks you can try.

1. Make the autocomplete menu show only typed addresses and not visited or bookmarked

  • Enter about:config in the location bar to access the advanced preferences. Accept the “This may void your warranty message”.
  • Look for browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped and double click it to set it to TRUE.

More »

The upcoming stage in the development of the next iteration of Firefox is blocked by a consistent volume of bugs, Mozilla revealed. No less than 17 blockers are stopping Firefox 3.1 from moving onward to Beta 2. On November 10, the conclusion was that the Firefox 3.1, codename Shiretoko, Beta 2 was not ready for build because of the large number of issues affecting the development milestone of the open source browser.

“Despite a lot of hard work, we’re still a little bit away from being ready to hand the code for Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 over to the build team at this time. As of this writing, there are 17 bugs (marked blocking with the appropriate TM) that need to be resolved before we can ship,” revealed Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s User Experience lead.

Beltzner indicated that no less than ten bugs impact Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, while another seven affect the underlying Gecko 1.9.1 Beta 2 rendering engine. The release of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 continues to be planned for mid-November 2008; however, considering the number of blockers still unresolved, availability might slip toward the end of the month. More »