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Changes For Developers

Changes aimed at web developers include support for new CSS Transitions which can be used to animate web content, an extension management API and per-compartment garbage collection, enabled by default, which reduces the amount of work that needs to be done during complex animations, making them smoother. Web typography has been improved via support for the OpenType font format. Web developers can now update the URL field without having to reload the page via the HTML History APIs and improvements have been made to APIs for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions. An experimental API is also included to provide more efficient Javascript animations.

Developers will also notice several HTLM5 improvements as well, such as a new HTML5 parser, HTML5 video "buffered" property support and a new HTML5 Forms API for making web-based forms easier to implement and validate, as well as support for more HTML5 form controls. Other changes include native support for the WebM/VP8 video format in HTML5 <video> tags, introduced by Google as part of the WebM Project, and full support for WebGL – a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0 with industry support from Google, Mozilla and Opera – has been added. Support has also been added for the new proposed Audio Data API.

Security enhancements include changes to CSS visited selectors to block web sites from being able to check a user's browsing history, support for the HSTS security protocol which lets sites tell the browser that they are only to be loaded over an SSL connection, and the addition of crash protection technology that isolates the processes in Firefox so that, when a crash occurs in a plug-in such as Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Silverlight, the whole browser will not crash.

An interactive online tour and video overview of some of the new features included in Firefox tour are provided on the Mozilla web site.

Further information about this major update, including a list of known issues, can be found in the release notes. Firefox 4.0 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in more than 80 languages from the project's web site. Alternatively, existing Firefox 3.x users can upgrade to the new versions, either by waiting for the automated update notification or by manually selecting "Check for updates" from the Help Menu.

Firefox binaries are released under the Mozilla Firefox End-User Software License Agreement and the source code is released under disjunctive tri-licensing that includes the Mozilla Public Licence, GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1.

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