Microsoft launces Internet Explorer Developer Channel

On June 16, Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer will now have a Developer Channel release which can run side-by-side with the production/GA version of Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. This feature, which has long been available in Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox, is a pleasant surprise to those who use Internet Explorer.

This release is a continuation of the effort Microsoft, and especially Internet Explorer team has started, to become developer-friendly by being proactive in communication about the roadmap and the features. This release, unlike the previous developer previews Microsoft created, not only runs side-by-side with the existing version of Internet Explorer but also includes changes to the UI as they are made.

Some of the key updates in this release include:

Updates to F12 developer tools

An enhanced debugging experience with event breakpoints that help you get to your event-driven bugs faster.

Richer analysis capabilities throughout the Memory and UI Responsiveness profilers, which support further reduction of noise through multi-dimensional timeline filter, while further increasing the semantic value of the data being reported by lighting up performance.measure() based instrumentation and dominator folding.

An improved navigation experience that provides more keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+[ and ctrl + ]), as well as new header notifications, which allows you to quickly determine whether any of the profiling tools are running or how many errors your page has.

The complete list of updates are on MSDN here.

IE Dev Channel F12 Tools
IE Dev Channel F12 Tools

Support for WebDriver standard

IE Developer Channel also comes with support for the emerging WebDriver standard through which Web developers can write tests to automate Web browsers to test their sites. It’s a programmable remote control for developing complex user scenarios and running them in an automated fashion in your Web site and browser. See how you can setup WebDriver in the IE Developer Channel, and try out this sample WebDriver project.

Support for Gamepad API standard and improved WebGL support

IE Developer Channel comes with support of the emerging Gamepad API standard that lets you use JavaScript to add gamepad support to your Web apps and games.

IE Developer Channel also improves WebGL performance and adds support for instancing extension, 16-bit textures, GLSL builtin variables, and triangle fans. This release improves our Khronos WebGL Conformance Test 1.0.2 score from 89% to 94%. Gamepad Status Gamepad Status

The team is promising frequent updates to the Developer Channel and we shall see how frequent that is. Given the pace and cadence across various other groups at Microsoft, it could be anywhere from two weeks (Xbox Music) to a month (Xbox One, Power BI) or three-four months (Windows, Windows Phone). Whatever it is, for developers this is much better than anything Internet Explorer has done in the past.

You can download the Developer Channel release from here.

Here’s Charles Morris introducing the Developer Channel IE:

Latest Firefox Beta Brings Per-Tab Private Browsing And Adds Support For Older ARM v6 Devices

Mozilla today released an exciting update for Firebox Beta on the Play Store. The update brings a lot of under the hood improvements along with support for more lower-end devices.

One of the most useful features for all NSFW and porn addicts out there will be the per-tab private browsing mode. This feature will allow Firefox mobile users to open a new private tab, along with other normal tabs, instead of switching completely to private mode.

With the new beta, Firefox will also be available to some of the older ARM v6 devices with QVGA resolution and 384MB of RAM. Other important changes include H.264/AAC/MP3 hardware decoding for pre-Android 4.0 devices.

The official change-log is as follows -:

– Per-tab private browsing
– Gingerbread and Honeycomb support for H.264/AAC/MP3 hardware decoders
– Top Sites in about:home are now customizable
– System requirements have been lowered to 384MB of RAM and QVGA displays
– <canvas> now supports blend modes
– Various <audio> and <video> improvements
– getUserMedia implemented for web access to the user’s camera and microphone (with user permission)
Learn more:

The beta is already live on the Play Store, and can be downloaded from here.

Firefox 18 Released with Numerous Performance Enhancements

Firefox 18 is expected to be officially released anytime now. However, as always, it has been uploaded to the FTP servers well in advance. If you wish to grab the stable release of Firefox 18 ahead of its announcement, scroll down and head over to Mozilla’s servers.


Changelog for the final version is also yet to be revealed. However, we can get a pretty good idea about what’s new by looking at the changelog for the beta. Firefox 18 ships with the new IonMonkey JavaScript engine, which promises up to 26% improvement in speed compared to Firefox 17. Mozilla has fixed several bugs related to Firefox’s proxy handling, and users surfing behind a proxy should be able to enjoy a much faster browsing experience. Mozilla is also promising improved startup times through smart handling of signed extension certificates, in addition to performance improvements surrounding tab switching. Beginning with Firefox 18, Persona backgrounds will no longer support animated images, in order to improve performance.

