February 20, 2013

Mozilla Introduces New Built-in PDF Viewer in Latest Desktop Firefox Release

With the latest release of its Firefox desktop browser for Windows, Mac and Linux, the Mozilla (NewsAlert) Corporation has introduced a new feature of note: built-in PDF viewing. Just as it sounds, this new feature enables users to view PDFs directly within the browser, without downloading them and without the help of a plug-in like the official Adobe (NewsAlert) Reader PDF plug-in or alternatives like Foxit Reader.

According to the official Mozilla blog, the aim of the new PDF reader is to create a more seamless experience with PDFs on the Web, making it easier and more natural to view restaurant menus, print tickets or read reports. What’s more, since the new reader is based on HTML5, it promises to be much faster than with plug-ins, and this may mean that in-browser PDF viewing may even make its way over to mobile versions of Firefox, like Firefox for Android (NewsAlert).

Considering that Firefox for Android is now available to over 15 million phones, this may be a logical next step. However, the desktop version’s PDF viewer is barely a day old and is exhibiting some issues — some have reported issues with font rendering, resulting in blurry text — so this feature probably won’t end up on smartphones any time too soon.

This may be the first time the PDF viewer has made it into a stable release, but it has appeared in Firefox betas previously.

Other features introduced in the latest version of Firefox, version 19, include startup performance improvements and improvements aimed at developers.

The Mozilla Corporation also recently released a couple of low-powered developer preview smartphones running its mobile Firefox OS. These devices, called Keon and Peak, are meant to be used by developers to build their own apps for the open source platform.

In December, the company demonstrated WebRTC integration in its desktop browser, which may soon turn up in a stable Firefox release.

Edited by Braden Becker


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