Firefox 3.1: One to Watch

ScreenshotFor those of you who enjoy staying on the browser cutting edge, there’s a new place to go: Firefox 3.1 Alpha 1, nicknamed “Shiretoko,” is out. Though the release notes say bluntly “Current users of Mozilla Firefox should not use Shiretoko Alpha 1,” I’ve found it to be stable in early testing – on my secondary computer. Fortunately, installing the alpha won’t overwrite your existing Firefox 3.0 install, so you can experiment with relative impunity. You probably ought to create a fresh profile for it, though.

The most noticeable end-user improvements are a new bit of eye candy in Ctrl-Tab window switching, and enhancements to the syntax used for searching in the Smart Location Bar. Under the covers, web developers will appreciate JavaScript query selectors, border images, and an API for the <canvas> element. The bulk of your addons will stop working on the upgrade, though you can force compatibility and take your chances. If running alpha is too exciting for you, beta is due in a few months and release by the end of the year.

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