Sunday, September 28, 2008

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Firefox 3.1: Minefield's Here

First there was "Shiretoko," now we have been graced with "Minefield." The latest Firefox 3.1 build, which is pegged as a Pre-Beta 1 version of the software, was recently released to very low fanfare. However, this release is notable for a couple of reasons.

One thing I thought IE 7 did better than either Firefox 3 or Safari was that it was much easier to open a new tab within a given window. Right next to the tab furthest to the right sat a "new tab" button, which was easily accessible, and made opening multiple tabs a breeze. In Safari and Firefox, you had to either open one using the drop down menu, a keyboard shortcut, or, in Firefox, by placing a "new tab" button on the toolbar manually.

Now, Minefield has a new tab button on the toolbar by default, which you'll see placed all the way on the right side of the page when you start the program for the first time. It also comes with a little drop down tab situated right next to the button that lists the tabs you currently have open, so you could switch between them that way as well.

The big advancement in Minefield, however, is so under the radar that Mozilla hasn't even activated it by default. The new TraceMonkey JavaScript rendering engine, which has been really labeled as Firefox 3.1's breakout feature, is now available IF you know how to activate it.

Luckily, thanks to some help from Andrew Smith over at the Dallas Morning News, I've run down the Mozilla Wiki page that tells you how to accomplish this goal. I've played around with it a bit, and, for example, does seem to have a bit more pep in its step.

NOTE: Sort of as a bonus, if you want a tip on how to activate additional internet pipelines for Firefox and IE, take a look here, and it may make everyday browsing a little quicker.

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