Executives from the Mozilla Corporation have been outlining some of the changes being made in the forthcoming Firefox 3 browser.
The browser has been in development for two years, and will have a completely redesigned graphics engine capable of handling much more intricate images, improving image scaling and letting users zoom in and out on the page.
The Mozilla team is also working on software to let users access online applications offline, so that they can then be uploaded when the browser is reconnected to the internet.
A radical shake-up of the book-marking system for web pages is also planned.
"When you think about it bookmarks have not changed for 10 years," Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering at Mozilla, told vnunet.com. "There are better ways to organise the plethora of web pages people view today. "
Schroepfer explained that Mozilla is working on an embedded database of web history and bookmarks called SQL Lite.
This would be much more flexible than existing systems and would allow for embedded tagging and a frequently used pages toolbar at the top of the browser.
Firefox 3 should be released by the end of this year or the beginning of next, but the team refused to set a fixed date. This is a matter of policy at Mozilla, which only releases software when it is right rather than setting arbitrary deadlines.
"We do not want to ship crap on time. We want to ship good software when it is ready to be shipped," said Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe.
Schroepfer explained that the team felt very strongly that the code should be released when it was ready to go and all the parts were shown to be working as well as possible rather than shipping to a schedule.
One of the strengths of the Mozilla organisation is that it is able to do this, according to Schroepfer, rather than having to satisfy shareholders or release endless updates.
Firefox 2, released earlier this year, has proved popular so far, and over 75 per cent of users have upgraded to the new software.
The team hopes to push this to 90 per cent in the coming weeks with an update being sent to users of version 1.5 explaining the benefits of upgrading.
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