Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) planned features draft

As Firefox 3 approaches its grand debut this next Tuesday, for Mozilla developers it means the end of a development cycle and the start of another. Firefox is the tentative name for the next relatively minor update to the Firefox 3 branch, which is most likely to become Firefox 3.1.

A very early draft of planned features reveals that as expected, this release will be mainly about landing stuff that didn’t make it on time for the Firefox 3, along with the usual performance, stability and security bug fixes.

Visual tab switching and tab searching/filtering were both tried for Firefox 3, abandoned for other more critical features, and are being considered for 3.1. Ctrl+Tab, a extension developed by Dao Gottwald implements both of them displaying a thumbnail of the opened tabs when pressing Ctrl + Tab to switch tabs.

It also modifies the List all tabs tab bar button to show tabs thumbnails you can search.

Ctrl+Tab, compatible with Firefox 3, is available at Mozilla Add-ons if you want to try these features.

Places would also receive several improvements like integrating the downloads history in the Library as it was planned for Firefox 3, so you could define smart folders of downloaded files. Regarding smart folders, the interface for advanced queries (like multiple criteria) that was available in the first betas and pulled back for performance concerns, would also come back.

Options for bulk tagging bookmarks and tag autocomplete are also being considered.

Add these to previously announced support for <video> tag, cross site Ajax requests, more power for the location bar, and some recently added support for CSS 3 selectors (which will improve Firefox score inthe Acid3 test), and we can already foresee an interesting update.

Following the tradition of using places as Firefox code names, Firefox 3.1 has been named Shiretoko after the Japanese national park.

Features in Firefox 3.1 should take about six weeks to implement with the rest of the time (the rest of the year) dedicated to polishing and testing. A first alpha is already targeted for mid July, just a month after Firefox 3.

Users are welcomed to join the discussion.


  1. Carter June 13, 2008 9:07 am 

    Will Aero support in Vista be introduced in 3.1 or is that slated for Firefox 4?

  2. Firefox 3.1 New Features June 13, 2008 3:06 pm 

    [...] about few upcoming Firefox 3.1 features. Good news, there are more details about them. According to Mozilla Links, visual tab switching (CTRL+Tab) and tab searching/filtering will be added to Firefox [...]

  3. SuneG June 13, 2008 3:42 pm 

    The Ctrl+Tab extension is a step in the wrong direction. Why would you want to look at thumbnails of the pages, when you can see the whole pages while flipping through them?
    Looking forward to the video/audio elements.

    • Owen June 13, 2008 7:14 pm 

      I completely agree.

      They should focus on other points such as native synchronization and the other features catching the eye of geeks checking out the new Opera.

      Or even just keep making the browser faster. Opera still beats it in terms of most speed scores according to lifehacker!

    • Mirek2 June 13, 2008 8:23 pm 

      I also agree. I hope Mozilla doesn’t go the Ctrl+Tab direction.

    • Rioting_pacifist June 14, 2008 10:07 am 

      Perhaps a default packaged extention but defiantly an extension

    • Matt June 25, 2008 1:08 pm 

      what firefox really needs to do though is fix these bugs they have in their final release of firefox 3.0. the final release is worse than their rc3. firefox rc3 completed page downloads quicker, it didnt have to be refreshed to work with live scores in games or anything like that. im very disappointed in firefox 3.0 right now and wished they wouldve just called rc3 their final release rather then destroy their browser. they seem to do this with each major release though. for some reason every final rc seems to be better than their final major release. i always thought the final release was supposed to be the finished product not worse off then the rcs.

      • AhJey June 28, 2008 3:24 am 

        I do agree!
        One of the theoritical superiority of Open Source Software is to not be contingent of the usual corporate contigencies, like artificial deadlines.

  4. June 13, 2008 4:37 pm 

    Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) en camino…

    Ni siquiera se ha lanzado la versión 3 de Firefox, cuando la Fundación Mozilla ya está planeando una nueva versión (Shiretoko) de su aclamado navegador. Via…

  5. Roberto Mateu » Blog Archive » We are never satisfied with the current version. June 13, 2008 5:13 pm 

    [...] Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) planned features draft – Mozilla Links While the concept looks kinda nice, I’m still not convinced that this is a useful approach. I do think that Mozilla’s mobile concept of “infinite space” is much more useful as we continue to open more tabs simultaneously. [...]

  6. Karlosak June 13, 2008 5:42 pm 

    I scream NO! Such a drastic UI change should be left for an extension. The FF core should only consist of features benefiting the majority of users. In the case of Ctrl+Tab I’m quite doubtful… If it’s implemented as is, then the point release would bring a fundamental UI change bigger than the whole FF 2.x -> FF3.x transition.

    • Owen June 13, 2008 7:37 pm 


      As great as it is, it should be left as an extension. Build on the core!

  7. Pete June 13, 2008 6:12 pm 

    I’m just happy that Ctrl-Tab implements Most Recently Used behavior. That’s the most annoying stock “feature” of Firefox…when every other ctrl-tab or alt-tab implementation takes you to the previously selected item if you only hit it once. Firefox was the only thing I’ve seen that just blindly cycled through the tabs!

