Firefox 24 Set to Update Browser Console, Android Features

Mozilla's open-source browser will receive new developer-friendly capabilities on the desktop and user-facing features on Android.


Mozilla has delivered the beta version of its open-source Firefox 24 browser to provide developers and early adopters with a preview of technologies that will be generally available for consumers next month. The Firefox 24 Beta release follows hot on the heels of last week's release of the Firefox 23 browser, which includes new security and social-sharing features.

The Firefox 24 Beta has a new Browser Console that is targeted for developer use. The Browser Console is a replacement for the existing Error Console in Firefox, which has long provided Web developers with a window that provides Website error logs. The Browser Console aims to provide move visibility for both Website and Mozilla add-on developers into what is going on with a given page and its associated elements.

From a user-experience perspective, Firefox 24 introduces a new feature that will easily let users close multiple tabs to the right of an existing open tab. So, for example, if a user has an open tab for the popular Reddit site and opens links from it (typically to the right), now he or she can close all those open tabs with one action, instead of having to close each tab individually.

"When we open new tabs, they appear on the end, and so naturally tabs that have a longer lifetime end up being promoted to the start-side of the bar," Jared Wein, senior software engineer at Mozilla, wrote in a blog post. "This leads us towards the situation where closing tabs 'to the right' is a simple way of closing the ephemeral tabs."

For Android users, Firefox 24 will bring WebRTC (Real Time Communications) capabilities to the mobile platform. WebRTC is an emerging open-source standard that will enable the browser to directly integrate voice and video communications capabilities with JavaScript.

On the desktop side, Mozilla has included a fully featured WebRTC implementation since the Firefox 22 release in June.

Firefox 24 for Android isn't just about getting new features that exist on the desktop, it also debuts at least one new mobile-only capability as well. The new near-field communication (NFC) bump capability enables Firefox for Android users to share tabs simply by bumping two Android phones together.

Firefox 24 is currently scheduled to become generally available Sept. 17.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.