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 »

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 »

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 »