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Firefox 3.0 Makes Leap Forward 401

Posted by Zonk
from the go-you-crazy-dino-go dept.
Kurtz'sKompund writes "Mozilla has announced that Firefox 3.0 has passed a major milestone! The Places feature has been added to the alpha client slated for release next week. Places is a complete re-work of the bookmarking and history browser functions. It was at one point slated for Firefox 2.0, but will instead see release in Mozilla's next major version. '"We enabled the Places implementation of bookmarks on the trunk," said the Places team in a post to the Mozilla developer center blog. "Although there is still much to be done, this is an important milestone for us." Firefox 3.0 alpha 5 is scheduled to launch June 1. Because Places uses the open-source SQLite database engine to store and retrieve bookmarks and history entries, it's incompatible with earlier Firefox editions' bookmarks. Alpha users must convert their existing entries, Mozilla developers said."
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Firefox 3.0 Makes Leap Forward

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:47AM (#19270833)
    Until they decide to remove it and delay it until Firefox 5 (after they skip 4)
  • Hrm.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nametaken (610866) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:49AM (#19270873)
    I'm not the usual jerk that complains about FF's feature bloat, but I wonder if this new feature is optional.
  • Thank God! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OwenMarshall (779270)
    The Mork file format was one of the most braindead database systems ever. Coding to access it is ridiculously difficult.

    Mork is dead... thank the gods.
    • by jopet (538074)
      Mork is indeed braindead, but it is as far as I understand not used for bookmarks (which uses essentially a plain HTML file), it is used for email metadata in Thunderbird (and Seamonkey).

      Unfortunately, there is no indication that any work is done to move the backend for storing emails and email metadata in Thunderbird to something sensible. The way how this is done now prevents a lot of useful functions and extensions from getting implemented -- it is just not worth the hassle with a back-end that is based
    • Mork is dead... thank the gods.
      Poor Mindy...
  • Leap? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657)
    It's hard to leap when you're that big[1]. A few small steps, sure, but to qualify for a leap, I'd say one would have to replace HTTP or TCP/IP. And whether the direction is forward is also open for debate. If the browser takes up several times as much memory as the OS, I personally think it's time to find the axe and use it. Others may disagree -- which is why it's good there's more than one browser.

    [1]: Obligatory "Look at the size of that thing!" quote.

    Regards,
    --
    *Art
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:53AM (#19270953) Homepage

    Because Places uses the open-source SQLite database engine to store and retrieve bookmarks and history entries,
    But SQLite is in Firefox 2.0 (and is already leveraged by extensions like Zotero). If Mozilla wanted to have the feature in the 2.x branch, I think they technically could (or, if a developer wanted to write an extension that allowed Firefox 2 to see both the old bookmarks and the new ones, there doesn't seem to be any critical impediments).

    However, the Mozilla SeaMonkey suite doesn't yet have SQLite. Will it be unable to share bookmarks with the new Firefox? Or will it get SQLite before Firefox 3 is released?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelson (129150) *

      But SQLite is in Firefox 2.0 (and is already leveraged by extensions like Zotero). If Mozilla wanted to have the feature in the 2.x branch, I think they technically could (or, if a developer wanted to write an extension that allowed Firefox 2 to see both the old bookmarks and the new ones, there doesn't seem to be any critical impediments).

      Places was originally in the 2.0 branch, but they dropped it during alpha testing. It just wasn't ready for prime time. (A number of alpha testers were annoyed that t

  • Changes (Score:5, Informative)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:53AM (#19270961) Homepage
    For anyone wondering what's going to change in FireFox 3.0 (Wikipedia quotes):

    The largest known change for Firefox 3 is the implementation of Gecko 1.9, an updated layout engine. It will also provide CSS3 columns.[90] Firefox 3 will include features that were bumped from Firefox 2, such as the overhauled Places system for storing bookmarks and history in an SQLite backend, according to the wiki.

    Also, what's expected to come in FireFox 4.0 (also Wikipedia):

    On October 13, 2006, Brendan Eich, Mozilla's Chief Technology Officer, wrote about the plans for Mozilla 2.0, the platform on which Firefox 4.0 is likely to be based. These changes include improving and removing XPCOM APIs, switching to standard C++ features, just-in-time compilation with JavaScript 2 (known as the Tamarin project), and tool-time and runtime security checks.
  • Bring it on... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:55AM (#19270977)
    I'm looking forward to this going gold for just one reason: some of the sites I visit frequently have a particularly in-your-face usage of auto-refresh which pisses me off (i.e. insisting on re-loading just when I'm in the middle of reading a particular paragraph). FF 3.0 (I heard) is supposed to be able to block this...

