Firefox 3.6 finally hit its first beta milestone during the weekend, so those of you who were holding off until a more mature build of the upcoming browser became available will be glad to know this is it, no more test candidates or nightly builds needed.

We've been closely watching the development of Firefox's next iteration which brings a long list of additions and refinements to the popular Web browser. After a small developmental setback, Beta 1 arrives highlighting the following new features:

  • Users can now change their browser’s appearance with a single click, with built in support for Personas
  • Firefox 3.6 will alert users about out of date plugins to keep them safe
  • Open, native video can now be displayed full screen, and supports poster frames
  • Support for the WOFF font format
  • Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness and startup time
  • Support for new CSS, DOM and HTML5 web technologies

Since the release of Google Chrome, a lot more focus has been put on browser's speed, not only by Mozilla but all major players including Microsoft. While I still consider Firefox the best all-around browser out there (in good part thanks to the numerous useful add-ons available), I've been experimenting severe slowdown problems on JavaScript heavy pages, whereas even Internet Explorer seems to behave just fine.

Other additions should appeal to a variety of users, depending on what you like to do with your browser. Personas support lets you skin your browser instantly, in fact you can preview Firefox's modified looks by merely hovering over the different styles available. Video support continues to be enhanced on the browser, while developers will be keen about Web Open Font Format (WOFF), HTML5 and CSS' new features support.

Last but not least, Firefox 3.6 Beta will likely break a majority of your current add-ons, however, if you are lucky you should still be able to override compatibility and put them to use regardless.