What’s New in Firefox 12 and Chrome 18

Contributing Editor

Firefox 12 was released on April 24 and Chrome 18 appeared on April 19. Did you notice? Put it this way — I hope you weren’t expecting a gaggle of ground-breaking new features. Unlike a few of the previous editions, the new updates from Mozilla and Google are largely maintenance releases and bug fixes. But there are a few gems to keep developers happy…

Firefox 12

If you have the irritating User Account Control (UAC) enabled in Windows, you should notice one fewer prompt during the update process. Firefox may not upgrade as quietly as Chrome but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

CSS3 developers can now adopt the text-align-last property. This defines how the last line in a block such as a paragraph is aligned. It’s ideal if you’re using text-align: justify but want to ensure two words which flow into the last line are aligned to the left.

If you often view the Page Source you’ll also be pleased to discover that line numbers are now available whether you have line-wrapping enabled or not. To be honest, I can’t believe it’s taken this long to add that feature!

Other minor improvements:

  • Line breaks can be added to HTML title attributes.
  • “Find in Page” centers the result on screen.
  • URLs pasted into the download manager window are automatically downloaded.
  • A selection of bug fixes including WebGL performance on some Mac hardware.

Chrome 18

If you thought Firefox 12 was a lightweight release, Chrome 18 is positively skinny. GPU-accelerated Canvas 2D has been enabled on capable Windows and Mac PCs. In addition, TransGaming’s SwiftShader software-based rasterizer has been included so 3D WebGL graphics can be viewed on older hardware.

Google has also addressed nine security vulnerabilities and paid $4,000 to the lucky bug hunters.

That’s it, though. There’s nothing more to see here — please move along. Perhaps IE10 will give me a little more to write about very soon…

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  • http://www.franboud.com Francis Boudreau

    Thanks for the info.
    You are right about line numbers : “I can’t believe it’s taken this long to add that feature!”

  • Barrie Wilson

    If you ask me about the Firefox update, i just think there playing the numbers game with this release to stay two steps ahead of IE10 and to sneakily catch up with Chrome18.

  • Pawel Czarnota

    “Find in page” centering of result – very useful!

  • Alexander Wern

    There is a universal rule to this. Even if it takes time to release something or not. One should ask when will the software or hardware reach its peak. its like hitting the wall of ‘evolution’. When you cant create anymore its good as it is. They release update, playing numbers game part also compatibality on new OS in future like W8 and new hardwire in future. But there is time when you reach the peak and who else have job creating broswers. Few years ahead if the release comes fast or slow what happens to the next generation children working in Information technology(IT) business. Thats prob why they slowly release things just to keep jobs flowting.

  • Ted Tullos

    Firefox 12 performs its updates without requiring elevation (i.e. not showing a UAC dialog) by installing a service. In basic terms, the service elevates the updater’s security token when requested. It is started manually by the updater so it does not consume system resources until an update is occurring. All binaries are checked for a valid Mozilla signature before being elevated in order to prevent abuse of the service.

    More details are published by Mozilla here: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/what-mozilla-maintenance-service

    If you are concerned about the existence of the service, it can be safely disabled without affecting updates — the updater will revert to the old behavior and request manual elevation.

  • binary

    “Find in Page” centers the result on screen – incredibly annoying feature/bug… Trying to find out how to disable it, as I just can’t get used to it.

  • foomonger

    Centering on find usually puts the text off-screen, at least in textareas (when the page has been scrolled, I need to hit F3 until I get back to the same result – and if there are many…)

    Also, this annoying feature/bug cannot be disabled.

    Chrome just keeps looking better and better.

  • http://gamesieuhot.com gamesieuhot

    chrome is still the No. 1 thank you, very useful article