September 28, 2011
Mozilla Releases Firefox 7 With Faster Web Browsing
Mozilla released an update Tuesday to its Firefox Web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux, which the non-profit organization said offers improvements in performance and memory.
Firefox 7 manages memory more efficiently, while delivering a nimble Web browsing experience, the organization said.
“Users will notice Firefox is faster at opening new tabs, clicking on menu items and buttons on websites. Heavy Internet users will enjoy enhanced performance when lots of tabs are open and during long Web browsing sessions that last hours or even days,” Mozilla wrote in a blog posting.
According to a CNET report, the wide-release version of Firefox 7 comes with substantial improvements in reducing memory use by 20 percent to 30 percent, and sometimes as much as 50 percent.
Other changes include a new version of hardware-accelerated Canvas for faster HTML5 games and animations, and improvements for Web developers.
“New tools in Firefox make it easier for developers to build snappy Web experiences for users,” Mozilla wrote.
“A new version of hardware-accelerated Canvas speeds up HTML5 animations and games in Firefox. This allows developers to build more compelling and interactive Web experiences like Angry Birds or Runfield.”
“Firefox now supports the W3C navigation timing spec API so developers can measure page load time and website navigation against bandwidth speed, website traffic and other factors. This API allows developers to test user experiences remotely and easily and quickly optimize websites and Web apps for different types of users.”
The performance gains of Firefox 7 are the first public results of an internal Mozilla project dubbed MemShrink, which seeks to lessen the browser's system impact.
Mozilla plans to crowd-source its performance data to learn more about how Firefox performs in real-world environments, CNET reported.
Users who install Firefox 7 will be prompted to opt in to a new anonymous-reporting measure called Telemetry, which resembles, in part, security suites that use data anonymously to improve threat detection rates.
However, since Telemetry is an opt-in system, Mozilla won't be collecting data without permission, unlike security suites.
“To help improve future versions of Firefox, users can opt in to Telemetry. Telemetry is a tool built on Mozilla Privacy Principles that allows users to provide anonymous browser performance data in a private and secure way that they control,” Mozilla wrote.
Telemetry currently looks at usage, CPU core count, cycle collection times and startup speed. Interested users can install the about:telemetry add-on to see the personal statistics Firefox is gathering.
Users who have enabled Telemetry but would like to disable it can easily do so.
Firefox 7 for Android includes a number of changes, including the ability to select text in a Web page for copying and pasting and a new ℠Quit´ feature to force an exit from the browser.
Additionally, the WebSocket API now works on Firefox for mobile devices, and image rendering has been improved on Tegra-powered tablet devices and phones, CNET reported.
The browser will also auto-detect a system default language if it's supported, and includes a new preferences option that allows users to change the language displayed in the browser on-demand.
On the Net:
- Full release notes for Firefox 7 for desktops can be viewed here
- Firefox for Android release notes can be viewed here