Mozilla has implemented some big under-the-hood changes in the latest Firefox 22 browser release. The open source software firm says it has now “conquered” the challenges that prevented the web browser being capable of being a “powerful platform for complex tasks”.
The biggest changes in the new Firefox browser release are regarded to be; “WebRTC is now enabled by default” and “asm.js optimizations (OdinMonkey) enabled for major performance improvements” among a long list of other additions, changes and security fixes. TechCrunch reports that amongst all the other updates in this latest version of Firefox, these two changes “have the potential to change how developers create web apps”.
WebRTC will allow developers to build web apps which support audio, video and file sharing functions, all without the need for any third party plug-ins. Now this feature is in a regular release version of Firefox we should see more such apps being produced. Google’s Chrome also supports this standard and IE is expected to follow.
Asm.js is a subset of Java which can be compiled and run in this new Firefox release at a speed approaching half that of native code. However the strict coding standards and sparse syntax of asm.js are said to make it relatively difficult to work with. Nevertheless asm.js opens the possibility of bringing “high-intensity applications, like 3D games and photo processing, directly on the Web without having to install additional software or use plugins” says the official Mozilla Blog. The practical application of this functionality was demonstrated previously in an Unreal Engine 3 demo.
Mozilla optimistically concludes its blog post announcement by saying “We are excited about the possibilities that these new technologies bring to the Web and can’t wait to see what amazing experiences developers will create”.
Get the latest updated version of Firefox now by navigating to the Help>About Firefox menu (it’s about a 12 MB download for Windows users), or if you don’t have Firefox on your computer already you can get it from here.