A first look at Firefox 3.0
Mozilla has officially released the first public alpha build of Firefox 3.0. Codenamed Gran Paradiso, Firefox 3 includes the new Gecko 1.9 rendering engine which leverages the open source Cairo rendering framework and features heavily refactored reflow algorithms that improve Firefox layout functionality and resolve some long-standing CSS bugs. The reflow improvements in Gecko 1.9 (included in the latest Gran Paradiso nightly build, but not the alpha release) finally enable Firefox to pass the Acid 2 test, a CSS test case developed by the Web Standards Project to illuminate flaws in HTML/CSS rendering engines. To pass the Acid 2 test, browsers must comply with W3C standards and provide support for a wide variety of features that are considered relevant by web designers. The Acid 2 test has been passed by several other browsers, including Safari, Konqueror, and Opera, but not Internet Explorer. Passing Acid 2 is considered to be a significant milestone in Firefox development.
Sorry, I tried to grab only the important part of the article for the quote, but it’s still a bit of a long read. The short version is, the newly released bleeding edge (sometimes it will cut, aka crash, hard) Firefox v3.0 Alpha 1 finally passes Acid 2. This is a very cool thing for web developers in that it means Firefox v3 is on track to support all kinds of wonderful web standards and features, but it’s not completely rosy.
Ok great, so Firefox v3 will support these very cool standards/features, but, and it’s a HUGE butt but, this doesn’t mean anything important for the rest of the world. Sure, we can use these cool things, and anyone using Firefox v3 will be able to see and use them, but lets not forget who still holds roughly 90% of the browser market. Oh right, Internet Explorer 7, and it doesn’t even vaguely come close to passing Acid 2, and therefore doesn’t even remotely support any of these wonderful features we could use.
So, it’s a great step in the right direction, but it is virtually useless if the big time players don’t step up and move towards support all of the web standards.