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13 March 2009, 12:19

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 released

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Following a long delay, Mozilla has finally released the third beta of the next version of Firefox 3 – Firefox 3.1 beta 3. The release includes a number of improvements to Private Browsing Mode and TraceMonkey. It has new native JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) support, web worker thread support and several bug fixes. Improvements were also made to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering. New Web technologies such as the W3C Geolocation API, the [code<video>[/code]] and [code<audio>[/code]] elements, JavaScript query selectors, CSS 2.1 and 3 properties, SVG transforms and off line applications are now all supported. Performance and stability improvements have been made to the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, which was one of the main causes for the delayed release.

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 was originally expected to be released in early January, but the release date was pushed back several times, due, according to Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's director of Firefox development, to some "tricky and complicated" issues. Originally Firefox 3.1 was to be a minor update, until the Mozilla developers decided to add new features, including the private browsing mode and the new JavaScript Engine, TraceMonkey.

According to Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, a fourth beta will follow in approximately six weeks, which will take into account feedback from the third beta and test all of the improvements before a final release. The next version will become Firefox 3.5 in response to suggestions by developers to reflect the "increased scope" and due to the long release delays.

As this beta is pre-release software, Mozilla warns that users "may encounter compatibility problems with some websites and add-ons." Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 is available to download in 64 languages and more details can be found in the release notes. Users and developers who find any bugs are urged to report them on Bugzilla so that they can be addressed in the next release.

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