Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 Delayed, Detailed Goals for Firefox 3.6, Codename Namoroka
Article by George Norman
On 06 Apr 2009
Following the release of Firefox 3.1 Beta 3, the Mozilla Foundation announced that the next version of the browser to see a public release will be Firefox 3.5 Beta 4. The code freeze was supposed to occur today, the 6th of April, but Firefox Director Mike Beltzner has come out to announce some delays. On a more uplifting tone, the goals that Mozilla will try to reach with the upcoming Firefox 3.6, codename Namoroka, have been detailed and we are more than happy to present them.

Starting with the Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 code freeze, here is what Mike Beltzner had to say: “After talking to component leads, localization drivers, and looking over the feedback from the meetings, it's becoming clear that while we're close to hitting code freeze, it won't be possible to contain all the P1s or l10n work by April 6th. We're going to move code freeze to Wednesday, April 15th. This should get us: many more opted in locales; all P1 blockers.”

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The next version of the Firefox browser will be named Firefox 3.6, codename Namoroka – after the name of the Namoroka national park in Madagascar. The name may change (so it is best to think of the next iteration of Firefox simply as Firefox.next), but the goals will remain the same:
- Performance: faster startup times, faster tab loads, enhanced responsiveness.
- Personalization & Customization: no need to restart the browser once a new theme or extension has been activated.
- Task Based Navigation: organize your tabs, history, downloaded files and so on according to the task you want to accomplish. “Provide support for executing common web-based tasks, mash-up style, without having to visit a website.”
- Web Application Support: provide developers with a means of creating rich application experiences that would blur the line between web and desktop applications.
- System Integration: the browser should seamlessly integrate with the user’s OS not only from a visual point of view, but from a functionality one as well.

Other goals for Firefox.next:
- Better UI (user interface) for uploading files.
- Common site specific preferences to merge with the site button.
- Button to “convert website to application”.
- Implementation of Aero Glass and Aero Peek.
- File management capabilities (move, copy, delete) to be added to the download manager.
- New tab page (we’ve already seen the Cognitive Shield tab concept).
- “about:me” to offer web browsing statistics.
- Identity management.
- Firefox for Mac will use the OS’s native spell checker and will get Keychain and AppleScript support.

“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,” says Mike Beltzner.

The development process of Firefox.next will last about 10 months, meaning that we may get to see Firefox Namoroka next year in May (if all goes according to plan).



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, Firefox 3.6, Namoroko
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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