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Firefox 52 released

Firefox v52 brings WebAssembly to the browser. (Source: Mozilla)
Firefox v52 brings WebAssembly to the browser. (Source: Mozilla)
The update brings WebAssembly, which brings near-native performance to web-based apps.

Firefox version 52.0 released earlier today, and with it comes a slew of new features. Most notable among the additions to the browser is support for WebAssembly which allows for vastly improved performance in web-based apps.

WebAssembly is a new standard that “brings near-native performance to Web-based games, apps, and software libraries without the use of plugins.” Essentially, this means that developers using WebAssembly may see their web apps perform as well as an app that’s installed and runs directly on the user’s local hardware. This could be a boon for web developers and browser plugins as the performance will be on par with installed software and could lead to the end of the download and installation of apps.

Storage is a typical concern on smartphones, and apps are getting increasingly larger. Using WebAssembly, developers could bring the same app experience over the internet without requiring the user to install any kind of software.

We’ve already seen something similar in Google’s Native Client API (think: Google’s Chrome App Store). However, in keeping with Mozilla’s emphasis on community development and open-source tools, WebAssembly is non-proprietary and open-sourced. This update also makes Firefox the first browser to support the new standard.

Some other additions and changes include improved security features. Firefox will now warn users when they attempt to use a login field on non-HTTPS secured sites. There are a few other tweaks and changes that you can read about here.

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Sam Medley, 2017-03- 8 (Update: 2017-03- 8)