Mozilla releases Firefox 3.0 Beta 3, adds several features

The Mozilla organization on Tuesday posted Beta 3 of Firefox 3.0, for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms. The beta's release notes are indicating substantial progress on new and so far unseen features.

BetaNews has yet to make extensive tests of Beta 3, though a check of the release notes indicates that this may be the build where a number of critical and long-awaited new features actually get tested for the first time.

For example, an improved download manager that indicates relative progress in the status bar (a feature made popular by the third-party Download Statusbar add-on), tagging of downloaded files so that users can see the URL of their source, support for the parental controls feature in Windows Vista that currently applies to Internet Explorer, and automatic checks of downloads for viruses using the scanner of the user's choice.

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Perhaps this writer's favorite new feature will be the option of asking the user to save the contents of tabs on exit. Currently Firefox remembers the contents of tabs in case it crashes and needs to be reloaded (which frankly, for 2.x, happened often enough for that feature to come in very handy). But on a normal program exit, after being asked whether you mean to close the tabs, Firefox cleans the cache...which almost makes a rude exit through Task Manager more preferable to the File menu.

Also making progress is Firefox's support for JavaScript 1.8, which adds support for features made popular in scripting languages like Python: for instance, inline embedded functions (defining a variable as a function), and the intriguing comparison operator contains that iterates through entries in an array.

Mac OS X users may also note that Firefox 3 should try a little harder to look like a Macintosh application. There was a time when apps were graded on their ability to integrate with the Mac interface.

Firefox 3.0 Beta 3 is available for download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from FileForum. Try it out and tell us what you think below.

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