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Firefox 3.0 Makes Leap Forward 401

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 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?
  • 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.
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:55AM (#19270975)
    Hmmmmm, 285Mb with 2 windows and 2 tabs open. Only 18Mb shared too, which isn't a good sign for our multi user machines.

      4331 me 15 0 285m 67m 18m S 1.7 3.4 0:27.10 firefox-bin

    I don't know, is it windows guys developing it these days?

  • Re:Bring it on... (Score:5, Informative)

    by oldmacdonald ( 80995 ) <johnasmolin@aim.cCOLAom minus caffeine> on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:03PM (#19271123)
    The refresh blocker [] extension might be what you're looking for.
  • by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:03PM (#19271137)
    It's a very lightweight C library which basically enables "on the ground" SQL queries and such. No client/server mechanisms to worry about, no middleware (other than sqlite.dll, and even then you can just take the source and compile it in), and the security of the database is handled by security permissions on the file. That's right, "the" file. A single file contains the schema and data.

    It fully supports transactions and is appropriately ACID. For someone who's had his Firefox bookmarks hosed before, this is very welcome for me.

    The benefit of this will [hopefully] be fully searchable bookmarks and easy to move the bookmarks around to other computers.

    I've used it in the past and it's been great for me. Check it out: []
  • by richwklein ( 767820 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:04PM (#19271157) Homepage
    SQLite is developed for embedding so it is miniscule (less than 250KiB). It was already included in Firefox 2.0 so it does not add any size to Firefox 3.0. It also allows for some interesting ideas that are being played with for the new release, like site annotation and full text indexing.
  • by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:05PM (#19271177)
    Oh, and, it's fully cross-platform public domain, too. The database file is also equally portable. ^^-b
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:06PM (#19271187)

    Ok someone give me details on this "SQLite database engine" please.

    Details [].

    I don't know anything about SQLLite but will this add any bloat/performance issues/etc the firefox 3.0?

    SQLite by itself, I imagine, won't. How much else they do with it may or may not.

  • Re:When? (Score:5, Informative)

    by JimDaGeek ( 983925 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:08PM (#19271231)
    SQLite [] has this name because it is... lite! It has a very, very small footprint. By your comment, I can tell you have never used it. I have. It is designed to be small and easy to embed into an app with out requiring a bunch of resources.
  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:13PM (#19271305) Homepage Journal

    But what does "lite" mean.
    Well according to the SQLite homepage [] it means that the entire database engine fits inside of 250KiB fully configured, or less than 150KiB with optional features removed. That seems pretty light to me. If you're concerned about the impact of 250k of memory then you probably have a lot of things you should be worrying about before SQLite inclusion...
  • Re:When? (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:15PM (#19271345)
    According to that page, the DB uses 0.25MB for its code alone. That's not lite.

    Assuming Firefox is already 10MB (which isn't that far off) that increases the size by almost 3%, which is not insignificant. Especially when you realize that's leaving off all the bloat that will be included by code that uses a SQL database for bookmarks instead of something sane like a flat file.

    They're bookmarks - that's a list of strings. Or at least, should be a list of strings.
  • Re:When? (Score:4, Informative)

    by althea19 ( 1084593 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:17PM (#19271369) Homepage

    They're apparently embedding a fucking SQL DATABASE into Firefox 3. Given that SQL databases are not exactly known for being light-weight
    Because of course SQLLite isn't a light-weight SQL DB library or anything..
  • Re:When? (Score:5, Informative)

