It’s that time again. Version 23 of Firefox has been released on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. You may already have it but, if not, choose Help > About Firefox or download it from getfirefox.com. Let’s stroll through the new features list…
A New Logo
The Firefox logo has evolved to become flatter and less shiny:
Is it an improvement? Do you care? It looks less defined on the Windows 8 taskbar but I won’t lose any sleep over it.
While it’s caused some controversy, I think it’s a good move. Developers and power users can still change the browser’s behavior, but novice users won’t accidentally stumble on potentially dangerous options.
Mixed Content Blocker
When visiting a page which has both HTTPS and HTTP content, a new shield icon will appear in the address bar and automatically block certain content such as insecure scripts. The user can override this behavior by clicking the icon:
HTML5 input range Type
Firefox is the last mainstream browser to offer support for the range input type:
<input type="range" value="50" min="0" max="100" step="1" />
It produces a slider control; no scripting or CSS is necessary!
Developer Tool Options
A new Options panel has been implemented which allows you to enable or disable tools, themes, chrome debugging and remote debugging. Click the gear icon in the top-left of the Developer Tools window/pane.
New Network Monitor
The Network Monitor (menu > Web Developer > Network) provides a view of all network activity. While this information had been available on the console, the new tool provides an easier interface which is similar to those found in Firebug and the Webkit/Blink Inspector:
There’s a small expand icon at the right-hand edge of the tool which allows you to analyze the headers, cookies, parameters, response and timings for each request in greater detail.
requestAnimationFrame is the modern alternative to
setInterval. It allows the browser to perform other tasks but runs a callback function the next time it’s free. While it can be called for any long-running processes, animation is the most likely use.
For more information, refer to Simple Animations Using requestAnimationFrame.
Blink has gone. That’s the tag and the
text-decoration style — not Chrome’s new rendering engine!
<blink> tag was evil. It alternated text foreground and background colors to create a migraine-inducing effect. Only GeoCities sites created 15 years ago will be affected.
As well as various security fixes, the desktop edition also includes…
- a simplified plugin installation interface
- a new share button for the social API
- search providers can be switched across the entire browser
- an improved about:memory profiler
- H.264 video decoding acceleration on Windows Vista, 7 and 8
- new scrollbar styling in Mac OS X 10.7+
and the mobile version offers…
- a new setting which shows URLs rather than the page title in the address bar (a personal irritation of mine)
- the toolbar is hidden when scrolling down
- basic RSS support (long-tap the address bar)
- a preliminary implementation of the Health Report
- various updates to Reader Mode
Firefox remains the browser of choice for many power users and web developers. It may have lost ground to Chrome, but Mozilla’s recent innovative updates are making Google look a little lethargic. The fox is biting back.
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.