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Firefox 52, Enter WebAssembly and CSS Grid, Exit Windows XP

Firefox 52

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Its now just over a week since Firefox 52 became available, this version brings some interesting features to this open source web browser.

Firefox is a browser by the Mozilla foundation vying for space with the likes of Google Chrome, Opera, Edge, Internet Explorer and Brave among a host of other web browsers. There is not much to say about what a browser does other than the fact that you are reading this then you are probably using one of these.

What’s With the new Firefox 52 release Browser

This is the version that introduces support for WebAssembly. WebAssembly is an emerging standard that brings near-native performance to Web-based games, apps, and software libraries without the use of plugins. The standard has been developed by Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. It presents a new format for safe, portable and efficient binary programs on the Web. It is designed to eventually run where JavaScript works.

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Like Qt‘s QML and C++, JavaScript functions can call WebAssembly functions and vice versa. This opens up access to C, C++ and Rust in your web application.

Firefox 52 also includes support for CSS Grid Layout Module Level 1. This is a CSS specification that defines 18 new CSS properties. It works by defining rows and columns that can be fixed, fluid or a mix of the two. It allows for custom placements and best of all they are responsive and maintain separation of data and code. This is something HTML tables where unable to do.

CSS Grid can also be mixed with table and flex layouts on the same page as the designer has no restrictions on creativity.

Also introduced is the new Grid Inspector Tool, which allows the developer to see the grid lines directly on the web page. This makes it to visualize exactly where every container and element is.

Firefox has also announced the end of support for Windows XP and Windows Vista with Firefox 52. Going forward Mozilla will not be pushing new features to Windows XP and Widows Vista users. Users on these platforms are now subject to use Firefox ESR (Firefox Extended Support Release) which is a version designed for use in corporate organizations.

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Firefox 52 now adds user warnings for non-secure HTTP pages with logins. The browser will display a “This connection is not secure” message should users click into the username and password fields on pages that don’t use HTTPS.

There is also a host of security patches and bug fixes. To see more details about this release please visit the release notes here.