    by JimDaGeek ( 983925 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:27PM (#19271515)
    You think a SQL db that only takes up 250K is significant? Geez, what do you have like 4MB of memory? The SQLite DB is already in FF 2. So it will not add anything to FF 3. However, the bookmarks will now just take advantage of SQLite, which they currently do not. This will give you plenty of ways to sort your bookmarks and store more info for each bookmark. For example, in FF 2 you can give a bookmark a keyword. This way you can just type that keyword and go to that URL. I use can type "/." and press enter and get to /. with no clicks. I have a lot of keywords setup for my most used bookmarks. Bookmarks in FF are more than just list of strings. They have a URL, name, keyword and description. One big problem with bookmarks in FF 2 is the inability to sort properly. FF 3 should fix that now that FF 3 will be able to use Order By to sort how the user likes.
  • by blindd0t ( 855876 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:27PM (#19271523)
    Have you ever used a Linux music player such as Rythmbox or Amarok? These use SQLite, and do exceptionally well with dealing with a sizable database. Basically, SQLite is what MS Access was *supposed* to be in terms of a portable database file format, but instead it is a very good, successful implementation.
  • Re:When? (Score:4, Informative)

    by adiether ( 615494 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:37PM (#19271661)
    How do you know it has memory leaks? Seriously, have you done a exhaustive memory profile? Opening a few webpages, closing them, and looking at MemUsage in the task manager before and after is hardly conclusive. Of course, I am assuming you are doing this, but if you have concrete data, please share. I can leave Firefox running for weeks averaging 50+ tabs at all times.
  • Re:When? (Score:5, Informative)

    by JimDaGeek ( 983925 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:46PM (#19271823)
    I have never had my profile corrupted with Firefox. I use Firefox on WinXP, OS X and Linux and keep my profile in sync with Google Browser Sync []. However, if your profile does get corrupted, the bookmarks file should be fine since SQLite supports standard RDBMS constructs to keep the file from being corrupted. Since SQLite uses a regular file (like Access, but much, much better), you can just copy it to where ever you want as a backup.
  • by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:51PM (#19271913) Homepage Journal

    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 they had to export their bookmarks, then re-import them. Converting from the old structure to Places was, I think, automatic, but converting the other way hadn't been anticipated.) So they've had another year to work on it, and presumably they're confident that it's stable enough and fast enough now.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @01:47PM (#19272881)
    This is even done automatically, the bookmarks.html will be kept in sync with places (but not the other way round).
  • Reuters uses javascript to refresh and refresh blocker only nukes the META tag type of refreshing. The combination of refresh blocker [] and noscript [] does the trick here.
  • Re:When? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:26PM (#19273553) Journal
    I'll have a binary blob that I can do NOTHING with.

    There are many easy to use tools for working with SQLite files.

  • Re:Thank you! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:30PM (#19273607)

    But now the new GAIM/Pidgin comes along and, oh, hey, guess what? You can't configure it to use control-enter to send any more!
    Sorry to go off-topic here, but you can configure that, it just isn't internal to Pidgin. You have to use a .gtkrc file instead. On the Windows computer I'm on now, it's "c:\Documents and Settings\Name\.gtkrc-2.0". The file should look something like this:

    gtk-theme-name ="MS-Windows"

    binding "custom-keys"
    # enter inserts a newline
    bind "Return" { "insert-at-cursor" ("\n") }
    # send message
    bind "<ctrl>Return" { "message_send" () }
    bind "<shft>Return" { "message_send" () }

    widget "*pidgin_conv_entry" binding "custom-keys"
  • Or another long-standing bug: Firefox's apparent inability to print layered transparent PNGs, such as the type used for the route-line overlay on Google Maps.

    Seriously, go try it. At least on OS X, you don't even need to print, you can just hit the "Preview" button from the Print dialog, when looking at a Google Maps "print view," and it'll show you the route-line-less (and therefore pretty damn useless) map that it's about to print. It does the same thing on any other page that uses overlaid transparent graphics in layers.

    It's well known and extremely annoying, but apparently the FF devs don't care about printing bugs []?

    It's unfortunate, because it just makes FF seem very much 'unfinished' when, in order to print a map from one of the more popular sites on the Internet, you have to use an alternate browser. The same thing works just fine in Safari on Mac OS X, or IE on Windows.

