Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

What to expect in Firefox 1.1

Although after the release of Firefox 1.0 I stuck with the official build for quite a while, for the past few weeks I’ve been back onto nightly trunk builds. These are the development builds that will ultimately form Firefox 1.1 when it is released this summer.
In a week’s time, it will have been 6 months since the release of Firefox 1.0, so what has happened to the trunk since then? I’m going to use this entry to give an overview of the work that has been done over the past 6 months and the work that is still pending but will also make it into 1.1.

  • Support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open format for drawing vector graphics in a web browser. Opera 8 also supports this.
  • New, easier-to-use Options dialog that also looks better on Mac OS X. Includes major improvements to how downloads are handled.
  • ‘Sanitize Firefox’ – an easier way to clear history, cookies, saved passwords etc., including the ability to sanitize when the browser is closed.
  • Speed improvements, especially when a Firefox profile is stored on a network drive since the interface and web page caches can now be stored separate from the profile (see this blog post).
  • Improved handling of extensions (see this blog post). Bad extensions may also be blacklisted (see Wiki entry).
  • Improved update system, which should mean that security updates can be delivered in patch form. An upgrade from 1.1 to 1.1.1 should no longer require downloading the full version all over again.
  • Support for installation using Windows Installer on Windows, which should aid roll-out in enterprises.
  • Better rendering of web pages, including the infamous Slashdot bug.

This probably isn’t everything so if I’ve missed something important let me know in the comments. In any case, even with just the above new features, Firefox 1.1 is going to rock.


  1. Please give us a better autoscroll for 1.1, the current implementation simply sucks (jerky,wierd and slow) and it’s annoying for lots of users.

  2. Neil, any recommended stable nightly that you think I should try? I have been too “safe” for too long…I need the bleeding edge again!
    Also check out the trackback that I just sent…some thoughts on what the Firefox update system needs to be successful.

  3. Update System news

    Firefox 1.1 should be getting some big improvements in its update system according to and Inside Firefox. A hint at what is coming our way includes binary patching (no more 4 MB security updates) and background updates.

  4. The speed updates sound good, Firefox takes forever to load on the university computers.
    msi install would be wonderfull, especially if it will let me silently import a user’s IE bookmarks, cookies, history and homepage.
    Patching isn’t an issue for my main PC – I only ever update my main desktop through the Gentoo installer. If patches will work better with heavily modified installations of Firefox though then that would be fantastic.
    SVG I’m also looking foward to – my copy of Firefox on Gentoo attempts them but fails, and I do regularly use them when on a Windows machine with Internet Explorer.

  5. Regarding the “Better rendering of web pages, including the infamous Slashdot bug”:
    Could you provide a bug # that covers this? I really like to know if this is about the sluggish scrolling on some webpages (like

  6. I wonder if firefox will pass the Acid2 test then?

  7. In the “better rendering of web pages” category you missed CSS counters, the start of a CSS column implementation, massive speedups in DHTML, and probably a whole bunch of other things I’m forgetting. It’s been a full year, not just six months, since there was a Firefox release with a current Gecko…
    As for SVG, note that what Opera supports (SVG 1.1 Tiny) and what Firefox supports (an incomplete attempt at SVG 1.1 Full) are very different beasts (partly due to the differences between the specs and partly due to the lacunae in Firefox’s support). So don’t expect to write some semi-complicated SVG and have it work in both browsers… yet.

  8. Emil: I think Autoscroll is unchanged (certainly it is thus far). It’s quick enough on my machine though.
    Chris: Yesterday’s 20050502 was alright – only major bugs are theme installation not working and new tabs occasionally not opening when doing Ctrl+Click. This includes the MSI install (alongside .zip and .exe), SVG support and some of the speed improvements.
    Firebob: The Slashdot bug is the one that made the left side panel overlap onto the contact area.
    Ben: There is the intention for Firefox to pass Acid2. Here is the tracker bug but it hasn’t been set a target for any future release. It may make it into 1.1 but I’d say it is unlikely.
    Boris: Thanks. Would be nice if there was some consistency…

  9. I’d also say it’s unlikely Acid2 will work in 1.1. With a bit of luck it will for 1.5 though.