There are quite a few goodies for developers also in Firefox 18, including preliminary support for WebRTC and CSS Flexible boxes. Both of these features are disabled by default, and must be enabled from about:config. Other enhancements include support for W3C touch events, better image scaling algorithm, and support for retina displays.

[ Download Firefox 18 for Windows, Mac, and Linux ]

Firefox for Android to Introduce Private Browsing and Improved Customizability in 2013

Last year, Mozilla promised to rock your World Wide Web with Firefox for Android. While Chrome is still my default browser, mainly due to a preference for its user interface, Firefox Mobile has indeed gone on to garner sizable fan base, with an impressive rating of 4.2 in the Play store.

Mozilla has revealed some of the features that are lined up for Firefox for Android in 2013. The most significant new feature to be disclosed is Private Browsing. Private Browsing has become a standard feature in desktop browsers, and several mobile browsers including Chrome and Dolphin have offered it on mobile phones also for quite some time. Incidentally, Private Browsing in Firefox for desktop is also being rewritten to offer increased flexibility.


The other focus point for Firefox in 2013 will be enhanced customizability. The mobile edition of Firefox will support themes as well as offer a customizable start-page. “No matter how you browse with Firefox for Android — for news, the most useful sites, the funniest pages — we’ll never stop trying to give you the best and fastest experience”, Mozilla promised in its note.

The final revelation concerns increased availability, both in terms of device compatibility and language support. Mozilla didn’t offer a timeline, but promised to make these features available “soooooooon”.

Cleanup Your Facebook and Other Network Profiles with MyPermissions Cleaner

While Facebook’s one-click login button makes it really easy for users to signup for new apps and services, it also makes it ludicrously easy for malicious entities to get their hands on your private info. All they need to do is to create a quiz to lure you into sharing your Facebook profile data.

In a previous article we reviewed Privacyfix, which automatically identifies and highlights security issues in your Facebook and Google settings. One of the threats that Privacyfix identifies is app permissions. However, it doesn’t provide a quick way to withdraw access you have previously granted to various apps. Chances are that over the years you have allowed hundreds of apps to access your Facebook profile. Manually delisting them is likely to take quite a while. Thankfully, there is another browser extension, which can take care of this problem.


MyPermissions Cleaner is a handy extension for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox, which scans your Facebook profile and lists all apps that have access to your Facebook information, and allows you to revoke access to all apps with a single click. Ideally, you will not want to revoke access to all apps. For example, if you are an avid Instagram and Tweekdeck user, it makes sense to let these apps be. Thankfully, MyPermissions allows you to add select apps and services to a whitelist (Trusted Apps) with just a couple of clicks. Once you have whitelisted the apps you need, you can get rid of the rest of them with a single click. However, if you have several hundred apps in your list, then it might be easier to simply revoke permissions for everything and add back the apps that you use as and when required. MyPermissions Cleaner does a good job at exposing exactly what sort of info each app has access to, and allows you to filter apps by their access levels. The only trouble is that the extension doesn’t always work perfectly, and sometimes gets stuck while deleting an app. However, a page refresh generally takes care of the issue.


It’s not just Facebook alone, MyPermissions Cleaner currently also supports Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Dropbox, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr, AOL, and Windows Live. For each of these services the app works in an identical manner, and offers to cleanup your app permissions. If you have never bothered to look into the apps that have access to you profiles on various networks, go ahead and do it now. Let this be your little end of the year cleaning.

[ Download MyPermissions Cleaner ]

Mozilla to Introduce Support for Private Windows in Firefox 20

Apple introduced the concept of private browsing way back in 2005; however, this feature became mainstream only about three years back. When surfing in private browsing mode, the browser covers your tracks. Browsing history is not recorded, and cookies are automatically deleted once you end the session. Currently, all major browsers support private browsing. However, the implementation varies from browser to browser. Opera, which was the last major browser to support this feature, has the best implementation. It supports not only private windows, but also private tabs. Chrome and Internet Explorer on the other hand support private windows, but not private tabs. Firefox’s implementation is currently the most limited one. It supports neither private tabs nor private windows. If you enter private browsing mode, your current session is halted, all existing tabs are closed, and a new private session is created. However, this is set to change soon.


Mozilla has been working on re-writing its private browsing implementation for the past 19 months, and is finally ready to showcase its progress. A new experimental build is now available, which features support for private windows. You can now begin a private browsing session in a new window while retaining your existing session. The experimental build is available for Winows, OS X, and Linux. This feature will make its mainstream debut in Firefox 20, which is scheduled to be released in March/April 2013.

