Firefox 22 Ships with Superfast JavaScript and WebRTC Video Calls

The latest Firefox comes with some new technology under the hood

By on June 25th, 2013 18:07 GMT

Firefox 22 is officially here, the latest and greatest Mozilla browser has landed in the stable channel. As is the case with this rapid cycle releases, there isn't a huge list of new features and changes, but there are enough to keep fans happy.

Firefox 22 is the first stable release to ship with full support for Asm.js, a JavaScript tool for writing incredibly fast web applications.

Another big addition is full support for plugin-free video calls via WebRTC. Services part of the Social API can now be managed via the Add-on Manager.

The CSS3 Flexbox model, the final specification, is supported by default as well. There are several other developer updates.

The big addition Mozilla is bragging about is support for Asm.js, via the OdinMonkey JavaScript optimization module. Asm.js is a subset of the JavaScript specification chosen for its speed.

This subset is limited by human standards, i.e. it's hard to write code for Asm.js by hand, though by no means impossible, people still write assembly code after all.

Asm.js though was built with machines in mind, specifically, for code generated by converters such as Emscripten, which can take in C/C++ code and push out the equivalent JavaScript code.

The upside of all of this is that developers can take their existing C/C++ applications, even massive projects like, say, a game engine, convert them to JavaScript, or rather, to the Asm.js subset, and have them run in a browser comparably as fast as they would run compiled as native apps.

To prove this, Epic took its Unreal Engine 3 and ported it to the web, with spectacular results. Coincidentally, Firefox 22 also ships with asynchronous canvas updates while using WebGL which should provide a performance boost in 3D applications.

The other big addition to Firefox is full support for WebRTC. While there's still work to be done, Firefox now supports out of the box the three main components of the communication technology. You can read more about WebRTC in Firefox 22 here.
The Unreal Engine 3 has been ported to Asm.js for Firefox
   The Unreal Engine 3 has been ported to Asm.js for Firefox
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