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Firefox 2 Beta 1 Bows

The Mozilla Foundation began shipping Beta 1 of Firefox 2.0 this week, just days after a leading Web analytics firm reported the open source browser and its close relations have gained another 2 percentage points on Internet Explorer.

Version 2 adds phishing protection, the ability to re-open accidentally closed tabs, and improved support for previewing and subscribing to Web feeds, as well as inline spell checking within text boxes. It also features a search plug-in manager for removing and re-ordering search engines, support for JavaScript 1.7, "microsummaries" for bookmarks, and a new scriptable Windows installer.

The built anti-phishing capability warns users when they come across Web forgeries, and offers to return the user to his or her home page. Meanwhile, microsummaries are regularly updated summaries of Web pages, small enough to fit in the space available to a bookmark label, but large enough to provide more useful information about pages than static page titles, and are regularly updated as new information becomes available.

Amsterdam-based Web analytics firm OneStat said in its report for June that Microsoft's share of the browser market fell to 83 percent globally. Meanwhile, the various Mozilla browsers and their brethren rose to nearly 13 percent.

Because it's a Beta 1 product, the release notes say, it is intended for "testing purposes only," according to statements on Mozilla.org. "Firefox 2 Beta 1 is intended for Web application developers and our testing community. Current users of Mozilla Firefox 1.x should not use Firefox 2 Beta 1 and expect all of their extensions and plug-ins to work properly," the statements say.

Interested parties can get the beta here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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