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How Firefox Works


What's next for Firefox

With the rapid pace of development going on at Mozilla, it won't be long before there's another new version of the popular browser in the works. So what's going to be in the next version of Firefox? Starting with the current generation, there's plenty of room to grow. Firefox 3.5 includes support for a host of next-generation Web technologies, including HTML 5, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora, microformats and animated portable network graphics (APNG). These formats are likely to change Web page functionality once they're adopted more fully.

Support for computers with multitouch functionality is under development at Mozilla. Multitouch refers to computer interfaces such as touchscreens on cell phones and trackpads on portable computers that can detect the touch of more than one finger at a time and support special multifinger commands. When it becomes available, the Firefox multitouch application programming interface (API) will allow Web developers to include new features in Web sites that provide more functionality for users. The first version of Firefox to support multitouch may come as soon as version 3.6 [source: Gilbertson].

Though Firefox 3.5 was released in June 2009, there were already screenshots of Firefox 3.7 floating around the following July. Of course, specifications for beta software are always in question, but Firefox 3.7 may feature a new see-through, glassy interface. Mozilla's product roadmap has releases planned for versions 3.6 and 3.7, and it already details some of the specifications for Firefox 4.0. As of this writing, it's due out in October or November 2010. Multitouch and interface changes are on the list, but so are other improvements, such as faster JavaScript, better page loading capability and synchronization of bookmarks, which can be handled now with the help of third-party plug-ins. In addition, Firefox may be borrowing features from the newcomer to the browser wars, Google Chrome: Tabs may have their own processing threads, which means that if one Web site open in your browser is having trouble, it's less likely to force you to restart your entire session [source: Brandrick].

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