Mozilla issues first Firefox 3.6 alpha version

An early version of an update to the browser is starting to emerge. Mozilla touts faster JavaScript, new style features, and more rapid delivery than with Firefox 3.5.

Mozilla has released the first alpha version of Firefox 3.6 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, a browser with speed improvements and new features the organization hopes to finalize faster than its predecessor.

"Unlike the year that passed between Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.5 , we expect that this 3.6 release will be released in a small number of months," Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard said in a blog post Friday.

Firefox 3.6, code-named Namoroka , has a variety of changes, but it's not as dramatic a departure as 3.5 was from 3.0. Among the 3.6 features are faster JavaScript, the Web programming language Firefox executes with its TraceMonkey engine; faster page-rendering speed; some new features for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) technology for controlling some of the look of a Web site; and a feature called the compositor that handles complicated layout circumstances better.

Performance is a big issue with browsers these days as people spend more time using them and programmers create more sophisticated sites and applications that live on the Web. All major browser makers are emphasizing performance improvements in their newest versions.

Download links for the first Firefox 3.6 alpha are at the Mozilla Developer Center.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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