firefox-sandstone-orange-wallpaper.jpg - Simon Antony Web Design Manchester and Stockport, UK

This week Mozilla launched Firefox version 16, the latest instalment of the browser and our keen web devs have been busy putting it through its paces to see how it measures up.  

The new Firefox offers a much fuller support of HTML 5 and CSS 3 including animations, transformations and gradients.  Improvements have been made to the JavaScript responsiveness through incremental garbage collection and quite a number of other bugs have been fixed in the process.  This all adds up to a slightly better browsing experience, so what else is new?

New developer console

Probably the most noticeable feature to the new Firefox is a developer command-line, which allows you to query and set various values within the browser. For instance, you can could the value of any cookie by running simply:

cookie set <key> <value>

It comes with a nice auto-complete  function that will help you find your way around the various commands and a nice help feature will give you more detail about how you are supposed to use some of these new features, which we found quite intuitive to use.

New to mobile version

The mobile version of Firefox now supports both the Battery API and Vibrate API which could pave the way for some interesting websites that make better use of this mobile technology in future. Interestingly, the Android version comes with a reader mode which is activated by clicking the book icon in the address bar once a page has loaded. This removes much of the styling and formatting, leaving a much simpler text version of the web page, particularly helpful when reading a lot of content and especially when the mobile device screen size might be limited. We did notice this only worked on a select few websites, but a few limited websites, a demonstration of this can be seen working fine on Mozillas own website:

The new Firefox certainly is an improvement, but these changes are slight and not quite as revolutionary as we have seen in the past. It is unlikely to win over people who prefer a different browser, but for users of Firefox it is definitely a step in the right direction!

Speak to Simon Steed about any of the topics discussed this site.