Microsoft may be dogfooding early alpha versions of Internet Explorer 8.0 due for availability at the end of 2008/the beginning of 2009, but Mozilla is the one making headways on the browser market. On the brink of releasing the next milestone of Firefox 3.0, the open source foundation has taken the lead from Microsoft and will make available the next version of Firefox by the end of this year, while the Redmond Company only plans to deliver IE8 two years after IE7.
Mozilla is currently offering for download the Gran Paradiso Alpha 4 build of Firefox 3.0, and is getting ready to launch Gran Paradiso Alpha 5. Users of Alpha 4 developer milestone for Firefox 3.0 and the next generation of, Gecko 1.9 (Mozilla's layout engine) have been able to enjoy the enhancements introduced since Firefox 2.0, mainly under the hood. Still, Mozilla traditionally leaves the implementation of the new graphical user interface for the last stages of the release.
But Alex Faaborg, with the Mozilla User Experience Design has offered a sneak preview of the user interface being built for Firefox 3.0. "Firefox 3 is going to provide a wide range of improvements to performance, stability, and security, and it's also going to present several new user facing features. In case you are wondering how Mozilla decides on which features to include in Firefox, we believe in "Delivering the right set of features - not too many or too few. (The goal is to create a useful browser, not a minimal browser.)" We are only interested in adding features that are universally useful, and have no impact on performance," Faaborg explained.
The image toward the bottom includes several screenshots courtesy of Alex Faaborg and it will deliver you with visual examples of what to expect from the design of Firefox 3.0. Faaborg revealed that all the style items are merely conceptual mockups of Gran Paradiso and that they might not be included in the final release, or could be already discarded. Still, it will give you a general idea on where Mozilla is going with the redesign for Firefox 3.0.
Firefox 3.0 will deliver a new infrastructure for bookmark, history and web page storage. Tag pages, bookmark "saved searches" in Smart Folders, malware detection (with the help of Google), content management via "a unified content handling user interface", and microformat detection are all features planned for Firefox 3.0.