01:29 PM

2.27.07 Firefox 3 promises offline web apps and more

It might not be Monster Garage, but at Mozilla, the geeks are under the hood, furiously remaking the Firefox browser into a souped up monster browser. According to InfoWorld, Firefox 3.0 will be released later this year with such features as offline support for Web apps.

From a platform perspective, FF3 will also be laying the foundations for FF4 and JavaScript 2.

So far, engineers have made Firefox work with Zimbra, an open-source email, messaging, and VoIP application. With a bit of code from Google and Microsoft, it would be possible to integrate with Gmail and Hotmail and other e-mail services.

To do offline support, engineers have overcome the hurdle of how to store data locally on the computer, VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer said. The feature will make it into Firefox 3.0, although the user interface is still under development, he said.

There are ideas for bookmarks - people should be able to display by popularity, for instance. Seems like a local version of delicious-style tagging still makes the most sense.

FF3 will include a SQL Lite database, which would allow features like full-text search of history, for example.

"The advantage of the database is that we can search your cache," Schroepfer said.

And FF4 will support JavaScript 2, a revamp of the language designed to make it easier for people with less coding experience to write Web applications.