Mozilla Releases Firefox 4 Beta

The Mozilla Foundation just became everyone’s best friend.

Today (July 7), Mozilla released an early beta for the much anticipated Firefox 4 which will be a cross platform browser for Windows, OS X, and Linux.  This beta shows some great improvements over Firefox 3 (2008) and Firefox 3.5 (2009) with the final product supposed to be released in November.

Mozilla is clearly pushing HTML 5 and CSS 3 to the forefront of their development efforts as these look to be the next step in website power.  According to Mac World, “Firefox 4 includes extended support for many of the new features that those two technologies introduce, including the Websocket API, which enables Web-based applications to access servers using arbitrary protocols like, for example, the one used by e-mail clients.”

To help support HTML5, the company is implementing Google’s WebM video codec, which is open-source.  Mozilla has said in the past that it will not be supporting H.264, a competing format that’s backed by Apple and Microsoft and also currently licensed by the MPEG-LA Consortium.

Performance upgrades look amazing.  Firefox 4 will specifically have accelerated hardware support and lazy frame construction implemented immediately with Optimized Baseline JIT, per-document garbage Collection, and Layered Page Rendering coming soon.  JavaScript Tracing, Native JSON, async and defer scripts, and Webworkers will be carried over from the previous versions.  You can more of the browser upgrades here.

While these upgrades look great, please remember that the browser is still in early beta and things won’t be perfect right from the get-go.