Today the Mozilla mobile team announced the availability of Fennec Alpha 3 for Windows Mobile. The release brings lots of great features and fixes, including improved start time, panning, compositor work, and support for a wider range of screen resolutions. For more details, see Brad Lassey’s blog post, excerpted below, or see the release notes or a cab installer here.
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… 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.
As for what’s next, Brad notes:
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.