Firefox 52 introduces WebAssembly, adds warnings for non-HTTPS sites, drops plugins, and more
Mozzila says WebAssembly is a game changerBy Rob Thubron 15 comments
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.