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31 August 2012, 10:34

Mozilla previews "command line" in Firefox 16 Beta

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Mozilla Beta icon Web developers will be able to drive Firefox from the command line thanks to one of the new features that has appeared in Firefox 16, which has just arrived in the Firefox Beta channel. The Developer Toolbar sits at the bottom of the browser's window and provides quick, keyboard-driven access to many of the developer features in Firefox.

For example, the command "resize on" activates the responsive web testing mode, while "resize to 320 240" would activate it and set the size to 320 by 240. Some of the currently available commands are "inspect" for viewing nodes in the inspector, "cookie" to manipulate cookies, "console" to control the web console, "dbg" to control the the debugger, "restart" to restart the browser, "tilt" to get a 3D view of a page, and "addon" to enable or disable add-ons. The Toolbar also shows a visual indication of when messages have been sent to the console and buttons give quick access to the console, inspector and debugger. A Mozilla blog post discusses the Toolbar in detail and a video shows the Toolbar in action:

Mozilla's Ken Dangoor demonstrates the power of the command line in Firefox 16 Beta

The release notes for the Firefox 16 beta also cover a number of other features of the next Firefox release, though most of them will only be of interest to developers. The first version of web app support for "chromeless" applications has been included. CSS3 Animations, Transitions and Transforms, are losing their mozilla prefixes as they are now stable CSS features. There's also a recently opened files list now available in the Firefox scratchpad. Bug fixes in Firefox 16 include ensuring debugger breakpoints survive page reloads, the removal of MD5 as a supported hash algorithm for digital signatures, and corrected per-tab reporting in about:memory.

As mentioned, user visible features are somewhat limited. The biggest impact is probably from the enhancements to JavaScript, which said to be more responsive thanks to a switch to incremental garbage collection. Mac OS X users will find that a preliminary version of VoiceOver support has been enabled, and the Acholi people will be able to benefit from a newly added localisation. There is no sign of a return for pdf.js, the native JavaScript PDF renderer, in Firefox 16 after it was pulled out of Firefox 15 just before release.

Firefox 16 Beta is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the Firefox Beta channel page.


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