A Sneak Peek at Firefox 3.1 Pre-Alpha Shiretoko

As Mozilla Firefox 3.0 is nearing 30 million downloads, ITProportal.com sheds some light on the forthcoming Firefox 3.1 Pre-Alpha version codenamed Shiretoko, the precursor of the next Big Firefox push.

Shiretoko, as its name implies, is not meant for casual, everyday usage and carries the usual set of warnings and risks associated with alpha-testing.

Installing the browser did not result in any sort of incompatibility, which means that as of Monday, the alpha-version appears to be a minor departure from Version 3.0 which was launched a few weeks ago.

Various plugins were recognised painlessly and the browser was surprising solid and stable for a pre-alpha version.

According to Mozilla Wiki sources, the final version of Firefox will include Visual tab switching, searching and filtering as well as an ability to list all tabs - although obviously these are not in the current Alpha version.

Memory management appeared to be marginally better than in Firefox 3.0 (which on instances consumed 400MB on one production machine) but this is a subjective measure and could be linked to the sites being visited.According to a recent interview with Mike Schroepfer, the company's vice president of engineering, Mozilla plans to release the final Firefox 3.1 version by the end of the year.

Expect more to be thrown in though; there are talks of tag autocomplete, bulk tagging support and private browsing mode being added with the developers reigning in loose codes, improving JavaScript performance, the Gecko Rendering engine and compliance with Acid3 test.

Other nice to have features that are being considered include Lightweight tagging UI, Advanced Search UI as well a Download History integration.

The latest version of Firefox can be downloaded on their FTP website.