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Mozilla releases Firefox 4 beta 5

by Pete Mason on 8 September 2010, 12:38

Tags: Firefox, Mozilla

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qazxv

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As we progress down the slow road to the final version, Mozilla has posted the latest test-build of Firefox 4, bring the browser up to beta 5.

As with some of the previous releases, the developers are still busily including significant new features.  This week's addition is the long awaited inclusion of hardware-accelerated rendering in Windows 7. 

This means that the browser can use the Direct2D-interface to leverage the power of a video-card and significantly increase rending-speed.  While you're unlikely to notice any improvements in real-world usage, the beta seemed to handsomely outperform the latest version of Chrome in a few (unscientifically conducted) synthetic-benchmarks.

The other major new feature in this release is support for the Audio Data API.  These new tools have been developed by Mozilla to expand the audio tags that form a part of HTML5.   While the tags didn't previously provide for a way to write to or read data from an audio file, the new API allows exactly that.

This should allow web-developers to interact with media in even more interesting ways by creating unique elements using HTML5. Simple examples included code that could render the FFT spectrum of a piece of music as it was playing and a tone-generator that let users output to a file.

As ever, this build also includes the usual tweaks and fixes, as well as a few UI improvements for Windows Vista and 7 users.

Firefox 4 beta 5 is available now from Mozilla, along with the complete release-notes.  At least one more beta is planned, but the final version is steadily getting closer.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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The hardware acceleration makes the fonts render in a different way. Anyone else experiencing this?
Odc
The hardware acceleration makes the fonts render in a different way. Anyone else experiencing this?

I honestly didn't notice a difference, but then I don't use Firefox very often any more.
Odc
The hardware acceleration makes the fonts render in a different way. Anyone else experiencing this?

Yup… it's the DirectWrite font rendering. Same thing happens in IE9 preview.
Odc
The hardware acceleration makes the fonts render in a different way. Anyone else experiencing this?

Yeah it looks more like it does on my Ubuntu box, which is weird because i guess i was expecting the opposite due to the hardware direct2D rendering on windows, and the openGL rendering on Linux.

Immediately i have taken a dislike to the rendering, i'm looking for the option to turn it off but i'm not finding it. It occurs to me that although i see the benefit of rendering the pages when there is video/moving content on the screen, having it on all the time by default is perhaps not the best. Maybe i just need to get used to it.

It makes the entire screen look too bright, i want to modify my monitor brightness just for web browsing. :surprised:

Also what is with the red zit in the top left of the screen, the designer should be shot. It looks like a panic button. While on the subject i'm not sure i like the new menu design either, i guess they are going for the Windows 7 / Office 2010 compatible feel, which tbh Mozilla should hang their heads in shame for. Conformity in a web browser not to my liking, i don't want all my apps to look the same..

I don't like it. I just don't like it.:yucky:
PeteSmith
i don't want all my apps to look the same..

I've not used any of the betas, but if this makes the experience better or quicker, then I'm all for it.

Office 2007 and 2010 typifies that for me - some don't like it, but the vast majority of things are better or faster, so it works. It may take some others a while to get into it, but for me going back to use 2003 feels horrible and it takes multiple clicks just to get anywhere.

I don't care about Joe Average. I want an app that does things to the best they can be done, and if this helps, I'm happy to go through the pain process to get to a better end.