The Native PDF Viewer Is Finally Live in Firefox 19 Beta

Mozilla has been working on it for more than a year, but it's finally ready

With the holidays over, it seems that browser makers are getting back into the groove with Google and Mozilla deciding to release new versions of Chrome and Firefox on the same day. While the new Chrome beta is Android only, the Firefox beta is for everyone.

Firefox 19 beta comes with plenty of additions and improvements, but one that Mozilla's particularly proud of is the PDF Viewer.

If you're getting a sense of déjà vu, it's because Mozilla has been working on this for a long time and because the tool has been a part of Firefox as well as available as an add-on for quite a while.

It hasn't been enabled by default though, Mozilla didn't think it was stable enough. Those that knew about it have been able to use it, but Mozilla is now enabling it for everyone.

All you have to do is grab or update to the latest Firefox 19 beta and you'll get the new feature. The next time you stumble upon a PDF document online, you'll be able to view it with the native tool.

The advantages over using a plugin are many. For one, it's faster and takes a much smaller toll resources. It also enables Mozilla to offer a consistent experience, the PDF file is rendered just like any standard web page.

Using the built-in viewer is safer too, third-party plugins provide avenues for attackers to take over your browser or your computer.

The native viewer is the result of the PDF.js project undertaken by a couple of people at Mozilla. They set out to create a JavaScript-based PDF viewer and, after plenty of work, they've done it. Most PDF files are supported and the viewer only uses standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript, the perfect example of what the modern web can do.

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