Firefox 2.0 alpha due next month

An alpha version of Firefox 2.0 should be released as a public beta next month. Although part of the long standing roadmap for the open source browser, the timetable was confirmed by the publication of the minutes of the staff meeting held earlier this month.

While the team say that the alpha will not be feature complete, among the improvements slated to appear are better access to History and Bookmark pages, improvements to the tabbed browsing and other user interface enhancements.

The team also hopes to fully integrate RSS functionality so that adding feeds is a smoother process than the current rather hit or miss method.

As many of the engineers involved in the Firefox project are now also working for Google, it comes as no surprise to discover that improvements are planned for the integration with search. The objective is for the browser to adapt to the user’s search needs, rather than forcing a particular view of search on them.

Version 2.0 is expected to create a simple, flexible system that unifies all search back ends, make adding keywords easy and more obvious, allow for engines to be added and removed easily when upgrading and allow for simple configuration for business needs.

There also plans for enhanced security, blacklisting and anti-phishing measures to be fitted to the new version. However, no details of what they might be have been released yet.

The minutes note that this will be a ‘big year’ for Firefox with both version 2.0 due for release and version 3.0 already on the drawing board. They also know that Windows Vista is due later this year with Microsoft planning to release Internet Explorer 7.0 alongside it. Little is known about IE 7.0. It is known, however, to feature tabbed browsing and enhanced security, which have been the two biggest selling points for Firefox.

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