A week ahead of schedule, Mozilla have announced the release of Firefox 3 Alpha 4. The project, codenamed Gran Paradiso, features several important improvements that focus on extensions. Principally, these include better integration of FUEL (Firefox User Extension Library) and a JavaScipt library designed to facilitate extension development.
Firefox 3 now also supports as standard the popular global notification system ‘Growl’ on Macs although an extension for this was already available. To embrace Web 2.0, Firefox 3 will also offer better support for offline web applications.
Some developments haven’t reached completion, however. The Mozilla team are still working on an integrated history and bookmarks system as well as enabling ‘Breakpad’ – a new crash reporting tool. These developments are expected to be included in the Alpha 5 release due at the end of May.
Please remember that this version is for testing purposes only and mainly aimed at web developers and alpha testers. You will probably find that most of the extensions you have in Firefox 2 don’t work with Firefox 3 although some can be forced to work using the potentially unstable ‘Nightly‘ extension. The actual look of this release is not much different from Firefox 2 so if you’re just a general user, you’d be best to wait until the official release.