New Features and Improvements for Firefox Beta Ready for Download and Testing

Mozilla

Firefox for Android Beta

Firefox for Android Beta is ready for download and testing. The latest update to Firefox for Android Beta helps users share content quickly and easily.

      • Support for WebRTC: Firefox for Android Beta includes WebRTC components that enable developers to easily integrate real-time communications across the Web. The components DataChannels, PeerConnection and GetUserMedia enable the Web with Real Time Communication capabilities including video calls and file-sharing between browsers. Developers can now begin to experiment with WebRTC experiences on Firefox for Android.
      • New and improved Reader & Reading List:
        • The updated Reader includes a redesigned formatting menu that allows users to toggle between Serif and San-serif fonts.
        • In Reader, Firefox for Android Beta can automatically switch to “dark mode” (dark text on a light background) or “light mode” (light text on a dark background) depending on the level of light in the room. Users can also manually switch between these states.
        • Users can now long-tap the reader icon to quickly add an article to their Reading List without switching to Reader first. All Reading Lists can be accessed offline.
        • Firefox now makes it clear when Reader is on or off by changing the URL bar to orange when Reader is on and grey when Reader is turned off.
      • NFC Bump: Share Firefox tabs with another NFC-enabled Android phone by “bumping” them together. NFC must be powered “on.”
      • Quickshare: Quickshare creates a space in the Share menu from a list of sharing services available on the user’s device. For example, email, SMS, social, etc.
      • Firefox for Android Beta adds support for Catalan-Spanish, British-English and Swedish languages bringing a great Web experience to more than 24 languages.

Firefox Beta for Windows, Mac And Linux

  • Browser Console: Firefox Beta for Windows, Mac and Linux includes an updated Browser Console for developers. The Browser Console allows developers to inspect the browser’s logs (rather than a content page’s logs) and is especially useful for Firefox Add-on developers. Developers can filter by log type (net, css, security, js, and misc. logging) or perform free text search through the logs. This replaces the existing Error Console.

For More information:

Mozilla’s Heartbeat & Quarterly Firefox OS Releases

Alex Keybl

Mozilla and the community have been on a roll creating new products and evolving existing ones. We now release multiple browsers across a multitude of platforms, including

  • Firefox – three desktop pre-release channels alongside our shipping version for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows (soon with a redesign)
  • Firefox for Android – compatible with thousands of phones and tablets, also shipping to four channels
  • Firefox ESR – sometimes with two supported releases overlapping at once

All of these products share a single platform, Gecko, and collectively release to hundreds of millions of users almost exactly every six weeks. Like a well-practiced choir, we synchronize our technical and organizational heartbeat around releases. This heartbeat enables us to push a unified vision across the entire web, keep our users regularly delighted with new (many times cross-platform) functionality, and prevent any one product from lagging behind in security updates.

You may have heard that we recently added a new product to the litter, Firefox OS. To put it bluntly, the project as a whole has been an incredible undertaking but we’ve finally pushed our v1.0 out the door with the help of our community and partners.

Unlike our desktop/mobile releases, we’ve had to do go even further than delighting our users. We’ve also had to juggle the timelines and requirements of all of the OEMs, carriers, and chipset manufacturers that we’ve partnered with. These new variables lead us to standardize on Gecko 18 for our first two major releases of Firefox OS. It made us “skip a beat”, but for all the right reasons.

Now that we have our v1.0 behind us and we’re moving forward with even more partners, we’re going to do our best to bring Firefox OS back into our heartbeat and will make quarterly feature releases available to partners along with six-weekly security updates for the previous two feature releases. As far as I know, that’s the most aggressive mobile OS release strategy out there (and may still require some tweaking).

This sort of alignment across multiple browser products, and now an OS, is unprecedented at the pace we’re moving. Keep it up, Mozillians.

Firefox for Android Beta includes Improvements to the Awesome Bar and Awesome Screen

Mozilla

A new update to Firefox for Android Beta is ready for download and testing.

Firefox for Android Beta includes new features and optimizations to the Awesome Bar and Awesome Screen to help get you to where you want to go on the Web quickly. The Awesome Bar automatically hides while not in use, to make your entire small screen available for browsing. Simply pull down the Awesome Bar from the top of the screen when you are ready to use it again. The Awesome Bar in Firefox for Android Beta also includes domain autocomplete, which will complete your URL destination as you type. Firefox for Android Beta is currently the only browser that supports this autocomplete function. Switch to Tab lets you easily find and switch to any open tab from your Awesome Screen without opening duplicate tabs.

Firefox for Android Beta lets you change your default search provider directly from the add-ons manager. To change your default search provider, visit the Add-ons manager, and long-tap on an installed search engine. This brings up a dialog where you can either “Disable” the search engine, or “Set as Default”.

