First Look: Firefox 17

We take a look at the latest version of Mozilla's browser

Firefox 17
Facebook-Fox

Firefox 17, which was released yesterday by Mozilla, adds fixes and new functionality to the browser, including social networking integration. Here's our first look at the latest in Firefox.

Firefox 17 Facebook
Facebook

Thanks to a new social API, Firefox users can take advantage of a plug-in that gives them access to Facebook Chat and many other parts of the social network via a sidebar in the browser window.

Firefox 17 plug-ins
Credit: Mozilla
Click-to-play changes

Firefox 17 introduces a new method of handling plug-in-based content, which aggressively blocks out-of-date or other potentially dangerous plug-ins while offering users the option to approve them.

Firefox Mac OS X Leopard
Credit: Wikipedia
Bye bye, OS X 10.5

The latest version of Firefox will no longer support Mac OS X 10.5 -- though, to be honest, Mac users, you should probably have upgraded by now anyway.

Firefox HTML5 iFrames
Credit: Mozilla
HTML5 sandboxing for iFrames

One of many security improvements included in Firefox 17 is sandboxing for iFrames in HTML5, which decreases the risk that a malicious iFrame could compromise a user's computer.

Firefox security
Credit: CyberNet News
General security fixes

As reported by our sister publication Computerworld, Mozilla fixed a host of other potential vulnerabilities in Firefox 17, crediting Google researcher Abhishek Arya with discovering a major series of particularly critical issues.

Firefox Awesome bar
Awesome bar bigger (more awesome?)

The Awesome bar now uses bigger icons, making suggestions easier to quickly identify.

Credit: W3.org
Performance enhancements for devs and users alike

Mozilla's announcement boasted "over twenty performance improvements, including fixes around the New Tab page," though it didn't go into more detail. However, some new features for developers were outlined, including a new page inspector markup panel and support for SVG FillPaint and StrokePaint.