Mozilla wants to make Firefox a speedster

Browser upgrade plans include HTML5 support, performance optimization, and greater user control

Mozilla, with its planned Firefox 4 browser, intends to make the browser "super-duper fast" and enable use of standard Web technologies including HTML5 and beyond, a Mozilla official said in a blog entry this week.

A third primary goal of Firefox 4, said blogger Mike Beltzner, Mozilla director of Firefox, is empowering users to be in full control of their browser.

[ HTML5 is being championed as a replacement for proprietary Web plug-ins, but Infoworld's Paul Krill pointed out a recent analyst report that said HTML5 would not fill such a gap anytime soon. ]

The plans, though, remain "fluid and are likely to change," Beltzner said in a Monday blog post.  "As with past releases, we use dates to set targets for milestones, and then we work together to track to those targets. We always judge each milestone release against our basic criteria of quality, performance, and usability, and we only ship when it's ready." Beltzner said.

Plans call for  performance optimization and simplification, including fewer user interface controls. Users would be able to manage their relationships with Web sites via control over permissions.

Other improvements eyed include making it easier to find relevant add-ons and installing them without restart. 3D capabilities would be offered via WebGL, and animation of Web content would be enabled via CSS Transitions and SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language).

Developers would leverage remote JavaScript debugging and compatibility with the Firebug Web development technology. Sixty-four-bit support is planned for Firefox 4.

A beta release is planned for the early-July timeframe, with plans to ship the browser by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the planned Firefox 3.7 release has been rebranded as Firefox 3.6.4, with improvements for handling out-of-process plug-ins. These plug-ins had been causing crashes. Version 3.6.4 is due this month.

Like Mozilla, Microsoft plans to embrace HTML5 in its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser.  IE9 also would support SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), something already backed in Firefox.

This article, "Mozilla wants to make Firefox a speedster," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter and on your mobile device at infoworldmobile.com.

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