Firefox Release Cycle Extended by Two Weeks

Shannon Prior

Mozilla is closing our offices worldwide this holiday season to give our employees  nearly two weeks of rest from Dec 20th into the New Year. We want to ensure each Firefox is up to the quality you expect and to give our release managers, QA engineers and developers much needed time off, we’ve extended the release dates in 2014 by two weeks.

Rather than January 21, 2014, the next release of Firefox will be available on February 4, 2014. You can check on our release calendar for the new 2014 release schedule. We hope you’ll enjoy some down time over the holidays with your friends and families as we will.

We will still have updated Nightly Firefox builds daily if you’re interested in testing out some of our newest features.

Happy Holidays!

Calling Firefox Beta Testers: Create an Interactive HTML5 Game for the Holidays

Mozilla

Mozilla & Goo’s Game Creator Challenge
With the Game Creator Challenge, Mozilla and Goo are looking for budding game creators to show us their creative genius. The Game Creator Challenge is open to anyone, from those who’ve never created a game before to more experienced game creators and JavaScript coders. Games will be created using the Goo platform with the Goo Engine and Goo Create. We’ve got some amazing prizes including cash and trips to popular gaming conferences like GDC. Deadline for entries is January 14. Find more information here about how to enter, categories, judges and prizes.

Firefox Beta
Today’s update to Firefox Beta for Windows, Mac and Linux includes an update to the Social API that allows multiple social integration partners to send notifications at the same time. Prior to this update, users could only see notifications from the social provider they had indicated in their Firefox toolbar.

Firefox for Android includes support for Lithuanian, Slovenian, South African English and Thai locales.

More Information:

Firefox for Android Optimized for Devices that Support Intel x86 Chipsets

Mozilla

At Mozilla, we aim to bring an amazing Web experience to people everywhere. Over the last year we have worked hard to make Firefox for Android available to many more phones to ensure you have  a great Web experience on whatever device you use to browse the Web, wherever you are.

In that spirit, today Firefox for Android is now available on smartphones and tablets that run Intel x86 processors, bringing an intuitive, powerful and personalized experience to millions of devices worldwide.

We are excited that Firefox for Android is now available in the Google Play store for devices running x86-based, Intel Atom processors. Some examples of these phones and tablets are: the Motorola RAZR i, ASUS Fonepad ME371, Acer Liquid C1, Lenovo K900 IdeaPHone, and the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1).

Firefox for Android  is lightning fast on smartphones and tablets running Intel x86 processors and speeds up websites and apps that are  graphic-rich, like games. Using standard benchmarks for JavaScript performance testing like Octane, Kraken and Sunspider, a reference Intel x86 phone (the Motorola RAZR i) scored exceedingly great results.

Firefox is the intuitive, powerful and personalized browser that puts the power of the Web in your hands. Firefox for Android makes mobile browsing easy and has an intuitive design, the most powerful customization support of any mobile browser and leads the industry in pioneering privacy and security features like Do Not Track, Private Browsing and Guest Browsing. Firefox puts you in control of your Web experience with the ability to synchronize your browsing history, open tabs and passwords across devices.

For more information:

Chrome and Opera Optimize for Mozilla-Pioneered Asm.js

mbest

Browsers Join Firefox as approved for running Epic Citadel

Mozilla has been working hard to make asm.js as fast as possible in Firefox and progress has been really solid. Less than a year after Mozilla announced its port of Unreal Engine 3 to Firefox, two other browsers are now very fast on asm.js style code and provide a solid experience running the Epic Citadel demo. Mozilla and Epic Games announced the port of Unreal Engine 3 back in May 2013.

As of Chrome 31 and Opera 18, Epic Games has now cleared these browsers for running Epic Citadel in addition to Firefox. It is very exciting to see two more browsers optimize for this technology and expand the audience that can experience high performance plugin free game play directly in the browser using asm.js and WebGL.

According to StatCounter, these 3 browsers combined now represent over 60% of desktop browser traffic.

You still get the best performance in Firefox, but the other two browsers have done a great job closing the gap.

Evolution

Johnathan Nightingale

We spend more time in our browsers than we do in our cars. Many of us log more hours in a browser than we do in our beds. For a tool you use that much, ergonomics matter; design matters; beauty matters.