  • by Lethyos (408045) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:07PM (#19271215) Journal

    All posts resembling the pattern “why don't they fix this problem instead!?” are off the mark, irrelevant, and just plain whiny. Just because some new feature is being added does not mean your pet peeve is going completely ignored. There is more than one person working on this thing, and as remarkable as it may seem, many software development tasks can be done in parallel! Imagine that: doing more than one thing at once on a project!

    • by Lethyos (408045) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:15PM (#19271343) Journal

      Adding new features is not automatically a bad thing. It does not intrinsically slow down a program or make it cumbersome. Of course, these are two possible side-effects, but are not always certain. With good practices and architecture, new features are a boon, not a bust. Also, think of all the things the computer on your desktop does right now. Would you rather it have the functionality of a machine from a few decades ago because people complained that expanding its usefulness was counter-productive? Let products evolve, let engineers innovate, and let the process for coping with the consequences work.

      I cannot believe some of the mundane topics Slashbots will harp on these days. Get over it and try adding some useful dialogue to the stories instead of bitching about things you do not understand or understand only as a result of experience with one particular vendor in Redmond.

  • Light version? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:11PM (#19271269)
    I love Firefox ( or Iceweasel as it is called on Debian ) but I am running a fairly streamlined xfce install and currently fire.. err... Iceweasel, is using about the same amount of memory as the rest of the system combined. I know there are other browsers, but I really do like Iceweasel, except for the memory footprint. Seeing that I only use a fairly small subset of the features it would be nice to have a light version with just the essentials. I wouldn't suggest axing the features other users love and depend on, but perhaps provide an alternative for those of us who really don't need an advanced database for our 3-4 bookmarks ?

    PS: It would also be nice if Firefox didn't highlight "Iceweasel" as a typo.
    • "Iceweasel, is using about the same amount of memory as the rest of the system combined"

      I wouldn't have known about the issue except that every time Firefox is mentioned on slashdot it gets talked about. The alleged leak is to do with Firefox using memory to cache pages. The solution is simple. Type about:config in the address bar and change browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewer , browser.cache.memory.capacity and config.trim_on_minimize.

      Firefox here .. 37 MB with 2 windows and 2 tabs open and any
      • by drew (2081) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:07PM (#19272163) Homepage
        Just because you don't see the problem doesn't mean that it doesn't exist for anyone else. I regularly see Firefox go above 250 MB of memory, and nothing short of closing it entirely will get that memory back. And despite what you claim, it's not the cache, because according to the documentation for the "browser.cache.memory.capacity" config key, Firefox is only using 18 MB for its cache. According to what you say, I should never see Firefox go over about 75MB, but it's very rare for it to be using less than that unless I've restarted it within the past hour or two.

        I don't complain about the problem because honestly, I don't mind closing Firefox out every other day or so to free up the memory, but I do complain about people who deny it's a problem because it doesn't happen to them.
  • by harry666t (1062422) <harry666t&gmail,com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:14PM (#19271315)
    Where are the times when it was a quick and lightweight browser I loved? Today... Konqueror > FF.
    • by simong (32944)
      There's always Opera. That fits on a floppy. Doesn't it? God, I'm old.
      • by Kelson (129150) *

        There's always Opera. That fits on a floppy. Doesn't it?

        Only if you're using a really old version of Opera. Current downloads of the US-English version run 4.0 MB. The download with all available language packs is 6.3 MB.

        Fortunately, you're more likely to find a USB port than a floppy drive on most computers these days, so the extra size doesn't make much of a difference.

  • by Wolfger (96957) <wolfger@NosPam.gmail.com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:17PM (#19271365) Homepage
    As a user of multiple computers (work, home, friend's house), I use del.icio.us and the Firefox plug-in for it, and all my bookmarks are stored in a database that I can access from any computer. That's superior to this new "improvement". I think browser developers are really scraping the bottom of the barrel, looking in vain for "the next big thing". I'd rather see work done on useful plug-ins. That work well with existing browsers, than see a new browser that has some improvements of debatable worth that break the old way of doing things entirely.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      As a user of multiple computers (work, home, friend's house), I use del.icio.us and the Firefox plug-in for it, and all my bookmarks are stored in a database that I can access from any computer. That's superior to this new "improvement".


      The Places system is designed (among several other objectives) to facilitate synchronizing Firefox bookmarks with remote storage systems.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)

      I use del.icio.us and the Firefox plug-in for it, and all my bookmarks are stored in a database that I can access from any computer.

      That's all well and good, but what do you do on the day that del.icio.us inevitable goes offline, perhaps forever? OK, maybe it won't, but do you really want to trust all your data to a remote service that basically operates at their own whim?

  • SQLite is brilliant (Score:4, Interesting)

    by athloi (1075845) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:19PM (#19271393) Homepage Journal

    This lightweight, fast, simple database eliminates many of the headaches associated with using a full-on SQL installation, and works just as well for most of what most developers and users need.

