Firefox 77 Introduces Faster JavaScript Debugging, Optional Extension Permissions And More

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Mozilla introduces Firefox 77, which has a faster JavaScript debugging, optional permissions for extensions, and Pocket recommendations in the UK, and more.

In addition, Mozilla has expanded the WebRender rollout to make it also available for Windows 10 laptops with Nvidia GPUs on medium (<= 3440x1440) and large screens (> 3440x1440).

For users not in the UK and the WebRender rollout is not affecting them, the only change would be the refreshing of the about:certificate page which replaces a dated dialog box.

Firefox 77 also brings several other enhancements and security fixes.

With regards to Pocket recommendations, users can browse its recommendation list, and users can quickly save articles they are interested in by hovering on the article, to then click the three dots, and save it to Pocket. Saved articles can be accessed later by going to the Library button then pressing View Pocket List.

Alternatively, users can install the Pocket mobile app, sign in with their Firefox ID and take the reading on the go.

The curated content is constantly updated with long-form articles to give users a steady flow of information which furthers Mozilla’s goal of having a Healthy Internet.

Firefox 77 release notes

Firefox’s Debugger has been updated to better handle large web web page and apps with all of their bundling, live reloading and dependencies.

The Debugger has also been updated to respect the currently selected stack when stepping, which should pose useful when developers stepped into a function call or paused in a library method further down in the stack.

Part of which, Firefox 77 promises noticeable performance improvements that should speed up pausing and stepping, as well as cutting down on memory usage over time. Source maps should also see performance boosts, as some inline source maps can load 10 times faster.

There is also other improved reliability for many configurations.

Ever since Firefox Quantum was introduced in the late 2017, Firefox has started prompting users when an extension wants certain permissions. This primarily happens during extension installation, or when new permissions are added during extension updates.

Users sometimes reject these permission requests during an extension’s update, which leaves them stick on the old version of the extension. In Firefox 77, Mozilla tackles this by allowing extension developers to make more permissions available as optional permissions, which don’t trigger a permission request upon installation or an extension update.

Optional permissions can also be requested at runtime, so users can quickly see what permissions are being requested in context.

There is also a new web platform features that include String#replaceAll for replacing all occurrences of a string and IndexedDB cursor requests, a new settings menu for Network and Debugger, a new watchpoints option that combines get/set, and improved Network data preview.

Developers can access Firefox 77 full change log here. And for more developer tools information on FIrefox 77, developers can see them here.

Firefox 77

With the 'COVID-19' coronavirus, people are urged to remain indoors and practice social distancing. For these reasons, more people are spending their time in their web browser as they learn and work from home.

This disrupts how companies release updates for their products.

Google and Microsoft for example, had to adjust their respective browser release schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chrome skipped version 82 to go straight to version 83.

Unlike them, Mozilla said that while “some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work,” it is sticking with its 2020 Firefox release schedule.

So this Firefox 77 is arriving aright on time as part of Mozilla's four-week release cadence.

While the schedule remains unchanged, Mozilla however, shifted its roadmap to avoid shipping changes that might negatively impact the user experience on, or possibly break, government and health services websites.

This is one of the reasons why Firefox 77 doesn't pack hefty updates as previous versions.

According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users. This should make it a major web browser for both end users and web developers.