Saturday, May 21, 2011

Firefox 5 Beta Is Here, What’s New?

The first beta of the upcoming version 5 of Firefox has been released to the public. The release has been delayed by a few days which is a short time considering the delays during Firefox 4 development. The accelerated development cycle is now almost in full swing. The cycle is complete with the release of Firefox 5 final. From that moment on, Mozilla can churn out new versions of Firefox in about 18 weeks which means that Firefox 6 beta is about three months away from being released.

So what’s new in Firefox 5? The release notes mention support for CSS animations as the only new technology included in the release.

The developers have added support for version switching in the browser which Firefox users can use to switch between final, beta and aurora releases.

The channel switcher is accessible via Help > About Firefox / Aurora.

Another change is that the Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to the Privacy tab of the browser’s options for increased visibility.

Please note that this preference is just sending a do-not-track header to all websites that you open. The feature is only effective if websites and scripts follow the request.

Other areas have seen improvement. The developers have improved the canvas, JavaScript, memory and networking performance, standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas, spell checking and desktop environment integration on Linux.

The full list of bug fixes in Firefox 5 Beta is available here.

So where can you download Firefox 5 Beta? You can check out my Firefox Download guide for the big picture or head over to Mozilla to download the beta from the Future of Firefox page.

Don’t worry if you download Aurora instead of the beta. The new channel selector is included in both versions, which means you can use it to quickly switch from Aurora to Beta and vice verse.

What’s your take so far on the rapid release cycle of the Firefox browser?

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