    If you're a Perl geek, like me, you will find this Perl module for seamless SQLite interface [cpan.org] to be a power tool. The next time you need to get something working by morning, and it's 2am and the person "in charge of databases" hasn't called back, you'll be thanking it.

  • So instead of having a nice simple bookmarks.html file it is all in some places.sqlite file. A few questions/observations.

    1) If this is correct, disappointing that the devs called the bookmarks file places.sqlite instead of bookmarks.sqlite so people know where the bookmarks are if you want to move them. Am I correct?

    2) Is this new file now no longer human readable the way bookmarks.html?

    3) Someone please tell me how this makes my life better as a normal Firefox user? Sure sounds like change for change s
    • 1) If this is correct, disappointing that the devs called the bookmarks file places.sqlite instead of bookmarks.sqlite so people know where the bookmarks are if you want to move them. Am I correct?

      Since "Places" integrates, among other things, bookmarks and history, calling it "bookmarks.sqlite" would be misleading to a certain extent; since the feature in Firefox 3.0 that combines those prior features will be known as "Places", I think "places.sqlite" would be a natural name.

      2) Is this new file now no long

  • Native Mac UI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:26PM (#19271503) Homepage Journal
    It's also worth noting that native form controls for Mac OS X were enabled yesterday [wordpress.com], something Firefox's Mac users have been clamoring for since the 0.x days.
  • by nsebban (513339) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:53PM (#19271925) Homepage
    Firefox users want a browser that displays webpages. A browser that is fast. A browser that doesn't hog the whole computer's resources. A browser that never leak hundreds of megabytes after an hour of usage.

    Adding a whole new bookmarks system is nice, but does the user-base need it ? Or at least does it need it more than it needs a stable and fast browser ? I honnestly don't think so, and I'm sad seeing Firefox going farther and farther from it's initial goals as an Open Source project :(
    • by dvice_null (981029) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:15PM (#19272309)
      > Firefox users want a browser that displays webpages. A browser that is fast...
      > Adding a whole new bookmarks system is nice, but does the user-base need it ?

      You obviously are not a programmer who understand xml parsing and knows SQLite very well. Well as I happen to be such a programmer, let me just tell you that I can pretty well guarantee to you that switching to SQLite will make the browser faster. Most like it will also decrease the amount of needed memory.

      Reasons for this:
      - SQLite is very light database. Basicly it is just component that can be used to write and read a file, but searching a certain element(s) in the file is very fast compared to normal read methods.
      - Reading xml files or similar, as the current bookmakrs.htm file is, is very slow and it requires a lot of memory. This is because you first need to parse the html tree and after that you will get the actual data from the file. It is very good if you have only few items in the file, but if you have thousands bookmarks like some people do, it will get slow.

      So basicly they are just removing the bloat and making the browser faster.
  • Autoexport to HTML (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iabervon (1971) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:13PM (#19272291) Homepage Journal
    The thing I don't like about this change is that bookmarks.html is the ideal homepage. It's a web page that's stored locally, has no ads or extra junk, and has a list of links to the things that you personally want to get to regularly, updated automatically. The biggest thing I missed when I used Konqueror for a while was that it couldn't render its bookmark list in the browser window. Of course, it should be easy enough to have an extension generate a nice file from the bookmark database every time it changes.
  • Snappy Firefox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:18PM (#19272363) Homepage Journal
    I hope it makes a small leap backwards. Ever since a couple of weeks before fully upgrading to Ubuntu 7.04, when I run Evolution 2.10.1 and Firefox 2.0.0.3, after a few hours (or maybe a lot of GUI and HTTP events), some combo memory leak fills my 512MB RAM and starts crazily swapping. I have to kill both apps and restart them, recovering their sessions.

    Even if they just had watchdogs that could restart and recover session state, they'd be more useable.
  • Failure? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Leroy_Brown242 (683141) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:15PM (#19273357) Homepage Journal
    Has firefox completely failed to meet it's original goal if I am contemplating a bribe to some developer friends to compile a stripped down version of firefox so it doesn't use so many damned system resources?

    Left running for 24 hours, with google homepage and gmail up, I am looking at about 1GB of memory used.

    This just does not seem reasonable to me, but I'm a minimalist.
    • gmail leak (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bunratty (545641) on Friday May 25, 2007 @06:04PM (#19276523)
      Ah, memory leaks when gmail is open. Now maybe we can discuss an actual, confirmed memory leak for a change. Of the six reported leaks with gmail [mozilla.org], four are fixed in Firefox 2.0.0.3 and two seem to be Firefox 3 only. If you can still reproduce a memory leak with gmail up in Firefox 2.0.0.3, you should file a bug report [mozilla.org] to make sure the problem gets addressed. A browser using 1 GB of memory after a day of use certainly isn't reasonable. It sounds like a problem that should be fixed ASAP. Filing the bug report, including a set of steps to reproduce the problem, is the first step to getting it fixed.

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