Mozilla VP hints at what's in store for Firefox 4
"With the full release of FireFox 3 not too far away, a VP at Mozilla hints at what else the future holds."
Published: 29th March 2008 | Source: Daily Tech |
While the upcoming Firefox 3 will provide a cleaner graphical interface, numerous security upgrades, and a variety of new features, it still is far from the "perfect browser" according to Chris Beard, VP of Labs for Mozilla. No browser at the moment can claim to be such, be it Opera's "Kestrel" 9.5 browser Microsoft's soon to be released IE 8, or Apple's Safari v3.1 browser.
However, perfection is exactly what Mozilla want for Firefox 4, and it intends to get it through thinking outside of the box. With the release of Firefox 3 imminent, we have already been given an insight to what Firefox 4 will bring. Beard is working on a variety of features, some of which wont show their full potential until Firefox 4 reaches us.
Mozilla's goal is to be able to take any website or application and turn it into an application that can run directly from the desktop. While part of the emphasis is removing the classic need to go into a browser to access these applications, another focus is to make the applications available when you are offline. HTML 5, the upcoming next standard of the classic internet language will be updated to provide explicit support for offline/local resources, which should significantly aid Firefox 4 towards accomplishing these ends.
Firefox 3 implements the skeleton of this, with a new transactional database for store bookmarks and favorites. In Firefox 3 this simply allows more efficient and unique management of these items, but does not offer inter-browser syncing. Beard hopes to have the extensions necessary to provide syncing ready to roll out for Firefox 4. Firefox 3 will implement some information being fed into the browser when online, which should pave the way for this. In Firefox 3, streaming updates to malware signatures will help shore up security by offering protection against new phishing and drive-by download scams.
Other than Prism or Weave, Beard is focusing on making the browser more intuitive by having it assist users figure out web addresses. Firefox 3 implements a basic version of this called the "awesome bar", the new smart web-address bar. Users of Firefox 3's betas will already have experience with this feature. Beard wants to go beyond this and allow for a basic "linguistic user interface" in Firefox 4 which will allow users to type basic commands in plain English.
Aside from the the above, Beard warns that there may be some other "crazy ideas" in store for Firefox 4.