How to Switch to Firefox 3.1 Beta 3?

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 is out for download now!

A word of caution: Firefox 3.1 beta 3 is meant for developers and early adopters who like not-so reliable software. If you don’t want to lose productivity with unexpected behavior, browser crashes, broken extensions, this article is not for you.

If you are still reading, you are like me. You can’t wait to try out the shiny new beta release for Firefox 3.1. It gives you tingles and you are used to living on the edge when it comes to browsers and extensions.

First, lets see the new features were introduced in Firefox 3.1 Beta 3.
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Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 New Features

I wrote about the Firefox 3.1 new features some time back and this beta adds more features to that list.

  • Based on the new Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform (work of past 9 months)
  • Significant improvements in web compatibility, performance and ease of use
  • New and improved Porn aka Private Browsing Mode – a popular feature from Google Chrome
  • Improvements to web worker thread support
  • Improved performance and stability with the ultra-fast Javascript engine – TraceMonkey
  • Support for new web technologies such as <video>, <audio> elements, W3C Gelolocation API, CSS 2.1 & 3 properties, SVG transforms and offline applications

How to Switch to Firefox 3.1 Beta 3?

I am assuming you have a little experience running different Firefox versions simultaneously. You can check out my post on How to Run Firefox 2 & Firefox 3 simultaneously to get an idea. This would apply to running Firefox 3 & Firefox 3.1 beta versions together as well.

  • I wouldn’t touch my current stable Firefox 3 install
  • If you have FEBE installed, run a good backup of your Firefox 3 install to a directory of yoru choice
  • Install Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 in a different directory (so you can delete it when the next version comes up)
  • Startup Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 with the -profilemanager -no-remote option like here
    Windows: C:\Program Files\Firefox31b3\firefox.exe -profilemanager -no-remote
    Linux: /u01/browsers/firefox31b3/firefox -profilemanager -no-remote
  • Disable extension compatibility check and update security check via about:config (WARNING: this could harm your browser/computer)
    • Type about:config in your location bar and accept the warning message
    • Right click somewhere and choose New->Boolean and enter a new entry extensions.checkCompatibility with value false.
    • Enter another entry extensions.checkUpdateSecurity with value false.
    • Restart Firefox
  • Install FEBE and restore preferences, bookmarks, extensions, themes, etc from yoru backup directory

Enjoy your new Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 install! Also, check out some of the top Firefox extensions you can try out.

Download Firefox 3.1 beta 3

Firefox Custom Search Engine List

On another note, I was very fond of OpenSearch Firefox add-on that lets you add any search field to yoru Firefox search Engines with a couple of clicks.

I just noticed in Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 that the OpenSearch plugin has been integrated into the Firefox code to some extent. I don’t see it working the same way but it provides web developers way to provide their website search to any Firefox 3.1 user to easily add to their list of search engines.

I will post a small tutorial on how to do this as I make a search plugin for ShanKrila and our other sites. Watch out for that.

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