Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 Released

3 Mar/10

If you cannot wait for the next installment of your favorite web browser to get released publicly you might want to give the new developer release a try. Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 adds support for running plugins into their own processes which should add to the security and stability of the web browser as a crashing plugin will now have lesser impact on the rest of the web browser and unresponsive plugins being restarted automatically. The new version is also packed with a preview of the Gecko 1.9.3 rendering engine, performance improvements like looking up the link history asynchronously or loading HTML5 specification without long browser pauses.

Firefox users thinking about installing the new alpha release should consider that it is a developer preview version that might contain bugs and other problems. It is therefore recommended to not install the web browser in a productive environment.

There has also been some confusion about the naming convention. Recently the Mozilla developers decided to skip Firefox 3.7 which in turn means that this release is actually a preview of Firefox 4.0 which will be the next big milestone release of the popular web browser.

Performance Improvements

* We’ve removed link history lookup from the main thread and made it asynchronous. This results in less I/O during page loads and improves overall browser responsiveness.
* Loading the HTML5 spec no longer causes very long browser pauses.
* A large number of layout performance improvements have been made, including work around DOM access times, color management performance, text area improvements and many other hot spots in the layout engine.
* The JavaScript engine has many improvements: String handling is improved, faster closures, some support for recursion in TraceMonkey to name a few.
* Improvements to the performance of repainting HTML in .
* Strings are not copied between the main DOM code and web workers, improving performance for threaded JavaScript which moves large pieces of data between threads.

Web Developer Features

* Support for Content Security Policy. This is largely complete, minus the ability to disable eval().
* The placeholder attribute for