Chrome and Opera Optimize for Mozilla-Pioneered Asm.js


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.


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


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


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


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


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 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


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.

Guest Browsing and More Customization Options in Firefox for Android Beta


Firefox for Android Beta is ready for download and testing. This update features UI improvements and guest browsing, which enables users to seamlessly share Firefox on their mobile device with friends and family. Firefox for Android Beta also features new developer tools like remote debugging and SkiaGL performance improvements, making for a faster and better Web experience.

  • Guest browsing: Guest browsing lets the owner of an Android device log out of his or her current Firefox session (effectively protecting history, bookmarks and open tabs) to enable a guest user to surf the Web on Firefox. When the guest is done, he or she simply selects to end the session, and the browsing data from that session will be deleted. From there, the device owner’s session is restored.
  • Set wallpaper images and contact photos: Users set any image as their wallpaper or assign it to a contact directly from the Web page they are viewing. Simply press and hold the desired image to bring up the Context menu and select “Set image as” to customize your device with an image from the Web.
  • Update to Settings menu: The Settings menu has a new look that makes it easier for you to customize  Firefox. The menu now groups similar settings together under categories like Sync, Customize and Privacy, so users can configure their Firefox settings more intuitively.
  • Added locales:  Firefox for Android Beta is now available in 27 languages worldwide with added support for Ukrainian, Irish and Romanian locales.
  • Mixed Content Blocker: The Mixed Content Blocker protects the integrity of secure (HTTPS) websites by blocking nonsecure (HTTP) content from loading. This prevents attackers from being able to read or modify the secure page.
  • Page actions support: Add-on developers can designate a “quick-action” to the user experience via an icon on the Firefox URL bar. This addition enables users to quickly tap into the functionality of their favorite add-ons, regardless of where they are on the Web.
  • Remote debugging: The Remote Debugger for Firefox for Android Beta lets developers debug web pages through the same Firefox Developer Tools used in Firefox desktop, making developing on Android that much easier.

For More Information:

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


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.