Firefox for Android Beta includes an updated RSS feed reader to create a simple way to subscribe to an RSS feed. You can subscribe to RSS feeds in either My Yahoo! or Google. If you go to any page with a discoverable RSS feed and long-tap on the Awesome Bar, you will be given the option to “Subscribe to Page”.

Firefox for Android Beta adds support for Turkish and Hungarian locales bringing Firefox for Android to more than 20 languages worldwide.

For more information:

Calling all Developers – Integrate your App into Firefox Beta with the Social API

Mozilla

Developers interested in integrating their website or service into the Firefox Social API are now able to do so.

New in Firefox Beta:

  • Share: Firefox Beta adds a “Share” button and panel to the Social API. This feature enables developers to let users share content with friends in one click. Facebook users can use this functionality to share content (like news articles, images, videos or links) with their friends and family directly from the Firefox toolbar.
  • Mixed Content Blocker: The Mixed Content Blocker protects the integrity of secure (HTTPS) website by blocking nonsecure (HTTP) content from loading and hence prevents attackers from being able to read or modify the secure page.
  • Network Monitor: For developers, the Network Monitor breaks down individual website components, highlighting how long it takes for the components to load to help you pinpoint problems.
  • Optimizations for Firefox on Mac OSX 10.7: Firefox Beta supports bounce behavior when reaching the top and bottom of pages and support for the new scrollbar style for Mac OSX 10.7 users.

Finally, with Firefox Beta, we are happy to introduce a fresh, redesigned Firefox logo. The new logo has a modern feel and has been created specifically with mobile in mind – optimized to be crisper and cleaner on small screens and lower resolution devices. The new logo will be rolled out more widely in the coming weeks. More information on the new logo and the Firefox logo evolution can be found in this post from our awesome creative team.

More information:

Social API for All

Mozilla

Firefox Beta is taking the next step in making the Firefox Social API available to all Web developers.

Last year, Mozilla partnered with Facebook to develop and introduce the Social API. Earlier this year, we continued to refine the feature and extended that support to additional providers. The Social API is exciting because it offers users a way to interact with websites and Web apps in richer ways – it makes them more than “just a tab”. We’ve always thought these capabilities should be exposed to all websites, and in Firefox Beta, we’re making that a reality.

Firefox allows any website to prompt users to activate and make use of the Social API toolbar buttons, sidebar, chat windows, panels, notifications, and a brand-new Social API feature: the share panel. The activation mechanism is dead-simple, and makes it easy for users to enable these features directly from your website with only a couple of clicks. For developers, hooking into the API couldn’t be easier: social panels and sidebars just load URLs on your website, where you have full control over how things look and work.

We’re going to continue to improve the Social API documentation that you can find here. Stay tuned for future posts with more information about how to best make use of the Firefox Social API!

- Gavin Sharp, Lead Firefox Engineer

New Firefox OS Videos Highlight How HTML5 Gives Developers Freedom to Innovate without Boundaries

Mozilla

As we move closer towards the launch of the first consumer Firefox OS phones, more and more developers are eager to find out what developing apps for Firefox OS entails and how they can get started.

We’ve created a series of short videos to whet developers’ appetite, and make it easier for them to get up and running developing apps.

The first video, entitled “Firefox OS for developers – the platform HTML5 deserves”, is posted here on our Hacks blog. It features Open Web Advocate, Daniel Appelquist from Telefónica Digital / W3C and Mozilla’s Principal Developer Evangelist, Christian Heilmann, as they discuss the freedom HTML5 offers app developers and some of the first steps to take to start innovating with Web apps and publishing them to the Firefox Marketplace.

We hope you find the first installment helpful and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Look out for more videos to follow soon – enjoy!

Test all WebRTC Features in Firefox Beta

Mozilla

The latest Firefox Beta is ready for download and testing and includes includes WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) capabilities to enable developers to easily integrate real-time communications , including voice and video calls and file sharing, across the Web.

  • WebRTC: Firefox Beta includes WebRTC components that enable developers to easily integrate real-time communications across the Web, whether on websites or mobile web apps. The components DataChannels and PeerConnection along with GetUserMedia enable the Web with Real Time Communication capabilities including video calls and file-sharing between browsers.
  • OdinMonkey: Firefox Beta includes OdinMonkey, an asm.js optimization module for Firefox’s JavaScript engine, that allows developers to deliver gaming performance that rivals native speeds without the need for plugins and enables developers to create visually compelling and fast gaming experiences on the Web. Together with Epic, Mozilla recently showcased this by porting Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 to the Web and demonstrating Epic Citadel running in the browser.
  • HiDPI support for Windows: For Windows users, Firefox Beta includes HiDPI support. Firefox Beta now follows Windows’ display scaling options to render text larger on high resolution displays.
  • Web Notifications API: Now developers can create simple notifications for Web apps using this Web Notifications API. With the notifications API, developers can alert Firefox Beta users to a specific event, such as a new email or Tweet.
  • Font Inspector:  The Font Inspector allows developers to see what fonts are being used on a specific Web page, to make adjustments or matches based on the type of design. The Font Inspector displays the font with editable “Abc” placeholder text, names the typeface and shows the @font-face CSS.  The Font Inspector allows developers to visualize font usage for the selected element and it supports pages that use the new web fonts.

