While the second Beta development milestone of Firefox 4.0 doesn’t bring to the table changes on the same radical level as the first Beta, it does introduce a range of modifications to the user interface and a few new features. This is of course, part of the natural process of development. And although no aspects of the Firefox 4.0 project are set in stone, it is easy to now see the direction that Mozilla is heading in with the next major iteration of its open source browser.

Tabs on top are here to stay, this much is clear. I have seen negative feedback from long time Firefox users reacting to the UI overhaul suffered by Firefox 4.0, but it seems to have failed to deter Mozilla in any way from its plans. The browser vendor has now extended the new revamped design to the Mac OS X edition of Firefox 4.0 in addition to that of Windows, while Linux users still have to exercise their patience a tad longer. More »

As early as 2009 Mozilla unveiled plans for a major overhaul of the graphical user interface for the next iteration of its open source browser. It became clear that the browser maker was planning to marry a variety of style concepts for the UI redesign of Firefox 4.0, including the Ribbon/Fluent look and feel of Microsoft’s GUI model for Windows 7 applications, Office 2010, etc. but also the placement of browser Tabs per the Google Chrome approach.

Alex Faaborg, User Experience Design at Mozilla took it upon himself to explain the UI revamping strategy that has been cooking for Firefox 4.0. Fact of the matter is that early adopters testing the pre-release Alpha versions of Firefox 4.0 already managed to get a taste of the new UI.

“In the Firefox 4 nightly builds, and in Firefox 4 Beta 1, we are changing the default tab position so that tabs are on top. This is a preference that users can change by right clicking on any of their toolbars. More »

The first fully-fledged Beta development milestone of the next generation of Mozilla’s open source browser is currently available for download. Testers and early adopters that have been waiting for Firefox 3.6, codenamed Namoroka, to evolve from Alpha stage are now free to access, download, install and start test driving the Beta 1 build. In addition to being the first Beta for Firefox 3.6, the development milestone offered by Mozilla is also the first example of a third-party browser to embrace Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Windows client. Just like the native Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 is designed to play nice with Aero Peek and Thumbnail Previews via the new Windows Aero Taskbar (Superbar) in Windows 7.

As you can see from the screenshot included below, Firefox 3.6 Beta users can now take advantage of the some of the same graphical user interface enhancements in Windows 7 as those running IE8. While Google and Opera are lagging behind when it comes down to tailoring their browsers to Windows 7, the same is not valid for Mozilla. And as Windows 7 became available for purchase on October 22, 2009, customers running the OS in combination with Firefox 3.6 will certainly enjoy the bells and whistles of the new Windows Aero GUI. More »