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Firefox 52 introduces WebAssembly, adds warnings for non-HTTPS sites, drops plugins, and...

By midian182 ยท 15 replies
Mar 8, 2017
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  1. The latest version of Firefox has arrived for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Version 52 introduces several new features and tweaks, including WebAssembly, which Mozilla says allows “near-native performance for games and apps.”

    Low-level assembly-style language WebAssembly allows the likes of 3D games, CAD, video editing, and scientific visualization to run in a browser at almost the same speed as native applications – all without the use of plugins. Mozilla added that developers would be able to use WebAssembly to speed up some existing web apps. Ars Technica notes that the technology will be supported in the next version of Chrome (57), and Microsoft is also working on Edge support.

    To back up its WebAssembly "game changer" claims, Mozilla and Epic Games have released a demo of a 3D scene (below) that is running inside Firefox 52 using the Unreal Engine. As you can see, it looks pretty impressive.

    Another new Firefox addition is the automatic detection and notification of captive portals -the public Wi-Fi login services for places like hotels and airports that can be incredibly irritating to use.

    Security has been boosted with a feature that displays a “This connection is not secure” message when users select the username and password fields on pages that don’t use HTTPS. Thereby reminding them that their credentials could be stolen on these unencrypted pages.

    Additionally, plugins that use the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) have been disabled, with the only exception being Flash. Like other browsers, plugins including Java, Silverlight, and Acrobat, are no longer supported in Firefox.

    You can see the full changelog here.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2017
  2. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,403   +875

    Once all browsers get proper support for WebAssembly I might try doing something with it.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    The Hangouts plugin dies too until an assembly is created.
  4. mcborge

    mcborge TS Maniac Posts: 395   +249

    Youtube does not like this version, not on my system anyway. Since updating to 52 youtube vids keep graphically glitching just before the whole page goes black for a bout 10 seconds. Fyi when I move the browser out of the way during a page blackout my desktop is always completely fine.
  5. hyperspaced

    hyperspaced TS Member

    This is the future. Just imagine the explosion of GUI frameworks, therefore apps of any kind, soon after the official release of WebAssembly.
  6. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 214   +123

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Runs for me
  8. mcborge

    mcborge TS Maniac Posts: 395   +249

    I just updated to the new windows slow ring build and everything is back to being fine and dandy... Go fig.
  9. pencea

    pencea TS Booster Posts: 56   +17

    Yet it's still slower and not as responsive as Chrome...
  10. havok585

    havok585 TS Booster Posts: 139   +25

    wizardB, mcborge and drjekelmrhyde like this.
  11. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 214   +123

    Chrome updated to 57 this morning, looks like it's now supporting WebAssembly as well, demo runs flawlessly on it (used to generate a "not supported" error on ver. 56).
  12. pencea

    pencea TS Booster Posts: 56   +17

  13. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 135   +37

    I went to a demo of WebAssembly a couple of years back. They cross compiled Unreal Tournament and UE from C++ to WA and got it up and running in 3 days then demoed it onstage - amazing stuff.

    Chrome has already added this to v57 and Edge has a test browser with support, so thankfully using HTML to build rich clients could finally soon start becoming a thing of the past.
  14. ArtBa

    ArtBa TS Rookie

    I use my computer do do work, not play games. And to do work, NPAPI plugins are required. There are too many password managers, security plugins, and so on, that I depend on. I've turned off updates to Firefox, and I won't be turning them back on, any time soon. I may have to switch to Opera, or some other browser, that actually allows me to do my job. Give the gamers their own browser. Leave the rest of us alone.
  15. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 135   +37

    WebAssembly isn't just about playing games its about allowing developers to create rich applications in the browser without the massive constraints of HTML.
  16. ArtBa

    ArtBa TS Rookie

    The gamers can claim Firefox as their browser. Personally, I want NPAPI plugin, as they are necessary productivity aids. I'll be switching to Opera, or some other browser. Firefox is now unusable.

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