Firefox 32 arrives with new HTTP cache, public key pinning support, and seamless language switching on Android

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Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 32 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include a new HTTP cache for improved performance, public key pinning support, and easy language switching on Android.

Firefox 32 has been released over on Firefox.com and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play.

Here is how Mozilla described the new HTTP cache back-end when it arrived in the Nightly channel back in May:

The new HTTP cache back end has many improvements like request prioritization optimized for first-paint time, ahead of read data preloading to speed up large content load, delayed writes to not block first paint time, pool of most recently used response headers to allow 0ms decisions on reuse or re-validation of a cached payload, 0ms miss-time look-up via an index, smarter eviction policies using frecency algorithm, resilience to crashes and zero main thread hangs or jank. Also it eats less memory, but this may be subject to change based on my manual measurements with my favorite microSD card which shows that keeping at least data of html, css and js files critical for rendering in memory may be wise.

This is probably the biggest addition, since it brings improved performance and crash recovery to all platforms.

Desktop

The biggest addition for the desktop platforms is public key pinning, a security feature that helps ensure that people are connecting to the sites they intend. Pinning allows webmasters to specify which certificate authorities (CAs) issue valid certificates for their sites, rather than accepting any one of the hundreds of built-in root certificates that ship with Firefox.

This means pinning can be used to protect Firefox users from man-in-the-middle-attacks and rogue certificate authorities. Whether a CA mis-issues a certificate, or when the root cert for a pinned site does not match one of the known good CAs, Firefox will reject the connection.

Pinned domains include addons.mozilla.org and Twitter in Firefox 32. Google domains will be added in Firefox 33, with more domains to come.

Cache and pinning aside, the new desktop version has a sizeable list of changes. Here’s the full changelog for Firefox 32:

  • New: New HTTP cache provides improved performance including crash recovery.
  • New: Integration of generational garbage collection.
  • New: Public key pinning support enabled.
  • New: Display the number of found items in the find toolbar.
  • New: Easier back, forward, reload, and bookmarking through the context menu.
  • New: View historical use information for logins stored in password manager.
  • New: Lower Sorbian [dsb] locale added.
  • Changed: Removed and turned off trust bit for some 1024-bit root certificates.
  • Changed: Performance improvements to Password Manager and Add-on Manager.
  • HTML5: drawFocusIfNeeded enabled by default.
  • HTML5: CSS position:sticky enabled by default.
  • HTML5: mix-blend-mode enabled by default.
  • HTML5: Vibration API updated to latest W3C spec.
  • HTML5: box-decoration-break enabled by default.
  • HTML5: ECMAScript 6 built-in method Array#copyWithin implemented.
  • HTML5: New Array built-in: Array.from().
  • HTML5: navigator.languages property and languagechange event implemented.
  • HTML5: CSS box-decoration-break replaces -moz-background-inline-policy.
  • Developer: HiDPI support in Developer Tools UI.
  • Developer: Inspector button moved to the top left.
  • Developer: Hidden nodes displayed differently in the markup-view.
  • Developer: New Web Audio Editor.
  • Developer: Code completion and inline documentation added to Scratchpad.
  • Fixed: Mac OS X: cmd-L does not open a new window when no window is available.
  • Fixed: Text Rendering Issues on Windows 7 with Platform Update KB2670838 (MSIE 10 Prerequisite) or on Windows 8.1.

There are a lot of HTML5 additions in this release. If you’re a Web developer, you should probably check out Firefox 32 for developers.

Android

Firefox for Android now lets you switch between any of 55 languages, regardless of the language you originally download the browser and of the locales supported by your device, without restarting the app. Mozilla also added six more languages in this release: Armenian, Basque, Fulah, Icelandic, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh.

Next up, you can now customize Firefox for Android with home screen pages for accessing content directly from a variety of websites, feeds and services (like Instagram, Pocket, Vimeo and Wikipedia). You can also easily clear your history at the end of every browsing session by tapping the new option at the bottom of your History home screen page.

Version 32 adds a lot more on Android than on the desktop. Here’s the full Firefox 32 for Android changelog:

  • New: Switch between any of Firefox for Android’s 55 supported languages without leaving the browser.
  • New: Clear History control added to the history panel.
  • New: Gamepad API finalized and enabled.
  • New: New HTTP cache provides improved performance including crash recovery.
  • New: Integration of generational garbage collection.
  • New: Support URI autocomplete on Swype (and other composition focused) keyboards.
  • New: Locales added: Armenian [hy-AM], Basque [eu], Fulah [ff], Icelandic [is], Scottish Gaelic [gd], Welsh [cy].
  • Changed: Android 2.2 and ARMv6 processor chipset no longer supported.
  • Changed: Removed and turned off trust bit for some 1024-bit root certificates.
  • Changed: Set up Sync from the tabs tray.
  • Changed: Top Sites has a cleaner, fresher looking first-run appearance.
  • HTML5: CSS position:sticky enabled by default.
  • HTML5: mix-blend-mode enabled by default.
  • HTML5: Vibration API updated to latest W3C spec.
  • HTML5: box-decoration-break enabled by default.
  • HTML5: New Array built-in: Array.from().
  • HTML5: navigator.languages property and languagechange event implemented.
  • HTML5: CSS box-decoration-break replaces -moz-background-inline-policy.
  • Developer: Improvements to home panel add-on API.

New versions of Firefox are released approximately every six weeks. Firefox 33 will be out in mid-October.

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