The latest version of Firefox will enable games and other resource-hogging apps to "run faster than ever before in a web browser," Mozilla said Wednesday.
Firefox 52, launched yesterday, supports a new Mozilla-developed standard called WebAssembly, which promises to bring the performance of native applications to the web in a secure way. The result is that complex apps, like games, will load and run much quicker.
"We expect that WebAssembly will enable applications that have historically been too complex to run fast in browsers — like immersive 3D video games, computer-aided design, video and image editing, and scientific visualization," Mozilla's Nick Nguyen wrote in a blog post. Mozilla expects developers to use WebAssembly to speed up many of their existing web apps.
Meanwhile, the update should also make it easier to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots.
"If you've ever had trouble connecting to hotel Wi-Fi, it's likely because you had to sign in to a 'captive portal,' Nguyen explained. "These captive portals are often problematic because the login page itself is hard to discover if the operating system doesn't detect it. Very often, you try to navigate to a website and end up with an error." Firefox 52 automatically detects these portals and notifies you that you need to log in.
For added security, Firefox will now show an alert if you're about to enter your username and password on a page that isn't encrypted with HTTPS.
Firefox 52 also disables all plugins that use the vintage Netscape Plugin API, with the exception of Flash. Firefox already blocks certain Flash content that is "not essential to the user experience," though the browser still supports legacy Flash content. Later this year, the browser will require "click-to-activate" approval from users before a website runs a Flash plugin for any content.
BY ANGELA MOSCARITOLO
MARCH 8, 2017