Beta 6 continues to be the last fully-fledged Beta Build of Firefox 4.0 offered to early adopters, but testers can now also grab a preview of Firefox 4.0 Beta 7.

Mozilla has essentially made available the Release Candidate of the seventh Beta for Firefox 4.0, a nightly build, served to the Beta community through the browser vendor’s FTP servers.

Almost two months have passed since Mozilla launched the previous Beta, and in the process the Firefox 4.0 development was postponed considerably.

However, Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 will certainly be worth the wait. Testers will be able to notice a consistent increase in JavaScript performance, a boost in hardware acceleration and better HTML4 support.

Mozilla highlighted some of the changes that Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 will bring to the table, such as: More »

A new development milestone of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) is now available for download from Microsoft. The Redmond company has pushed IE9 all the way to Platform Preview 4, delivering a consistent evolution over the previous Build, Platform Preview 3. Early adopters will also notice that the software giant has delivered Platform Preview 4 two weeks earlier than the deadline announced initially, which was eight weeks after the release of Platform Preview 3. This only means that Microsoft is making headway with the development process of Internet Explorer 9, and that it is right on track to get the IE9 Beta launched next month, in September 2010.

“The fourth Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, available now, shows the opportunity of fully hardware-accelerated HTML5. You can run new test drive samples that show modern SVG and native JavaScript integration in action. More »

Mozilla is currently hard at work to integrate a new feature into the next iteration of its open source browser. Essentially, Firefox 4.0 nightly development builds will get Tab Candy, provided that the Tab Candy team is successful in the implementation of the new feature. At the end of the past week, Aza Raskin, Head of UX, Mozilla Labs, unveiled a new concept designed to revolutionize the way in which end users navigate and manage Tabs within the Firefox browser. Watch the video embedded at the bottom of this screen in order to get an idea of what Firefox Tab Candy can do.

“With one keystroke Tab Candy shows an overview of all tabs to allow you to quickly locate and switch between them. Tab Candy also lets you group tabs to organize your work flow. You can create a group for your vacation, work, recipes, games and social sites, however it makes sense to you to group tabs. When you switch to a grouped tab only the relevant tabs are shown in the tab bar, which helps you focus on what you want,” Raskin stated. More »

Internet Explorer 9 is in a different league compared with its rivals when it’s “playing the hardware acceleration.” One of the key aspects of Internet Explorer’s evolution from IE8 is the introduction of hardware accelerated HTML5. The promise from Microsoft is that developers will be able to build entirely new HTML5 experiences that will rival desktop applications. But in order for users to leverage the novel HTML5 apps, they will need to be running a hardware accelerated browser such as IE9, one that takes full advantage of the GPU in addition to the CPU of their systems.

Microsoft has offered a comparison between Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2, an early development milestone of Firefox 4.0 labeled Firefox 3.7 pre-Alpha 5 and Chrome 5 Beta Build 5.0.375.38. As users will be able to see from the graphics included with this article, IE9 Preview 2 has no match in the HTML5 hardware accelerated contest involving the Flickr Explorer sample released by Microsoft on IETestDrive, built with standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript and leveraging AJAX to grab images from Flickr. More »

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 »