Wednesday March 8, 2017 2:01 am PST by Tim Hardwick
Mozilla has heralded the release of a new version of Firefox that it says enables resource-intensive web content like games, apps, and image-editors to run in a browser window at previously unachievable native speeds. To accomplish the feat, Firefox 52 supports Web Assembly, a new standard developed by Mozilla, which it calls "a game changer for the web". WebAssembly allows complex apps, like games, to run faster than ever before in a web browser. 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. We also expect that developers will use WebAssembly to speed up many existing web apps.Mozilla has posted a video, embedded below, that shows the WebAssembly standard and WebGL 2 in action, with the help of a 3D environment demo rendered in real-time using the Unreal 4 Engine. In addition to Web Assembly, the update adds automatic detection of "captive portals" often used by hotel wifi networks that require the user to log in before they can access the web. Mozilla has also built contextual alerts into input fields to warn users when they're prompted to enter username and password information on a page that isn't encrypted with HTTPS. Other additions to this version of Firefox include CSS Grid, a Grid Inspector developer tool, and automatic disabling of plugins that use the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) besides Flash. Firefox 52 is a free download for the Mac.