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12 June 2012, 17:07

Firefox 15 Aurora has native PDF support

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Firefox Aurora logo A new in-development version of Firefox 15 has arrived in the open source web browser's Aurora channel. The experimental build of Firefox is the first version to include native support for viewing PDF documents; in contrast, Google added built-in PDF support to its Chrome Dev channel in June 2010, integrating it in the stable 8.0 branch later that year.

Developers at Mozilla have been working on PDF rendering functionality since first introducing pdf.js a year ago. Also available as a separate PDF Viewer add-on for the browser, pdf.js displays PDF files in HTML5 with JavaScript using Canvas and SVG APIs. The PDF viewer functionality is now built-in by default and has been refreshed with an updated user interface. Some features, however, are not yet supported, such as those required to display 3D PDF files; for these types of documents, the browser advises users that they may not be displayed correctly and offers to open them with a different viewer.

Zoom Firefox 15 Aurora is the first version of the web browser to include native support for displaying PDF files
SPDY networking protocol support has also been upgraded to SPDY version 3; the faster, multiplexed protocol, designed for downloading modern web applications and sites, was enabled by default in the recent release of Firefox version 13. Other changes in Firefox 15 include improvements to prevent add-on related memory leaks, enhanced developer tools, and better HTML5 support.

As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised. The current stable release of Firefox is version 13. Users of the Aurora release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they find. The current Aurora channel version will graduate to the Beta channel on 16 July and it should be published to the Release channel of Firefox approximately six weeks later.

A full list of new features and known issues can be found in the release notes. Firefox 15.0a2 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the project's site. Firefox source and binaries are released under the MPL 2.0.

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