For more information:

Firefox Beta now includes WebRTC on by default

Mozilla

Earlier this year, we announced that getUserMedia was the first component of WebRTC to be enabled by default in Firefox and following this we announced WebRTC interoperability with Chrome. getUserMedia allows camera and microphone stream capture.

Now the latest release of Firefox Beta includes the remaining WebRTC components, PeerConnection and DataChannels, on by default. PeerConnection allows the Firefox browser to set up real-time audio/video calls, and DataChannels allow browsers to share almost any kind of data (text, video files, html pages) peer-to-peer, either during or outside a video call, for example, by dragging an item into a chat window. DataChannels are used today to reduce latency in real-time games by allowing gaming apps to connect peer-to-peer. And with WebRTC now on by default in Firefox Beta, developers can test WebRTC much more widely than before because Firefox users won’t have to enable WebRTC in their preferences.

In upcoming releases you can expect to see:

  • TURN support — which enables two WebRTC end points to connect even when the NATs at both ends would otherwise cause the call to fail
  • Audio/video improvements
  • Android support

To test WebRTC now, you can download Firefox Beta here and refer to the WebRTC page on MDN. We’re pleased to turn WebRTC on by default in Firefox Beta and look forward to seeing what innovative apps developers create with it.

Maire Reavy
Product Lead, Firefox Platform Media

Firefox, Heal Thyself

Johnathan Nightingale

This week’s release of Firefox includes the beginning of a pretty cool feature. The Firefox Health Report is a new system we’ve built to log basic health information about your browser (time to start up, total running time, number of crashes, &c), and then give you tools to understand that information and fix any problems you encounter. The initial report is pretty simple, but it will evolve and grow in the coming months. You’ll be able to use it as a window into many aspects of your browser’s performance and health, both in absolute terms, as well as in comparison to the global Firefox user base.

We’ve blogged before about how we’ve built the health report with privacy in mind and what our plans for it look like, but our long term hope for the feature goes well beyond the report you see today. As the health report uncovers patterns of problems in Firefox, we can build better support information for our users. In many cases, we will be able to detect these problems before they get out of hand, and your browser can start healing itself. The health report is enabled by default in Firefox but, if you don’t want your browser health information added to the pool, you can disable data sending either from the report itself, or from the Firefox preferences window.

Firefox already protects and heals itself in numerous ways (automatically blocking insecure and unstable plugins, restoring tabs and content after crashes, detecting phishing and malware sites before they can attack) and the Firefox Health Report gives us a powerful new tool. If you’re curious about what’s going on under the hood, you can find the health report in your Help menu. If you’re not, rest assured that we’re fascinated by this stuff, and we’ll use it to make Firefox the smoothest, fastest, most excellent way for you to live your life on the web.

Johnathan Nightingale
Vice President of Firefox Engineering

‘Epic Citadel’ Demo Shows the Power of the Web as a Platform for Gaming

Mozilla

At the 2013 Game Developers’ Conference, Mozilla demonstrated how it was unlocking the Web as a platform for gaming by announcing a port of Unreal Engine 3 running in Firefox — compiled from C++ source with Emscripten, running smoothly and efficiently without the need for plugins.

Today, Epic and Mozilla are making the Epic Citadel demo available, so that you can try it out for yourself. For best results, we suggest using a newer version of Firefox Nightly (Firefox 23 or better) which includes optimizations for asm.js and support for Web Audio API. The demo will also run in Firefox 20 (the current released version) because the core technologies are just standard web technologies, but there will be some performance degradation and a lack of Web Audio-dependent audio effects. The demo will also work in other browsers but it heavily depends on the quality of the WebGL implementation, memory management and JavaScript engine.

To achieve the performance that makes these advancements possible, Mozilla developed asm.js, a highly-optimized subset of JavaScript that enables Emscripten-compiled applications to reach near-native performance.  This baseline performance enables developers to create visually compelling and fast gaming experiences on the Web.  With this technology, the Web simply becomes just another target platform for developers.

If you’re a games developer and want to learn more, please visit the new Mozilla Developer’s Network Games landing page, which we’ll be expanding in the coming weeks. The Emscripten project and information about asm.js are also useful if you’d like to take a look at what it would take to port your own games or other apps.

For a quick snapshot of what you’ll see in the Epic Citadel demo, here’s a video (now in 1080p), as well as some gameplay footage from the unreleased “Sanctuary” demo.

Enjoy!