09.04.09 - 11:11am
We’re very happy to announce the availability of Fennec Alpha 3 for Windows Mobile. There are lots of great features and fixes included in this release. You can find the release notes here and a cab installer here. Personally, I’m turning off my iPhone to switch to a Windows Mobile device with Fennec.
The first thing you’ll notice is the improved start up time. Brian Crowder took Vladimir Vukicevic’s original dabblings for Firefox on Windows CE and produced a cross platform fast start daemon for Mozilla. Stay tuned to his blog for a post I’m going going to nag him to write about it. One caveat is that this faster start up time doesn’t take effect until after you reboot your phone (hey, this is Windows after all).
The next thing you’ll probably notice is the much improved panning. We’ve implemented a tile cache rendering system (much like you see on google maps) that allows us to cache previously rendered content and avoid duplicating the work. This has also allowed us to switch over to native scrolling surfaces which has greatly improved panning performance. Roy Frostig goes into much greater detail on this in his blog post on the tile cache.
Also helping out panning performance has been Robert O’Callahan’s compositor work, which reduces the amount of native widgets we have to deal with when rendering or scrolling and a change to keep track of the invalidated regions ourselves rather than rely on the system do it.
But wait, there’s more! If you’re running a phone other than the HTC Touch Pro, you’ll notice we now support a wider range of screen resolutions through the use of CSS media queries, which really show’s the power of our XUL based front end. And if you are running on the Touch Pro, go a head and run your finger around the edge of the directional pad. That zooming you see is the result of Alexandru Cristei’s work to support the touch sensitive directional pad on HTC’s Touch phones.
There is plenty more work to do (after all this is an Alpha release), but in writing this blog post I realize just how much progress we’ve made since Alpha 2. I hope you’ll give it a try, put it through its paces and enjoy. Oh, and file bug reports.
Update: There is now a shortened url for the cab installer bit.ly/wma3cab