Care To Comment? Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 For Download

Firefox Web browser download

The latest iteration of the Web browser is focused on testing the core functionality provided by many new features and changes to the platform scheduled for Firefox 3.1, according to Mozilla's blog.

Specifically, the Firefox team is looking for comments and feedback regarding several key upgrades and additions to the Web browser. The features Mozilla is looking to tweak and refine before moving onto the next stage of development include: Web standards improvements in the Gecko layout engine; added support for CSS 2.1 and CSS 3 properties; new tab switching shortcut; and, improved control over the smart bar.

Among the final elements the Mozilla team is beta-testing in this release of Firefox are support for the W3C Geolocation API, Java Script query selectors, and Web worker threads.

The inclusion of a Geolocation API is no surprise to anyone who has been following Mozilla. Recently, the Firefox team announced Geode, a plug-in that aims to make the browser location-aware. By adding Geode to Firefox 3.1 beta 1, the Mozilla team is hoping to create a smarter Web browser that will locate nearby restaurants, tailor RSS streams to your location and including more targeted search results.

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The CSS upgrades that developers can look forward to are centered on @font-face. According to the Mozilla developers blog, supporting an @font-face property is consistently a feature that users are asking for in the browser. Firefox 3.1 beta 1 includes the feature, which allows designers to achieve more consistent formatting and layout when rendering Web pages.

Firefox 3.1 beta 1 will also be the first version of the open-source Web browser to include support for video and audio elements, with support for OGG Theora and OGG Vorbis on all platforms.The Mozilla team is also working to include support for GStreamer on Linux, QuickTime for Mac and Windows Media Player for Windows machines.

The goal of including the rich format elements in the design of the browser is to "get video out of the plug-in prison," allowing for more complete interaction with the other content on the page.

The complete interaction of content on the page in Firefox 3.1 beta 1 could be another step in Mozilla Labs' goal to make the Web more interactive. In August, the scientists at Mozilla Labs cooked up Ubiquity, a plug-in for Firefox that creates a visual interface.

Firefox 3.1 beta 1 is currently available for download in more than 35 languages.