Released Friday afternoon was Mozilla Firefox Bon Echo Alpha 2 -- the second development milestone in the road to Mozilla Firefox 2.0, which is expected for a release later this year. In this latest Firefox 2.0a2 release, which is targeted solely at developers and testers, are quite a few prominent changes. Rather than simply providing screenshots or the release notes for this feature-filled release, we have independently examined most of the changes, and today at Phoronix we have some details to share in regards to these newly implement features. Whatever browser you may be currently using, Mozilla Firefox v2.0 is suiting up to knock out Internet Explorer 7 and Opera. Before we begin, for those not familiar with Bon Echo, it serves as the pre-release code name for Mozilla Firefox v1.2.x, and its name is taken from the Bon Echo Provincial Park. This naming is similar to Deer Park for Mozilla Firefox v1.5.x.
One of the twelve major changes in Bon Echo Alpha 2 is the addition of an inline spell-checker for text boxes. As can be seen from the image below, the spell-checker is applied to only text boxes, and not text fields or other forms of input. When we had investigated this feature ourselves, the spell-checker had worked appropriately with underlining miss-spelled words. There is certainly room for improvements with some areas of the spell-checker, such as preventing some URLs from showing up as a mistake. It would be interesting if the Firefox development team was to implement further features in the way of verifying or validating the correctness of URLs entered into these fields.
Yet another one of the somewhat helpful and unique features making its way into Bon Echo Alpha 2 is search suggestions now appearing in the search box auto-complete. This feature implementation is similar to the auto-complete methods for URLs based upon history, as well as traditional search fields. At this time, the search box auto-complete function is only compatible with the Google and Yahoo searches. Opening up the Google and Yahoo search plug-in XML files, there is a new tag created that is entitled SuggestionURL. The SuggestionURL simply is a URL to the respective search site, that is sent what is written thus far into the search box, and then that URL page returns an array containing the common search phrases matching that query. With Google, the most popular searches based upon the provided string are returned. For example, when entering P, Paris Hilton was the first result to appear, followed by a list of the other suggestions.