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Firefox 3.1 Alpha 1 arrives

By Stuart Turton

Posted on 30 Jul 2008 at 17:17

Mozilla has officially released the first Alpha of Firefox 3.1.

The browser, codenamed Shiretoko, is focused primarily on the user interface and improving the Gecko rendering engine that underpins Firefox 3.

The most noticeable of the interface changes is a new visual-tab feature, which brings up a filmstrip preview of the pages you're flicking between when using the Ctrl Tab shortcut.

Alongside the obvious practical benefits, the feature also includes a few neat aesthetic touches, with the preview windows casting a reflection against the shimmering black background.

Mozilla has also introduced new filtering features for its "Awesome Bar", potentially heeding the cries of those who felt overwhelmed by the information being displayed in the first incarnation. Now users can filter their searches so they show only browsing history, as opposed to unvisited bookmarks. Alternatively they can set the Awesome Bar to match keywords just in the URL, rather than in both the URL and page title.

There's also a few tweaks to the Gecko rendering engine, which now supports text and border shadows, as well as border images.

Mozilla is keen to point out Shiretoko Alpha 1 is intended for developers only, but anybody curious to test the new features can get their hands on it here.

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