Mozilla has released a new stable version of its popular web browser! In Firefox 29 the introduction of the Australis interface was big news and made a dramatic impact on the look and feel of the browser. Firefox 30 on the other hand only receives minor functionality updates but that doesn’t mean the release is any less exciting, as there are some great new additions in this new version. Firefox 30 is available to download on FileHippo now, although Mozilla has not made an official release on its website yet (it usually puts new releases to the ftp server first before they are made available on the website and via the browser’s automatic updating mechanism). So let’s have a sneaky preview at what’s new and what you can expect to see.
Most Plugins Are Not Activated By Default Anymore
Mozilla has decided that the majority of plugins will now have to be enabled before you can use them on the web. There is however a whitelist of plugins where this new rule doesn’t apply, so for example expect to see popular plugins like Adobe Flash, Unity, Skype and several McAfee plugins on that list. What you won’t find is Java, Google Update, Silverlight or Microsoft Office. The reasoning behind this is to provide you with more protection from malicious plugins that could result in a breach of your security. Mozilla is taking some responsibility for those that they deem safe by placing them on the whitelist. You can see the full list by following this link.
Support For GStreamer 1.0
Firefox 30 now has added support for GStreamer 1.0 and this provides H.264 video, mp3 and aac audio support for Linux systems. This is in my opinion one of the biggest additions to Firefox 30 as it allows GStreamer content to be played directly in the browser rather than relying on the host operating system. This is great news, especially for Linux systems, as GStreamer support within the OS can be a little inconsistent.
New Sidebar Button
Mozilla has added a new sidebar button but how will this improve your browsing experience? Well you can now display your bookmarks and browsing history in a sidebar when using Firefox, making it easier to gain access to your favourite sites and pages. You can get to the sidebar by either using the shortcuts Ctrl-B for bookmarks or Ctrl-H for browser history. Alternatively you can tap on Alt followed by View>Sidebar. Social providers and tabs from third-party add-ons can also be displayed in the new sidebar.
The sidebar icon can be reached via the customization menu but can be dragged and dropped to a different location on the browser if it suits you better, which is in-keeping with Mozilla’s ethos of having a highly customizable browser.
If you are a developer then the following changes have been made:
- Disallow calling WebIDL constructors as functions on the web.
- Move some addon-private JSM’s to a subdirectory. (bug 952307)
- Fixes to box-shadow and other visual overflow (bug 480888)
- Mute and audio available when using WebAudio (source)
- background-blend-mode enabled by default
- Use of line-height allowed for <input type=”reset|button|submit”>
- ES6 array and generator comprehensions implemented. (bug 979865)
- Error stack now contains column number. (bug 762556)
- Support for alpha option in canvas context options.
- Box model highlighter implemented in Developer Tools. (bug 663778)
[Image via newsoftgame]