Top performance and better social interaction in latest Firefox update

The latest Firefox update, released today brings several important improvements. Among them, support for asm.js is without the most relevant as it lowers the bar for hundreds of potential applications to run inside the browser enjoying performance only thought for desktop applications until today.

To put it simple: if a developer has a desktop application today, say written on C++, he can today compile it to JavaScript instead of lower level code. Since it is JavaScript it can now be run on the web. The trick is that instead of compiling the C++ code into “full” JavaScript it is into asm.js, a subset that is deeply optimized within Firefox (IonMonkey), resulting in very important performance improvements with minimum time required: Epic was able to port its ubiquitous Unreal 3D engine to the web in four days!

How good these improvements are? Grab a copy of Firefox 22 or update your Firefox right now and visit BananaBread to see a full first person shooter running on JavaScript. It is just amazing.

Another welcomed addition is the new font inspector just added to the ever-growing developer toolkit. Just select the Fonts tab, click on an element and you get to see which font is been used. A great time saver.

Firefox 22 font inspector screeshot
Firefox 22 font inspector screeshot

Also in the developer front, Firefox now support HTML5’s Web Notifications, a simple way for web applications to standardize the way they notify users on events like appointments, emails, incoming call, document updates, etc., as well as <date> and <time> elements as part of the effort to improve web content semantics.

WebRTC support, the standard for real time communication on the web, is now enabled by default in Firefox.

Social services including Facebook, Cliqz, msnNOW, Weibo and Mixi can now be managed from the Add-ons Manager.

Firefox addons manager with social services providers
Firefox addons manager with social services providers

There are also important security fixes including patches for 4 critical,  6 high and 4 lower-impact vulnerabilities.