December 21, 2011

Mozilla speeds up Firefox 9.0 with a lion interface

Though Mozilla's Firefox has been overshadowed of late by competition from Web behemoth Google's Google Chrome browser, you can hardly say the totally non-profit and of course completely free software developer is sitting still. With a new technology called "Type Inference," Mozilla has sped up JavaScript performance in its New Firefox 9 Web browser by over 35 percent, as demonstrated by several industry standard benchmark tests.

The new release of Firefox, which was announced today on the Mozilla Blog, also adds better support for Apple's latest desktop interface, Mac OS X Lion, including support for two-finger swipe gestures and a more Lion-like interface design.

Firefox 9 throws many features for Web site developers too. Their sites can now deliver large amounts of data to the browser using its support for "chunking XHR requests, allowing Web sites to display content as it’s downloaded instead of waiting for the entire download to complete," the post in the blog said. Developers can also use JavaScript to query the user's Do Not Track preference, while the release provides improved support for CSS (especially for text overflow conditions), HTML5, and MathML.

In preliminary testing, the new browser version posted speed gains on the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, Mozilla's own Kraken benchmark, and Google's V8 benchmark. The improvements amounted to 9 percent, 32 percent, and 36 percent, respectively.

With this release, Mozilla has also updated Firefox for Android. New for the mobile browser is tablet optimization for landscape and portrait orientation. Thumbnails now appear alongside the screen for each open tab, and swiping is supported. Users can also add site bookmarks to their Android home screen for app-like access.

A new Action Bar menu lets Android users access Firefox Preferences, Add-ons, and downloads. It also sports back, forward and bookmark buttons, according to the blog post.

Finally, the Android version of Firefox 9 lets sites access the mobile device's camera and supports HTML5 Form Validation, "which automatically validates Web site form fields like numbers, emails and URLs without developers needing to write a custom code or use a third-party library."

It's anyone's guess as to whether Firefox will be able to stem the onslaught from Google, but it clearly won't be for lack of constant improvements from the Mozilla team. You can try out Firefox 9 for yourself and into enter into life of high speed Web, by heading to the Firefox download page. The New Version are available for Windows 7, Vista, and Windows XP; Mac OS X and Linux in dozens of languages. The Techbay | All Rights Reserved.

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