File Under: Browsers

Firefox 5 Enters Beta Channel With CSS, Speed Improvements

Mozilla has pushed out the first major update for Firefox 5, opening the new beta channel for early adopters. Firefox 5 beta 1 is the first release in the beta channel, which is part of Mozilla’s move to a faster release cycle designed to get experimental builds of the web browser out to a wider audience.

If you’d like to take the new beta for a spin, head over to the Firefox channels page and download a copy. Also note, if you’ve been using the Aurora channel, recent updates to that pre-beta release mean you can now switch to the new beta simply by heading to the “About Aurora” menu and choosing “change.”

The new beta release means that Firefox now has three major channels you can use: Aurora, Beta and Release (there’s also a nightly builds channel, but it tends to be very unstable). The three main Firefox channels correspond to Google Chrome’s dev, beta and stable releases.

The first beta release of Firefox 5 adds support for CSS animations, which allow developers to animate transitions between CSS states. For a list of all the animations Firefox 5 currently supports, head over to the Mozilla developer page (note that all the supported rules currently require the -moz prefix).

Firefox 5 beta sees some performance improvements to JavaScript, memory, and networking performance. There’s also been some speed boosts for canvas-based animations.

Other new features include improved support for web standards like HTML5, XHR, MathML and SMIL, along with the usual bug fixes that come with any beta release.

To go along with the new desktop beta, there’s also a new beta of Firefox 5 for mobile devices. Firefox 5 beta for mobile adds support for the Do Not Track header and offers some speed improvements, particularly on 3G networks. To grab the latest version of Firefox 5 for Android, head over to the Android market.

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