Firefox 3.5 hits general availability

Mozilla's latest browser features a speed boost and HTML 5 capabilities

Mozilla fired another shot in the browser wars today with the release of Firefox 3.5. The browser, which was previewed before going to the Release Candidate stage, was driven by quality instead of a timeline, according to the company.

The focus for this version of Firefox is speed. Vlad Vukicevic, tech lead for the Firefox project at Mozilla, says that "the main significance [of the browser upgrade] is that Firefox 3.5 is really, really fast."

[ Firefox 3.5's speed boost lines up nicely with Google's push for a faster Web. | InfoWorld's J. Peter Bruzzese compared Firefox 3.5 and IE8 side by side. ]

Aside from the speed boost, Firefox 3.5 also boasts HTML 5 capabilities for handling audio and video, and a JavaScript performance and stability boost courtesy of the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.

In a nod to data security concerns, the browser will include a private browsing mode, in which Web site visits are not recorded or saved, and for developers, Mozilla is including CSS enhancements and the HTML drag-and-drop API. Enterprises will be able to customize Firefox 3.5 via the Build Your Own Browser program.

Mozilla no doubt is hoping Firefox 3.5 will help reverse the company's falling browser market share; on June 16, Firefox's market share was 21.4 percent, down from 22.51 percent in May, according to Net Applications.