In the next few days, we’ll land a set of changes to the way Firefox looks. Internally, we call this change Australis. It might be the most carefully designed browser interface on the planet. We simplified it, but kept it powerful. It’s screaming fast, and it makes you faster, too. Some of the changes are immediately apparent, and some only reveal themselves if you look closely.

Beyond the improvements in visual design, though, we’ve also modernized our customization system. Firefox add-ons will still work as they always have, but the new customization system in Firefox will make it much easier to change the way Firefox looks and feels.

Our design team has written a great post about the work that’s gone in to every detail. We’re excited to show you what we’ve been up to; we hope you love it.

Johnathan Nightingale
VP Firefox

New Home Design in Firefox for Android Beta

Mozilla

We’ve redesigned the Firefox for Android startup screen to help get you to where you want to go on the Web quickly. The new start page, that we are calling Home, gives users quick and easy access to their browsing data, including top sites, history, bookmarks, Reading List and a powerful search experience. It is now displayed in a simple set of swipeable panels which provide a much more fluid way to browse the Web. Home is the first thing a user sees when starting a new browsing session, opening a new tab or tapping on the URL bar.Home-phones

Firefox for Android Beta includes new search engines Bing and Yahoo! in the United States, Canada and France to give users even more choice of search providers with their browsing experience. You can easily change your provider based on your search preferences from the Menu under “search settings.”

More Information:

 

 

Click to Play Plugins Ready to Test in Firefox Beta

Mozilla

Firefox Beta for Windows, Mac and Linux is ready for download and testing and includes a new security feature Click to Play and the Firefox OS app manager for developers.

New in Firefox Beta:

  • Click to Play Plugins: Firefox will no longer activate most plugins by default. When a site tries to use a plugin, the user will be able to choose whether to enable the plugin on that site. Outdated plugins are a big source of security vulnerabilities so this feature will ensure users are safe and Firefox runs smoothly. The Flash plugin will remain enabled by default.
  • Firefox OS App Manager: The app manager is a new tool available in Firefox Beta, which provides a number of useful tools to help developers test, deploy and debug HTML5 Web apps on Firefox OS phones and the Firefox OS Simulator, directly from Firefox.

More information:

Firefox OS Update (1.1) Adds New Features, Performance Improvements and Additional Language Support

Mozilla

Just weeks after the first Firefox OS phones hit the market, an update is being made available adding new features, support for a number of new languages and significant performance improvements. There have been hundreds of improvements added to Firefox OS, but we wanted to give you a brief overview of some of the highlights from this release:

  • MMS support: you can send and receive pictures, audio and video files via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service).
  • Push Notifications API: developers can make use of push to deliver timely notifications to apps and reduce overall battery consumption.
  • Adaptive app search is now front and center on the home screen, making it easier and faster to find the content you want.
  • Contact Management enhancements:
    • Gmail and Hotmail contact import: it’s now even easier to get your contacts onto a Firefox OS phone. We’ve now added the ability to import your existing contacts from either Gmail or Hotmail, in addition to the existing Facebook or SIM card import options.
    • Add to contacts: You can easily add any phone number or e-mail address to your contacts that is listed in your call log, SMS messages or e-mail. Simply long tap the relevant information to directly create a new contact or add information to existing contacts.
    • Dialer suggestions: Start entering phone numbers or names into the Dialer to quickly find a specific contact.
  • Performance improvements: Experience faster application load times and smoother scrolling
  • Firefox browser downloads: Save images, audio and video from the browser with ease
  • Keyboard improvements: Auto correction fixes words that you accidentally misspell.
  • E-Mail enhancements:
    • Draft Mode: Automatically save in-progress e-mails offline so you can finish and send them later.
    • Download audio and video attachments: Save audio and video e-mail attachments in addition to image files to your gallery.
    • Sending image attachments: Attach and send Gallery images directly within the e-mail application.
  • Music Search: Finding a favorite song is easy with the new music search functionality, simply swipe down from the top of the Music app to reveal a search bar and find music by artist, album or song title.
  • Calendar enhancements:
    • Direct event creation: Just tap on the desired time slot to create a new calendar event.
    • Calendar event reminders: Set reminders to be notified of calendar events.
  • Fourteen languages supported.

