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Firefox 3.6 a1: new CSS features, faster JavaScript
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 11:22

Mozilla has released the first alpha of Firefox 3.6. Ars takes a look at the new features, such as CSS gradients.

By Ryan Paul | Last updated August 11, 2009 9:45 AM CT

 On Friday, Mozilla announced the availability of the first Firefox 3.6 alpha release. It introduces several new features and brings a number of performance improvements to the popular open source Web browser.

Firefox 3.5 was officially launched in June, roughly one year after the release of Firefox 3.0. Version 3.6, which is codenamed Namoroka, is tentatively expected to arrive in 2010. Performance and customization improvements are a major part of the roadmap for Namoroka. Mozilla is also exploring some new user interface concepts that could be used to augment the tabbed browsing model.

Although Namoroka is still at a very early stage of development, the 3.6 alpha includes very noticeable performance enhancements. In Firefox 3.5, Mozilla introduced a new high-performance JavaScript engine called TraceMonkey that uses just-in-time compilation and an optimization technique called tracing to deliver faster JavaScript execution. Improvements to this engine have helped to further accelerate JavaScript performance in the 3.6 alpha release.

TraceMonkey developer Andreas Gal, one of the researchers behind tracing optimization, says that JavaScript performance in 3.6 is roughly 15 percent faster than in 3.5. That's already a meaningful improvement, and it's possible that we could see TraceMonkey get even faster as the development cycle progresses. It's still not quite enough to catch up with Google's Chrome Web browser, however, which also got a touch of extra turbo in its latest beta release.   [ARS Technica...]    [Comments...]
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