Sunday, November 23, 2008

Firefox 3.1b2 Watch

Over the last week there were hopeful signs that the beta 2 version of Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) would be released.

There were in fact a few teasers that it would be released on November 21st, but alas, that did not come to pass.  From what I can tell, the official release might be around the 28th, give or take a few days.

I suppose that one could dive into the “nightly” Minefield builds, but I’m trying to be good of late and stick with the slightly more stable beta versions.

On the Watch Tower

Some b2 watch-bits while we wait:

Releases/Firefox 3.1b2 – MozillaWiki – Basic pre-release checkpoints and timetable.

WeeklyUpdates/2008-11-17 – MozillaWiki – Big picture on Mozilla release activity. Its all about bug-killing and quality assurance.

Firefox3.1/StatusMeetings/2008-11-19 – MozillaWiki – For the most part it seems that most (all?) of the release blocking bugs have been neutralized.

However, it looks like one anticipated feature will get yanked out of this beta version, again; Ctrl-tab preview switching.  For specific reasons why this is being held back see bug 465843 link.

If you don’t recall, this is the Vista-ish alt-tab feature that pops up a preview page highlight dock-style when ctrl+tab-ing through tabs on a browser window.

If you read that bug link, seems there is some interesting behind-the-scenes discussion on the merits and application of the feature when just one or two tabs exist.

Anyway, looks like there is still some cleanup work and decisions to be finalized before we get a working 3.1b2 in our hands.

So until things become “official” I guess I will keep checking in at the Index of site and look for a new folder called 3.1b2.  Sometimes I can get lucky and snag it a day or so early that way.

Coming soon to Firefox: Tab Tearing

One of the newest features that 3.1 will offer is an expanded feature called “tab-tearing.”

Mozilla Links offers a great video and rundown of this capability. Firefox 3.1 gets tab tearing.

While previous versions of Firefox have always allowed some URL drag-n-drop handling, say a link from the desktop, a file, email application, or from the bookmarks, tab-tearing is a bit different

Basically it allows you to click and hold on a tab and drag it off the browser window and when released it will open in a new browser window and be removed from the originating browser window.  Or you can drag the tab off the existing Firefox window and drop it on another Firefox browser window and it will be added to the destination and removed from the source.

If it sounds complicated, it really is basic.  Hop to the link and view the very short window video and you will see what I mean.

Claus V.


Anonymous said...

I doubt we will see Beta 2 on November 28th given it is the day after Thanksgiving and from what I understood Mozilla was mot going to be doing anything during the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Tab Tearing is annoying, especially the first time I accidentally 'tore' a tab. It is WAY TOO sensitive I have on many occasions tore a tab just trying to switch between tabs (via clicking) which bring me to my 3rd comment...CTRL+TAB.

Funny I was really excited when this first came out, even loaded up the extension so I could use it in Firefox 3. But now I am using the nightlies of Firefox 3.1, I never really use it. May be I find it quicker and easier to simply click on my tabs in the bar (except when I accidentally tear the tab).

Nathaniel said...

I have been lusting for tab tearing since Chrome made it so easy and elegant. I might try out the beta after it comes out and see what it feels like... hopefully it can be about:config-ed so that it's less sensitive or something.

I tried out tabgroups to see if it would do until then, but have stop using it since.

And I think you meant "very short video" instead of "very short window. :p

Claus said...

@ ffguru - I'm sure you are right. I swear you have some inside contacts at Mozilla as your data is usually spot-on. I'm looking forward to it's release as I have cooled a bit lately on regular "nightly" release usages. As such I haven't encountered the tab-tearing use yet but as you point out, I understand how it could be frustrating

Can it be disabled in the about:config settings?

Claus said...

@ Nathaniel - Thanks for the correction! My bad. Sometimes I get so excited typing I miss those things. Corrected.

I didn't even realize that I was tab-tearing in Chrome until you pointed that out just now to me. I've done it loads of time at work and just never thought of it. It seems very natural. They have pulled it off well.

--Cheers! Claus V.

Like Firefox extension guru points out if it is too sensitive in Firefox I think it will turn a lot of folks off. I usually have a good four or five tabs open at a time, particularly when posting. It would drive me crazy if I ended up scattering tabs into windows all over my desktop! :P

Anonymous said...

@Claus, I am sure there has to be some about:config settings that can be fiddled with. I'll take a look around a bit tomorrow and see what I can come up with. The first time I tore a tab I had just read about it, so it didn't come too much of a surprise. Even more annoying though is the delay when there is a tab as you won't even know you tore a tab for a few seconds.