Back to the Firefox Trunk Builds!

Dec 31 2004

In a blog entry earlier this month, I compared the Firefox branch builds to the Firefox trunk builds (and concluded at the time that it was best to stick with the branch builds for now). Though the previous entry goes into more detail on the “branch” vs the “trunk”, here’s a mini-recap: the Firefox development team creates a separate copy of the codebase just before every major release; and, only low-risk bugfixes are applied to this “branch”. And, for a time after the Firefox 1.0 release, the “1.0 branch” was more stable than the trunk.

However, now that Firefox 1.0 has been released, they’ve merged the branch back into the trunk. and the trunk builds are good enough for daily use. And, as I generally run the Firefox nightly builds, I’ve switched back to the trunk. In doing so, I discovered a few rendering anomalies in some of my pages which I had written previously — it looks like some of the rendering updates to move Firefox closer to the spec revealed some deficiencies in my code.

In my case, the trunk builds applied some margin collapsing which I hadn’t anticipated (and which Firefox 1.0/branch didn’t reveal). I’ve since changed some “margin” properties to “padding” and all is back to normal. So, I would particularly recommend the trunk builds to developers to make sure that any code which they’ve written recently still renders as they had intended.

So, where to get a trunk build? They are available on the Mozilla ftp site. Or, you may find an optimized build to be a bit snappier — these 3rd-party builds are optimized for MMX or other processor-specific features and I find that they render pages noticeably faster than the stock builds:

After downloading a build, be sure to delete your Firefox directory before installing the new one; not to worry, your bookmarks et al won’t be lost as those are stored elsewhere. (Or, if you’re on a Mac, you would just need to delete the Firefox icon.)

Then, just uncompress the download; BlueFyre’s builds are released as .zips while Moox’ are self-extracting .exes. (Moox’ self-extractors automatically create a “Firefox” directory; so, for instance, if you wanted to install Firefox to C:Program FilesFirefox, select “C:Program Files” as your installation directory.)

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