Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 Pre Comments

Apart from many performance improvements, the highly experimental JaegerMonkey javascript engine, and an official 64bit version, "Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 Pre" doesn't have many new features that 3.6 doesn't already have.

There's now support for mapping JavaScript to OpenGL, this is called WebGL. It enables use of hardware 3D acceleration. To enable WebGL, go to the location bar and type about:config, hit enter, WebGL only exists in current alpha versions of Firefox 3.7. Type 'webgl' in the filter bar, and set 'webgl.enabled_for_all_sites' to true.

Example: The OpenGL Teapot. You can click and drag to rotate, and you can zoom with Ctrl and rolling the mouse wheel. WebGL rendering the OpenGL Teapot can be seen in the video below.

It would be interesting to see this being used for Quake Live. This definitely makes the possibility of replacing Adobe Flash for web-based 3D gaming with a Free Software alternative much more probable.

The loading animation is a little different...

Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 Pre - Loading Animation

Another new thing we noticed is the ability to resize text boxes (textarea tags.) The video below shows the feature being used on the forms, where we have not designed our forms to be resize-able, it shows how sizing text boxes too big can break a website's intended design, and it shows the Acid 3 Test score.

Before this feature (Firefox 3.6) individual web designers had to write a JavaScript to achieve resize-able text boxes. This behavior is available in Chrome as well; perhaps Safari and Internet Explorer? (we don't use those.) Soon web designers won't have to do this by hand anymore, much the same as with the video & audio tags.

Firefox 3.7 Alpha 4 Pre

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