Mozilla Release Firefox 22 With New Enhancements
June 26, 2013

Mozilla Releases Firefox 22 With Support For Web Calls, 3D Gaming

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Mozilla released Firefox 22 on Tuesday, adding support for the WebRTC protocol that makes it possible to place and receive Skype-like video calls from the browser and share live video, files and images with others.

Support for WebGL, Emscripten and asm.js JavaScript subset are also included in the new release, providing users with improved Web app performance.

Support for WebRTC and asm.js is particularly important because it allows developers to create Web apps with file sharing and built-in video and audio calls without the need for any third-party software or plugins like Adobe Flash.

"Plugins are the single largest source of security and stability issues that we see," said Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla's vice-president of engineering for Firefox, in an interview with CNET.

Asm.js – a Mozilla invention and a subset of the popular JavaScript language – works together with the Emscripten compiler to produce Web apps with near-native performance.

“Firefox allows developers to create amazing high-performance Web applications and enables video calls and file-sharing directly in the browser,” Mozilla said in a blog post.

“What has been difficult to develop on the Web before is now much easier, faster and more fun.

“With Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC), it’s easy to integrate these features into Web apps with just a few lines of code so developers can create more rich and interactive websites for people to experience across browsers.”

Mozilla also gave browser gaming a boost in Firefox 22 with the inclusion of OdinMonkey, an optimization module that enhances the performance of its JavaScript engine.

To demonstrate the technology, Mozilla partnered with game-engine developer Epic to port its Unreal Engine 3 – used by major game titles – to asm.js. The organization has also published a 3D first-person shooter game dubbed BananaBread to highlight the potential of browser-based gaming.

Other enhancements in Firefox 22 for desktops include better WebGL rendering performance, improved memory management when loading images, support for the Web Notifications API, which will let Web updates appear in browser tabs, a download progress bar in the Dock icon on Macs and support for display-scaling options on high-res Windows displays.

Although Firefox for Android 22 does not yet include support for WebRTC or ASM.js, Nightingale said it would “eventually.” Users of smaller Android tablets will now see the tablet version of the interface rather than the phone version.

Firefox 22 is available now at Mozilla's Firefox download page. The full release notes can be viewed here.