Mozilla launched Firefox 32 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android which includes a new HTTP cache for improved performance, public key pinning support, and easy language switching on Android.
Firefox 32 released over on Firefox.com and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play.
Here is how Mozilla described the new HTTP cache back-end:
“The new HTTP cache back end has many improvements like request prioritization optimized for first-paint time, ahead of read data preloading to speed up large content load, delayed writes to not block first paint time, pool of most recently used response headers to allow 0ms decisions on reuse or re-validation of a cached payload, 0ms miss-time look-up via an index, smarter eviction policies using frecency algorithm, resilience to crashes and zero main thread hangs or jank. Also it eats less memory, but this may be subject to change based on my manual measurements with my favorite microSD card which shows that keeping at least data of html, css and js files critical for rendering in memory may be wise.”
The biggest addition for the desktop platforms is public key pinning, a security feature that helps ensure people are connecting to the sites they intend. Pinning allows webmasters to specify which certificate authorities (CAs) issue valid certificates for their sites, rather than accepting any one of the hundreds of built-in root certificates that ship with Firefox.
This means pinning can protect Firefox users from man-in-the-middle-attacks and rogue certificate authorities. Whether a CA mis-issues a certificate, or when the root cert for a pinned site does not match one of the known good CAs, Firefox will reject the connection.
Pinned domains include addons.mozilla.org and Twitter in Firefox 32. Google domains will add in with Firefox 33, with more domains to come.
Cache and pinning aside, the new desktop version has a sizeable list of changes. Here are some of the new offerings in Firefox 32:
• New: New HTTP cache provides improved performance including crash recovery.
• New: Integration of generational garbage collection.
• New: Public key pinning support enabled.
• Changed: Removed and turned off trust bit for some 1024-bit root certificates.
• Changed: Performance improvements to Password Manager and Add-on Manager.
• HTML5: drawFocusIfNeeded enabled by default.
• HTML5: CSS position:sticky enabled by default.
• Developer: HiDPI support in Developer Tools UI.
• Developer: Inspector button moved to the top left.
• Developer: Hidden nodes displayed differently in the markup-view.
• Fixed: Mac OS X: cmd-L does not open a new window when no window is available.
• Fixed: Text Rendering Issues on Windows 7 with Platform Update KB2670838 (MSIE 10 Prerequisite) or on Windows 8.1.
There are quite a few HTML5 additions in this release. If you’re a Web developer, you should probably check out Firefox 32 for developers.
New versions of Firefox release every six weeks. Firefox 33 will be out in mid-October.