When the first browser was released it was nothing but a Textpad or Notepad with few buttons to navigate back and forth. Now just imagine what your current browser can do! For instance, Chrome can show apps which interact with other apps using Web intents. We must agree there are lot of innovations happening in browser wars.
Internet Explorer recently celebrated its 16th birthday. The first browser to give a real competition for IE was Mozilla’s Firefox browser. From the day Firefox was released people started switching to Firefox and hence Mozilla grew its users base from hundreds to millions!
Firefox team is always known for innovations and they are working hard to keep this reputation. You probably agree with this if you’re a hardcore Firefox user. Recently Mozilla adopted new rapid release cycle for Firefox which worked out quite well for them. Previous to this Firefox has been loosing much of its loyal users to Chrome!
Just a few days ago Mozilla released Firefox 6 with minor tweaks. Following are the features of Firefox 6,
- Better security
- Web Console is improved with an auto-complete feature and the ability to customize the console’s location to save developers time.
- Panorama users will enjoy faster start-up times because tab groups are only loaded when selected.
- Awesome Bar (URL bar) highlights a website’s domain name.
More or less, the Firefox 6 release is more beneficial for developers than normal user!
What is expected out of Firefox 7?
Are you a normal Firefox user and disappointed with Firefox 6 release?. Well, you need not be. Just wait another 6 weeks and you will get a better Firefox version which is promising to deliver many features. Here is a list of expected features:
#1. New 2D Graphics API – Azure
Almost all the browser vendors are concentrated on improving browsing experience which refers to graphics. Firefox is also in this game of improving graphics performance with the introduction of new API called Azure.
Azure is a new graphics component built within Mozilla.
To display a web page, Mozilla’s Gecko layout engine looks at how that page is constructed and divides it into independent layers. Each of those layers is drawn using Cairo, a 2D graphics API built on top of the operating system’s graphics APIs. Cairo was the previous version of graphics API used since Firefox 4 to Firefox 6.
Well Cairo has lot of issues. It was stateful API. This means that any given function call depends on the results of the previous function calls to determine its result. Unfortunately, statefulness strictly adds overhead to an intermediate graphics API. So Mozilla team developed a new API which is stateless and new “3D” backend for drawing content in an accelerated way to OpenGL, Direct3D 9, and Direct3D 10.
Tech Link: Know more about Azure.
Mozilla is planning to include Azure API in Firefox 7. If there are any negative test results then it will be moved to Firefox 8.
#2. Improved HTML5 Support!
HTML5 is a new version of HTML which is ready to replace many tools with HTML tags. The main feature of any browser is to render webpages which will be coded using HTML.
As per our past HTML5 tests ran on top five browsers in the world (i.e. IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Firefox), Chrome browser stood on top of the list. Yes, till today Chrome supports more HTML5 tags than any other browser even though Microsoft calls IE9 the best HTML5 browser!
Among all the tests we ran. Firefox always stood constant with their results. We actually thought Mozilla team has stopped concentrating on HTML5 support!
But Firefox 7 will boost HTML5 support as the alpha builds scored 298 (289 actual + 9 bonus) points out of 450. Here the points are equal to number tag tests included in HTML5Test.com!
#3. Faster Startup
Firefox 7 is expected to load webpages 20-30% faster than its previous version with the inclusion of new Azure graphical API.
#4. 30% Reduction in Memory Usage
Mozilla says Firefox 7 could reduce memory usage by up to 30% for some users. That’s great for those of us who like having a ton of apps running at once.
#5. Better Sync and Clearer text on web pages
Now passwords and bookmarks sync instantly between your computers and mobile devices. Firefox 7 will provide better sync option. Firefox 3 was the first to render fonts on web pages so they’d always be clear, even when you zoom in. Firefox 7 will take that to the next level.
Huh! We don’t think Firefox 7 will disappoint with the inclusion of these improved features. We’re hoping to see these features get added up in the next release. Please share your thoughts. If you know more about Firefox 7, please share with us. Thank you!