[ Download Firefox with Private Windows ]

Firefox For Android Now Available For ARM v6 Based Android Devices

Today, Mozilla announced in a blog post that it is brining Firefox for Android to million more Android devices out there. Until today, Firefox for Android was only supported by Android devices running Android 2.2+ and using an ARM v7 based processors.

However, beginning from today, Firefox for Android will be available to all Android 2.2+ devices that are powered by an ARM v6 processor. This includes quite a lot of popular low-end Android devices like the GAlaxy Ace, Motorola Fire XT, HTC ChaCha and more.

According to Mozilla, more than half of the 500 million Android phones out there are powered by an ARM v6 processor, so this move from Mozilla will definitely help in increasing the user base of the app. However, your Android device needs to have at least an ARMv6 processor that is clocked at 800MHz, along with a minimum of 512MB RAM.

The latest release of Firefox for Android also adds support for hardware and software decoder for h.264 videos on Android 4/4.1, along with initial web app support. The full release notes of the latest release can be found here, while the latest version can be downloaded from here.


Firefox 16.01 for Desktop and Android Plugs Security Vulnerability

Just a day after releasing Firefox 16, Mozilla pulled the update citing security concerns. Needless to say this was a pretty unusual move. Typically any security vulnerability present in a major release is fixed through point updates. Removing a new release was a drastic move, which indicated that Mozilla reckoned that the vulnerability had a significant chance of being exploited in the wild.


The vulnerability concerned could allow a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited and have access to the URL or URL parameters. The security vulnerability was actually more of a privacy issue that could become a security issue on stupidly coded websites that use GET to transmit confidential information.

Mozilla released a fix for the Android version yesterday, and an updated desktop version was released moments ago. You can download Firefox 16.01 from here, or you can wait for your Firefox installation to automatically download the latest version.

Firefox 16 Released with New Awesome Features for Web-Developers

To all those keeping pace with the rapid release cycle of Firefox, Mozilla just released version 16 of the Firefox web browser, and as always, it has arrived with a slew of attractive changes. Firefox switched to a rapid release cycle more than a year ago, and most people found it disconcerting. Some stuck to Firefox 3.6 or Firefox 4 for a long time. However, Firefox users have become a lot more flexible lately, and Firefox 15 accounts for the highest 58% of all Firefox users. Today, the next version of Firefox — Firefox 16 is here with new features and improvements.


Firefox 16 on Mac now comes with Voice Over support. The feature is in its preliminary stage, but it is definitely a good start. Behind the scene changes, include improved garbage collection, so you will probably see Firefox hogging less memory. HTML 5 support has been improved with better CSS3 implementation. From now, Firefox will drop its vendor prefix of “-moz-” from many CSS3 animations and transitions.  However, the new features that pack a punch are the new web-app support and the improved Developer Toolbar.

The developer toolbar has a new command line, which can run common tasks like editing a page, manipulating cookies, taking screenshots and inspecting. It is a heavenly improvement for all command line junkies out there. This video illustrates the new features quite well.

On mobile devices, Firefox 16 gives developers access to the Battery API for reading battery state and the Vibration API. However, the big new feature for end-users is the Reader mode, which offers a distraction-free reading experience.


You can get the complete release notes at this page. Go ahead and grab your copy of Firefox 16 at this page. If you are an Android user, you can also get your copy of Firefox for Android at this page on Google Play Store.

Firefox for Android, Plume and ASTRO Get Major Updates

Over the last 24 hours, quite a few popular Android apps have received major updates. Firstly, Mozilla has released a major update for the tablet edition of Firefox browser, aimed at improving the speed and overall fit and finish of the browser. The speed enhancements in the latest version is visible right from the reduced start-up time to the reduced loading and navigating web pages time.

The latest version also brings robust support for HTML5 capabilities allowing developers to create rich web apps based on HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and other open Web standards. The tablet version of the browser also supports Flash on devices that are running Honeycomb.

Second in the list is LevelUp Studio’s popular Twitter client, Plume. The application recently got a major new UI refresh with a Holo based theme, but LevelUp Studio has further tweaked the UI of the app in the latest update. The latest update brings a new fly-in menu, some layout optimisations for the Nexus 7, and a much faster performance overall. Slowly and steadily, Plume has become the go-to Twitter client in the Android ecosystem.

Last, but not the least is a popular File Manager app for Android, ASTRO.The application has been updated after ages from its developers, Metago, and now features a drop-dead gorgeous UI. As of now, the latest version is only for Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean users, but the developer has promised to release the new update for older versions of Android as well.