The third Beta development milestone of Firefox 4.0 is now available for download. Mozilla is planning to announce officially the release of Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 later today, but early adopters and developers can already grab the bits and start testing.
With Beta 3, the pre-release flavor of the next major iteration of Firefox is available in no less than 34 languages, and brings to the table a variety of changes on top of the bug fixes that are inherent to the evolution from one development milestone to another.
An important new feature is related to the tailoring of Firefox 4.0 to Windows 7, and the operating system’s Natural User Interface (NUI), namely multi-touch capabilities.
“Web authors can now get touch events from Firefox users on Windows 7 machines,” Mozilla stated.
Essentially, starting with Beta 3, Firefox 4.0 will allow users running Windows 7 on touch-capable hardware to virtually get a “hands-on” experience for the open source browser.
“Experimental support for touch events is added in Gecko 2.0. These allow you to track the movement of the user's finger on a touch screen, monitoring the raw touch events generated by the system,” Mozilla explained.
“Although touch events are based on -- and work similarly to -- mouse events, each event includes an identifier that allows you to track multiple fingers moving on the screen at the same time,” the browser maker added.
Users should however be advised that Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 continues to be pre-release software, and as such plagued with various issues specific of a project still in development.
“This Firefox 4 Beta is considered to be stable and safe to use for daily web browsing, though the features and content may change before the final product release,” the browser vendor said.
“At this time many Add-ons may not yet have been tested by their authors to ensure that they are compatible with this release. If you wish to help test Add-on compatibility, please install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter - your favorite Add-on author will appreciate it,” Mozilla added.
Although the Beta 3 release can be tested in everyday browsing scenarios it is not recommended that early adopters deploy it in production environments.
Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 for Windows is available for download here.
Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 for Mac OS X is available for download here.
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