Don't forget to upgrade to Firefox 3.6 beta 3 today
Here's what happens when our beloved Scott M. Fulton, III is away from his test machine while covering PDC 2009: You get a Firefox beta announcement with none of the scores, charts, or metrics you're accustomed to getting. Instead you just a plain old "Go download this!" message from yours truly.
Mozilla pushed out the latest beta last night, just a little over a week after we checked out beta 2. Mozilla says more than 80 changes have taken place since the last version came out, and they include the ability to run scripts asynchronously to speed up page load time, and a feature called "component directory lockdown."
Well, it's not really a feature so much as a loose end that was tied up. Component directory lockdown is an extremely simple concept: third party applications no longer have access to the "components" directory, and can only extend Firefox through traditional add-ons and plug-ins.
Johnathan Nightingale explained "component" extensions in the Mozilla Developer Blog this week, "There are no special abilities that come from doing things this way, but there are some significant disadvantages. For one thing, components installed in this way aren't user-visible, meaning that users can't manage them through the add-ons manager, or disable them if they're encountering difficulties. What's worse, components dropped blindly into Firefox in this way don't carry version information with them, which means that when users upgrade Firefox and these components become incompatible, there's no way to tell Firefox to disable them. This can lead to all kinds of unfortunate behaviour: lost functionality, performance woes, and outright crashing -- often immediately on startup."
If you are running 3.6 beta 2, you can simply go to Help > Check for Updates... to upgrade to beta 3. It can also be downloaded directly from Mozilla.