19 April 2007

Firefox: 3.0 and future plans #

It just so happens to be our favourite browser. With more and more vulnerabilities showing up in IE7, it’s pretty much a no brainer selection. Coders love it, designers love it even more! With such a strong past backing them up, Mozilla plans to make some serious headway with Firefox 3.0, and in a way, redefine browsing 'again'!

InforWorld reports that there are hosts of new features planned for Firefox 3.0. You can read the whole list on the article there, but I want to take up just two of the features which sound extremely promising, and as these things go, open up a whole new door of possibilities for geeks! :)

Databases and offline web app-ing

The article says that Fx 3.0 will likely contain a feature which makes working with web applications offline, possible. Scratching your head? Ok, I’ll take the example from the article, since it’s something people can relate to. Imagine having GMail functionality, offline. You can write a mail, and save it. When you next go online, Fx 3.0 and GMail will work together to automatically send that mail. Pretty much what your desktop e–mail client does at the moment. Now isn’t that cool!

What this effectively does is take away an active Internet connection as the restriction to a lot of things. Maybe Blogger will work with this as well, with you being able to store posts offline while on the move, and transfer them to your blog (published/drafts) the moment Firefox discovers an active connection. This feature is almost an answer from Firefox to features like the in–built e–mail client in Opera, the blogging and photo–uploading tools in Flock and any other feature which integrates a web service application natively into a browser. Personally, I think Mozilla has been freagin’ brilliant at coming up with this! It sure makes me want to add sexy to the browser’s name ;)

The next feature, will appeal mostly to people who know how to use it. That, for the record, does not include me for the most part. They plan to integrate SQL Lite into the browser, albeit in a rather small form. It is going to be used to query content from the browser’s content cache. The immediate use Mozilla sees for this is a vastly improved ‘history’ and bookmarking system. However, there is a good chance this might ‘not’ make it into 3.0. That is not really a problem. Just the fact that such a feature is being developed, is pretty much enough at this point. I can see a lot of load–from–cache and history–extend extensions coming up to use and beat this feature black and blue. This also moves Firefox closer to what Mozilla ultimately plans for the browser, to turn it into an information broker. Maybe they could change the way existing variables are handled in Firefox, allowing Greasemonkey scripts to become a little more robust and share data between scripts? (Hey! Just saying!)

Looking good indeed!

The next version is slated for a ‘07 second half release. Ideas and features such as this make the next release one of the bigger ones yet. I didn’t see anything about the much spoken about Places, and am guessing they are going to chuck that idea, and make everything searchable (the latest toy of the application world) using the embedded SQL database. It’ll surely much more user–friendly, since the first attempt at using Places didn’t go so well, and people still complain whenever they have to use it.

So the next thing to do is keep fiddling through their nightly builds and see which one of them show hints of these features. Or else, wait and watch how the news unfolds. Something tells me this is going to create a wave as big as the lull we see at the moment! :)


phydeaux3 said...

The offline web-apping sounds pretty cool.

But I don't know about the in-browser database. Just thinking about it gives me the heebie jeebies.

Aw well, I'm sure they'll work it out.

Aditya said...

Databasing is now the future of anything which needs to be related, made faster, and stored in huge quantities, for longer.

I'm glad they're doing this. Implementing future features will become easier.

Allowing extensioners to get a hand on the data is also a good thing (sometimes :P)!

Deepak said...

The comment about database is so true.

We even use SQLite database in our mobile phone to store all multimedia data.

I'm curious how they are going to implement the database thing, because, with it comes a whole truckload of security concerns.

Avatar said...

unfortunately, i also think is quite hazzard to have a database run from the browser.... i also shiver with the thought of it..because i don´t know if you have noted it, but it is becoming more and more common that mozilla releases security and leashes patches for mozilla, but it will be interesting how they do it..and what happens..