    • Mirek2 June 13, 2008 8:24 pm 

      Actually, I like the way it is. I hope Mozilla keeps it that way…

  8. antistress June 13, 2008 8:48 pm 

    List all tabs tab bar button is not good in Firefox 2/3
    The current GUI shows 2 similar buttons that are too close and then bring confusion : one for showing other bookmark from personal bar, the other for showing other tabs from tab bar.
    The suggested List all tabs tab bar button with filter and thumbnails could be a solution.

    Ctrl+Tab is useless

  9. antistress June 14, 2008 4:43 am 

    Since Linux desktop now has Compiz/Beryl effects like Expose for Mac, it seems obvious to me that the tab concept was a transitional idea.
    Tabs were efficient when desktop were not good at handling windows.
    At present time GNOME with Compiz Fusion has Expose, and GNOME allows to rearrange buttons in the Windows List.
    Therefore, GNOME (for instance) has at less the same level of functionalities than Firefox to manage several application windows.
    Then it doesn’t need anymore tabs because tabs doesn’t allow Expose to work.
    Implementing Expose in Firefox like the suggested extension does is a loss of time : user don’t need to have the same functionality duplicate in several software with several way to launch it.
    To my mind, having today Firefox running without tabs still allow that in a more cleaner way since the desktop alerady implements that.

    Tabs was a great idea when desktop were not good at managing multiple windows. Now it’s just useless

    • Rioting_pacifist June 14, 2008 10:04 am 

      Speak for yourself, even when using compiz, which on older computers means i couldnt use Firefox because both use plenty memory, Tabs allow for much better handling of webpages than wasting precious windowlist space, which has to have all of my ‘tasks’ while tabs allow for each ‘task’ to handle more information.

  10. Jigar Shah June 14, 2008 6:58 am 

    +1…leave Ctrl+tab for extension. Focus on performance of places. Its too slow. clicking on folder is really slow on linux. FOCUS ON CORE. 3.1a passes 78 ACID 3 tests. just few more to pass.

  11. June 14, 2008 7:13 am 

    Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) planned features draft – Mozilla Links…

    As Firefox 3 approaches its grand debut this next Tuesday, for Mozilla developers it means the end of a development cycle and the start of another. Firefox is the tentative name for the next relatively minor update to the Firefox 3 branch, which…

  12. little girl June 14, 2008 8:50 am 

    “It would branch from the Mozilla2 code“

    so does this mean Firefox 3.1 will use Mozilla 2 instead of Mozilla 1.9.1?

  13. Matt June 14, 2008 10:22 am 

    Who has SO MANY tabs open that they need to SEARCH those tabs? I mean, at work I see people with a good dozen programs open at any given time, but I just can’t imagine this being a useful feature until someone has about twenty tabs open. I suppose if you have, for example, five wikipedia articles, you could search for the one you want to go to. But I agree with people, this seems like fluff. Although, I would much rather see Mozilla working on features for the core than for a separate developer to make an add-on. Think of how many add-ons significantly slow down firefox because they’re not optimized and think of how many bugs they have (not to mention the sea of apps that get abandoned around version 0.3 or 0.4).

    • orz June 17, 2008 11:01 am 

      I don’t close Firefox unless I restart my computer, which is about once every other month, and I don’t close any tabs unless I’m sure I don’t need them. This results in well over a hundred tabs. Being able to search them would be fantastic.

      • kyle.m December 24, 2008 2:08 pm 

        Indeed. I almost always have 20+ tabs open, and I would love to search through them. I don’t understand why everyone is complaining about this feature. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s not going to impede your browsing in any way.

  14. Gyrobo June 14, 2008 4:11 pm 

    Having the “List All Tabs” button display a thumbnail view of all the tabs may be useful, but the tab switching behavior is what kills Ctrl + Tab for me. I’ve tried the extension and found its tab switching behavior disorienting.

  15. Mozilla desarrollando el nuevo Firefox 3.1 | June 15, 2008 1:53 pm 

    [...] básicamente ha terminado el desarrollo del Firefox 3.0 y la empresa ya está empezando el desarrollo del Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko), en la que seguramente nos encontraremos mejoras que no ha podido ser implementados en el Firefox [...]

  16. Garret June 15, 2008 7:07 pm 

    Firefox 3.1 would not pass acid 3, it’s hopeful for Firefox 4 – i guess…

  17. Joop ter Beek June 15, 2008 7:46 pm 

    I’m sorry for the inconvenience. This afternoon I get the announcement of non compatible with firefox but I did not copy and paste the announcement. So I try again with the intention to copy and paste and send to you but surprise to me and probably not to you it is installed as i should be.Again a reason shout it all around use firefox and throw away …… you know

    greetings from Joop

  18. Weekly Links #5 | June 16, 2008 12:08 am 

    [...] Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) planned features draft Wow, Firefox 3 is not even out the door and they are already looking at plans for 3.1 [...]

