Mozilla has pushed out version 11 of its Firefox browser, extending its Firefox Sync capabilities to include add-ons, and adding new developer tools such as a style editor and WebGL visualisation tool.
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that Mozilla plans a Windows 8 version of Firefox, but that restrictions around the new Metro-style user environment are causing issues.
Available to download now, Firefox 11 is an update for the Windows, Mac OS and Linux versions of Mozilla's open-source browser, adding numerous enhancements, first detailed when the beta release was made available.
For end users, the chief new feature is the extension of Firefox Sync to include add-ons, meaning that when you install an add-on in Firefox on one computer, it will also get added to the browser in any other computer you use, provided you have signed up for the Sync service.
For developers, Firefox now includes a new Style Editor tool, which allows them to edit CSS stylesheets like a text editor and see changes instantly, entirely within the browser, according to Mozilla.
Meanwhile, the new Page Inspector 3D View is a visual layout tool claimed to be unique to Firefox. Nicknamed ‘Tilt' this WebGL-based feature provides a 3D visualisation that is said to highlight the structure of a page better than a flat view.
Looking ahead to Windows 8, Mozilla is preparing a version of Firefox for the upcoming new version of Microsoft's operating system, but has reportedly run into issues including a lack of documentation regarding application programming interfaces (APIs) for the new Metro user interface.
Another problem is that applications on Windows 8 can be either Metro-style or run in the old desktop environment, while Microsoft's IE10 has been designed to operate in both environments.
As detailed on the MozillaWiki development site, IE10 is said to "do things that are known to be off-limits for metro applications," and appears to be running outside of the sandbox environment that Metro-style applications are supposed to be contained within.
Mozilla, along with Google and its Chrome browser, is thus concerned that they will not be able to compete with IE10 on Windows 8 because of developer restrictions that Microsoft is apparently able to sidestep for IE10.
In addition, while desktop apps can be downloaded in the conventional manner, Metro-style apps will only be available through the Windows store, which is controlled by Microsoft.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.