Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Firefox 12 Review


Firefox 8Mozilla released Firefox 12, its newest web browser upgrade on April 24, 2012. In keeping with their Rapid Release upgrades, since March 2011, this is the tenth Firefox rapid release version. We will continue to see new Firefox updates every six weeks or so.

During these rapid release updates, Firefox has changed tremendously. In some of the updates, we saw many new features, cosmetic changes, faster performance, and many new tools for Web Developers. Also, during these updates, thousands of bug fixes and security vulnerabilities have been implemented, making Firefox a better browser, in most cases.

Firefox got a cleaner and uncluttered look, tab groups, faster speed, and some cool features for Web Developers like HTML5, WebGL, and Web Console with Firefox 4. In subsequent updates, we saw the introduction of the "Do Not Track" feature which enabled users to opt out of tracking behavioural type advertising. In Firefox 5, there were improvements in CSS animation, improved canvas, memory and JavaScript.

In Firefox 7, Telemetry was introduced which allowed anonymous and accurate opt-in tool. This update also made significant improvements in the way Firefox managed memory, for a speedy browser experience. In Firefox 8 and 9, we continued seeing bug fixes, security and stability improvements, including the introduction of Type Interface (TI) to improve JavaScript performance.

In Firefox 10, some improvements were made in terms of minimizing the issues due to add-ons incompatibility, as well as the introduction of Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release). There were several enhancements for Web Developers like anti-aliasing for WebGL, support for CSS 3D Transforms, and full screen API support.

In Firefox 11, a feature for importing of bookmarks, history, and cookies from Google Chrome was introduced. As well as users were able to synch add-ons across all devices. We also saw the introduction of Page Inspector 3D View allowing developers to get a 3-dimentional view of web pages.

And finally, in Firefox 12, over 1,800 bug fixes were implemented. Though there were no new features, other than the simplification of one step in the upgrade process, there were several improvements for developers in areas like Page Inspector, Web Console, Scratchpad, Style Editor.

I've used all of the above mentioned Firefox Rapid Release versions. Overall, I've found positive improvements in terms of performance and speed. I ran browser benchmark tests on many of these Firefox upgrades and saw improvements. However, Firefox has been losing ground to Google Chrome which is better in terms of overall performance based on my experience and results from the browser benchmark tests. Also, since upgrading to this latest version, I've experienced several Firefox crashes which I've seldom experienced before. I've reported this to Mozilla, so hopefully they can resolve this issue.

You can check my detailed Firefox Reviews on each of the above Rapid Release updates. This last Firefox 12 update is not the best one that I've seen. Based on the Peacekeeper Benchmark test results (see below), it fell short when compared to the performance of Firefox 11 and lacks compared to the performance of Google Chrome.