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Mozilla Releases Firefox 9.0 Into The Wild

Mozilla has readied the 9.0 version of the Firefox browser for public download. In line with the product release, Mozilla confirms that an existing agreement with Google has been extended for at least three years to keep the search giant's technology closely tied to the browser.

Suitable for Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X deployment, the new browser boasts of 30% performance improvements due to JavaScript enhancements. In real terms for web developers, Mozilla has engineered the integration of "Type Inference" technology here to boost JavaScript performance and allow rich websites and web apps with lots of pictures, videos, games, and 3D graphics to load and run much faster.

Firefox Engineer Brian Hackett explains that the Type Inference research project has been under way for over a year now, and there is a feature in the SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine that generates type information about JavaScript programs by analyzing the program's code and monitoring the types of values as the program executes.

According to Hackett, "This type information is used during JIT compilation to generate more efficient code; Firefox 9 includes modifications to the JaegerMonkey JIT compiler to use inferred type information. This compilation mode, which is the default in Firefox 9, speeds up major benchmarks like Kraken and V8 by over 30%, and gives a large speed boost to many JavaScript-heavy websites."

Mozilla has also stated that Firefox now helps websites "load much faster", especially sites that download large sets of data or use AJAX — and that this latest version will also support chunking XHR requests, allowing websites to display content as it's downloaded instead of waiting for the entire download to complete.

Mozilla has left it to Google to pepper in a few extra tools for web developers particularly focused on HTML5 development. Reports suggest that there is a new "input tag" designed for use with the camera function on tablet computers running Android. The effect of the tab is to allow the user to take pictures and (if needed) even scan bar codes and the new QR (Quick Response) square bar codes.

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