This Firefox OS update will be available for current users and on developer phones soon. For more details on how to purchase developer devices, visit MDN.

- Chris Lee, Director of Product for Firefox OS

Plugin Activation in Firefox

Mozilla

To give people a better Firefox experience, we’re changing the way plugins work. Earlier this year we talked about our plan for putting users in control of their plugins.  We are now seeing these plans take shape in the latest version of Firefox Aurora. To give people more control over their browser, Firefox will no longer activate most plugins by default. When a site tries to use a plugin, the user will be able to choose whether to enable the plugin on that site.

A plugin is 3rd-party software which is loaded into the browser to assist in rendering the Web. Even though many users are not even aware of plugins, they are a significant source of hangs, crashes, and security incidents. By allowing users to decide which sites need to use plugins, Firefox will help protect them and keep their browser running smoothly.

The one plugin not affected by this change is Flash, which will remain enabled by default. Flash content is so common on the Web, and many websites use “hidden” Flash instances that the user does not see and cannot click on: making Flash click-to-play would be confusing for most users. Users with older versions of Flash that are known to be insecure will see the click-to-activate UI and will be prompted to upgrade to the latest version. Our security and plugin teams work closely with Adobe to make sure that Firefox users are protected from instability or security issues in the Flash plugin.

When Mozilla conducted a user research study on the prototype implementation of click-to-play plugins earlier this year, we discovered that many users did not understand what a plugin was. Participants were confused or annoyed by the experience, especially having to enable plugins on the same site repeatedly. We redesigned the click-to-play feature to focus on enabling plugins per-site, rather than enabling individual plugin instances on the page. Advanced users who want to activate individual instances may still do so by installing a Firefox extension. We encourage people who want to try the new plugin experience to use the Mozilla Nightly or Aurora preview releases.

Plugins used to be an important tool for prototyping and implementing new features such as video and animation. As browsers have advanced, this kind of feature development can occur directly within the browser using technologies such as WebGL, WebSockets, WebRTC, and asm.js.  Mozilla projects such as pdf.js and Shumway demonstrate that plugins can be implemented within the Web platform.

Plugins are now a legacy technology, and not available on most mobile devices. Mozilla encourages website developers to avoid using plugins wherever possible. If there are plugin features which are not available in the web platform, we encourage developers to post their use cases to mozilla.dev.platform project list, so that Mozilla can prioritize web platform work to make those use cases possible.

- Benjamin Smedberg, Engineering Manager, Stability and Plugins

Help Test a Preview of Firefox Optimized for Windows 8 Tablets

Mozilla

Today’s Aurora update for Firefox offers our broad community of Mozillians, especially our global localization and testing communities, an exciting early look at the newest member of the Firefox family, designed and coded from the ground up for Microsoft’s Windows 8 Modern UI. Try it out now and share your feedback.

This touch-friendly version of Firefox has been designed to ensure people get the best browsing experience on their Windows 8 tablet. It has a tile-based Firefox Start experience and supports Firefox Sync, Windows 8 touch and swipe gestures, Snapped and Fill views, and Windows Share integration all delivered with a streamlined, modern and beautiful interface.

Because this new version of Firefox uses the same powerful Gecko rendering engine as in Firefox desktop, there’s also support for WebGL for compelling 3D graphics and asm.js which supercharges JavaScript in the browser, allowing developers to port high performance C++ games to the Web. Hardware accelerated full HTML5 video is also supported, including open video formats like WebM and proprietary formats such as H.264.

To test it out, first make sure that Firefox Aurora is your Windows 8 default browser. Then visit the Windows Start screen (if you’re on Windows 8) to locate the Firefox Aurora tile. Visit the All Apps screen if you’re on Windows 8.1 where you can locate the Firefox Aurora tile and pin it to the Windows Start screen. Find more details here.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be almost exclusively focused on improving performance and responsiveness.

This is still a preview and while most of the features are very nearly complete, we know there are bugs, so please help us test and share your feedback or file any bugs you find.