Arstechnica takes a sneak peek into the features of FF3. The fifth public alpha build of Firefox 3 has been officially released. The new alpha build, which is codenamed Gran Paradiso, features early components of the revamped Places system, a cohesive storage framework that will unify bookmark and history storage.
The current implementation of the Places system is still a work in progress, but the final version will support features like bookmark tagging, full-text indexing, extended metadata search, built-in syncing functionality, and support for exporting bookmarks in a broader number of formats. The Places user interface hasn't been developed yet, so there really aren't any aspects of the Places system that are visually apparent in the alpha 5 build. This alpha release primarily incorporates infrastructure elements of the Places system. In particular, alpha 5 migrates bookmark storage from the current XML data format to the SQLite-based MozStorage system. Bookmarks can now be found in the places.sqlite file in Firefox profile directories. Firefox 3 alpha 5 also features a new password manager. One of the most significant features in Firefox 3 is Gecko 1.9, a vastly improved Cairo-based HTML rendering engine. With support for Gecko 1.9 and the long-anticipated Places system, Firefox 3 promises to be a powerful and impressive release.