  19. Jigar Shah June 16, 2008 3:47 am 

    currently 3.1 passes 78 tests against 71 for 3.0 …thts great…all the best

  20. Anonymous June 16, 2008 2:36 pm 

    Wow, I’d love to see that implemented. Finally, ctrl+tab becomes usable!

  21. Firefox means party time « June 17, 2008 10:40 am 

    [...] named after a Japanese national park. Some nice features are in there, make sure to check ‘em out [...]

  22. none June 17, 2008 2:08 pm 

    Scrolling through tabs in “most recent” order is obnoxious unless you only have 3-4 tabs open and remember what order you visited the tabs in. If you have 20-30 tabs open, it is completely pointless trying to remember. And for those who think that is too many tabs, think of them as temporary bookmarks. I don’t need them bookmarked long-term (when’s the last time _you_ cleaned out old bookmarks?) but would still like to have them available for the next few days.

  23. GeekScribes - Firefox 3 Final: The Review June 17, 2008 6:35 pm 

    [...] in Firefox 3 as compared to 2.x versions. And guess what? Mozilla developers are already eyeing Firefox 3.1, expected by the end of the year. Now, if only add-ons developers could provide updates to their [...]

  24. Firefox lança nova versão - e já pensa na próxima | Pauta do Dia June 17, 2008 7:38 pm 

    [...] Finalmente… depois de inúmeras versões beta, hoje é o lançamento oficial do navegador Firefox 3.0 – ele estará disponível para download, daqui a algumas horas, no site O programa é resultado de quase dois anos de trabalho, e vem cheio de novidades legais: barra de endereços inteligente, novo sistema de bookmarks, novo visual, mais velocidade, mais segurança. Vale a pena instalar. E a evolução não pára. Os criadores do Firefox já estão desenvolvendo a próxima versão, 3.1, que deve chegar até o final do ano. [...]

  25. rkphil June 17, 2008 9:02 pm 

    Agreed, I often have 15+ tabs open but I think icons and even a portion of the title left visible in the tabs is enough to move around usefully. A ‘display all’ key is only useful with many more tabs, and by then the thumbnails would have to be so small as to make it pointless anyway. Seems like a waste to me and something I’d want to remove quickly. Loved the awesome bar though, maybe you could just incorporate it into that? So if a tab is already open, it would be prioritized in the drop-down and clicking it would switch tabs.

  26. Firefox 3 is Out | June 22, 2008 1:37 am 

    [...] the folks at Mozilla are already working on plans for Firefox 3.1 (Shireteko), expected later this year, and doing some initial preparation for version [...]

  27. netster007x July 2, 2008 3:34 am 

    I’d really like to see tabs cover the window as thumbnails to preview. I honestly can’t imagine searching tabs, however when using IE, I’ve always found the quick tabs useful for cutting unnecessary tabs. Yes, even when I only have 5 tabs open.

  28. Browsersphere » Blog Archive » nth-child Support in the Major Players July 12, 2008 3:39 pm 

    [...] is a first alpha targeted for release at the end of this month, since that particular release is meant to include a slew of CSS support geared toward Acid3 compliance.  Furthermore, one can hope nth-child support will show up in IE8, but that may be the least [...]

  29. Ender November 7, 2008 8:29 am 

    lol…. ctrl+tab is wrong way… ctrl tab sux… ctrl tab is must be an extention….

    come on guys…. if they add it, it’s because people ask for it…

    if you don’t like it… just don’t use it….. realy don’t see where is the trouble… how use 100% of firefox possibility ??? I don’t

    so why don’t simply let this feature used by those how love it, and use what you love in FF ?

    don’t remember that all FF user are NOT computer specialist, and add on are great, but build-in, feature are realy cool for “new” users.

    I use Maxthon right now, and realy realy wait for 3.1 ^^, but in maxthon, many feathere are build in, everyone can use it realy simply without having to add 10 add at least, dont forget it is for all public ^^

    (and sory for my english, I’m frenchy :p)

    • Restarter November 21, 2008 3:17 pm 

      Now started using 3.1beta2pre release. the Ctrl+ Tab feature (tab preview) is cool but is so SLOOOOW on my computer
      the list all tab button was the easiest way to find the tab u want , without scrolling through the tabscroller, now they have replaced it with a new button for tab preview U now know how much i hate this said ‘new feature’ of FIREFOX

      Now i remember why i switched to firefox when it was 0.8 version “the fastest browser in the world”
      now it is definitely not….. it is definitely going in the wrong direction with their new additional features slowing it down

      By the way any body here know how to restore the list-all-tabs button in the right side
      ie drop-down-list feature to list all open tabs

      NB: there is a search button in the tab preview panel . i always wanted it at the top of all-tabs-dropdown list.

  30. Ibod Catooga January 5, 2009 11:57 am 

    Firefox has become irrelevant as it has become the tard browser.

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