Firefox 12 beta makes more than 85 changes to its developer tools, Windows users will no longer get pestered by a User Account Control pop-up every time the browser updates, and the HTML5 media controls have been updated
Updated today, Firefox 12 beta (download for Windows | Mac | Linux), pushes the browser closer to some of Google's notable achievements with Chrome. However, Mozilla's renewed focus on Web developers is a clear indication that it sees value in paying attention to the relatively small but hugely influential developer communities.
A Mozilla representative told CNET that Firefox 13 Aurora is due sometime on Monday, while the company has certified that this week's Firefox stable release has been moved to automatic updates. It had been restricted to manual updates until Mozilla could determine that Microsoft's major Patch Tuesday security update wouldn't interfere with the browser.
As explained when the feature came to Firefox 12 Aurora, the User Account Control change means that when the browser updates, Windows won't ask you to approve the update with a User Account Control pop-up before downloading the changes. Instead, as in Chrome, the update will happen automatically. This might not be a huge deal to the vast majority of Firefox users, getting updates not much more often than every six weeks, but it means that security patches and other under-the-hood improvements can be delivered without interruption.
It's part of a philosophical shift in software management that takes its cues from mobile apps. Chrome, and now Firefox, behave more like mobile software. The updates are automatic, and happen without requiring input.
Vast chunks of the developer tools built into Firefox have been fixed, improved, tweaked, or otherwise altered, including the Web Console, Style Editor, Page Inspector, Style Inspector, and HTML View, as well as the recently introduced Scratchpad and Page Inspector 3D View.
A smaller but still notable change has been to improve the HTML5 media controls, such as adding a full screen button. You can read the full changes in the Firefox 12 beta here. Firefox 12 is expected to graduate from beta to stable around six weeks from now.