New Firefox beta tweaks JavaScript, gains multitouch | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com

New Firefox beta tweaks JavaScript, gains multitouch

Support for multitouch on Windows 7 computers joins cross-platform improvements to how Firefox 4 handles JavaScript in the big changes brought by Mozilla to the beta's third revision.

Support for multitouch on Windows 7 computers and cross-platform improvements to how the browser handles JavaScript were the biggest changes brought by Mozilla to the third beta of Firefox 4, released Wednesday. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Firefox 4 beta 3 doesn't make any changes to the interface but does make some important adjustments to how the browser handles JavaScript, an essential component of modern browsers.

The Help option from the Firefox button drop-down takes users only to the Firefox support Web site, left. On the right, the available Help options if users force the Menubar to appear. The Menubar is hidden by default in the Firefox 4 beta.

The Help option from the Firefox button drop-down takes users only to the Firefox support Web site, left. On the right, the available Help options if users force the Menubar to appear. The Menubar is hidden by default in the Firefox 4 beta.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenlbatt/CNET)

The new beta adjusts how C++ represents JavaScript, which will allow Firefox to run numeric-heavy code more efficiently. In a blog post announcing the new version, Firefox said the end result of this change will be more streamlined graphics in Web apps. Firefox developer Rob Sayre offers more specifics on how this change affects the development of the JaegerMonkey JavaScript engine that's meant to debut in Firefox 4.

The beta also introduces native multitouch compatibility on Windows 7. This means that developers will be able to take advantage of the new multitouch API, which is expected to eventually filter down to users through add-ons.

On a note related to the ongoing development of the beta, some readers might have noticed that all of the options are missing from the Help sub-menu under the unified Firefox menu in the upper left corner of the interface. A Mozilla representative said that the developers are working on a fix for the bug, which includes the menu missing the "check for updates" option, the "About:" sub-menu that provides quick links to Firefox configuration menus such as "about:addons" and "about:config", and the "about:firefox" menu that provides current version data.

You can access it by forcing the menubar to appear under the Customize option. Users who only want to see their current version information can also type "about:" without the quotes to check which version of Firefox is currently being used.

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