Firefox 13 Available Now
Exactly as the company promised it would early last year, Mozilla is proceeding full steam ahead with its rapid release cycle for the Firefox browser. Version 13 of Firefox first arrived in a beta version in April, adding a number of notable features. Now, version 13 is available (although it officially launches tomorrow). Here is what's under the hood.
Among major changes in version 13, When opening a new tab, users are now presented with their most visited pages in one collection. This works similarly to how the same feature has worked in Google Chrome. Also, Firefox's default home page now has quicker access to bookmarks, history, settings, and more.
For some time now, Google has been working on a new web application layer called SPDY, which is described here. It's designed to make accessing pages and content online faster, and Firefox 13 includes it. SPDY also ensures SSL encryption across all communications.
Mozilla previously put a blog post up about the new features in Firefox 13, which says this about SPDY:
"SPDY is a protocol designed as a successor to HTTP that reduces the amount of time it takes for websites to load. SPDY encrypts all communication with SSL, which makes browsing more secure. Users will notice quicker page load speeds on sites that support SPDY networking."
It appears that SPDY is going to be a permanent part of Firefox going forward, and since Google is pursuing it as well, it promises to be a strong standard.
The Firefox 13 beta also includes a number of improvements to Web Developer Tools. According to Mozilla, "Page Inspector now allows you to lock in CSS pseudo-classes on inspected page elements and Style Editor now saves CSS files loaded via file:// URLs without prompting to make the workflow for experimenting with CSS much quicker."
You can get started with version 13 now, and if you run into problems, check the support forum here.