    They need to stop adding new features and fix some of the bugs that have been around for months or years.
  • Re:When? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobertLTux ( 260313 ) <robert@lauBLUEre ... .org minus berry> on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:36PM (#19273723)
    what you are missing is
    1 the sqllite engine is already present
    2 they are yanking out the older crusty Mork/Xml/Vhatever code
    3 they are using this to simplify things and enable cool things like throwing your bookmarks online (obsoleting the 12 bazillion bookmark sync extensions)
  • Re:Got NoScript? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:44PM (#19273845)
    Firefox 3 includes a cycle collector [] to handle these memory leaks in extensions, as well as some remaining memory leaks in Firefox itself.
  • Re:When? (Score:4, Informative)

    by LighterShadeOfBlack ( 1011407 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:45PM (#19273873) Homepage
    Well I don't know about memory leaks but the Downloads dialog is a fucking disgrace to efficiency. Download 50 or so things and the entire programs slows very noticeably.

    I remember a few years back when I first upgraded to a version of Firefox/Firebird/Phoenix (forget what it was called at the time) which used the Downloads dialog and instantly the whole thing slowed to a crawl. Why? Because I'd never cleared my downloads cache before and the brand new Downloads dialog had about 2000+ entries in it. I think simply opening the dialog took a couple of minutes and the Clean Up took about five minutes. All for what is essentially just a listbox! God knows what would happen if they ever tried to make the Downloads dialog useful by doing crazy things like telling you when a download failed to actually download anything.

    OK, rant over. I like Firefox for the most part but that has really pissed me off for a long time. Glad I finally got that off my chest.
  • Re:When? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pootie Tang ( 414915 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @02:55PM (#19274039)
    You can also use "%s" in conjunction with keywords which makes them even better.

    bookmark keywords []

    I use this all the time. For example "flix clerks" will do a netflix query for me. I use this even with google and have the search engine box disabled in the UI. Because the cursor location defaults to the url area when opening a new tab/window, I find this easier (you don't get the history of search terms like with the search box though, I'm not sure that's always a bad thing).

    I see a word I don't know? double-click word, copy, cntl-t, d space, paste, enter - bam, it's very quick and I only use the mouse to select the word.
  • Re:When? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Matthieu Araman ( 823 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @03:15PM (#19274301)
    Places still writes the bookmark.html file.
    It just doesn't read-it anymore (but you can tell it to import it back if you like)
    BTW, sqlite stores everything in one file so nothing is really changed
    if you wan't to save, you just have to copy one file
    if you wan't to move/copy you profile, it's just a file to copy
    it will be much more robust, powerfull and allow new things to be done.
    also the sqllite code is stable and field tested by hundred of projects so it's a very good idea to reuse it instead of using some mozilla only solution.
  • Re:So how long... (Score:4, Informative)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @06:38PM (#19276971) Journal
    IE never skipped a version. IE 1.0 came with the Windows 95 Plus! Pack.

    Screenshots of IE versions 1-7 []
  • Re:When? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JimDaGeek ( 983925 ) on Friday May 25, 2007 @07:16PM (#19277465)
    I guess you don't know anything about an embedded DB? SQLite makes "sacrafices" for the sake of low footprint/performance. For example, SQLite, treats all fields the same. Where a normal RDBMS would do checks to insure data type, SQLite, skips those things for speed/footprint.

    Before you "cry wolf" over some technology being put into Firefox, why don't you read up on it? Hell, SQLite has been around for a long time. The feature-set is well known. Oh, and if you are using Firefox 2.x, well, guess what, SQLite, is a part of Firefox 2.x.

    And you whole "point" about using a relational DB to store "flat data" is just silly. Firefox keeps a lot of info about a bookmark. That has to be stored somewhere.

    Since SQLite is already a part of Firefox 2.x and since there have been no problems with the SQLite in Firefox 2.x, it seems safe to say that Firefox 3.x should keep SQLite and actually take advantage of the great SQL support.

    I would love to be able to sort my Firefox bookmarks with no hassle. However, that is not currently the case.

    Bitching about some technology that you do not understand is pretty chee-see IMO.

    With that said

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