Firefox 3.5 RC Available: Stable & Fast

Firefox 3.5 is a superb browser — the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine’s performance and memory management mean that it’s great for working with resource-heavy web apps. The Mozilla team has now released the first Release Candidate (RC1) of Firefox 3.5 to beta users, which means that the final release is probably not very far away.

I’ve been using the beta for some time now as my everyday browser. In my experience, the beta of 3.5 has been far more stable than 3.0, particularly when I have large numbers of web apps open, so I would recommend switching to 3.5 RC1 if you’re not using it already, even though it’s not the final version.

I ran the new RC1 through the Sunspider JavaScript benchmarks. It appears to be about 12 percent faster than beta 4, scoring a time of 2200 ms compared with beta 4’s 2500 ms, but as I didn’t run the tests in parallel you should take that with a large pinch of salt. While it’s not quite as snappy as Google Chrome (by far the quickest browser available, which scores 1500 ms, according to my benchmarks), this new version of Firefox is still a very fast browser. This improved performance, coupled with the ever-increasing bandwidth available to users, should give developers much more scope to create powerful web apps with desktop app-like capabilities — leading to many more useful web apps becoming available for web workers.

Have you switched to Firefox 3.5 yet?


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