Aurora 14 is out! What's new in it?

We have just released Firefox Aurora 14, which includes a number of improvements. If all goes well, these features should be released in 12 weeks as part of Firefox 14.


There are a few of things we’d like to shine some extra light on here:

  • Native Fullscreen Support in Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion”: Firefox can now use the native full-screen mode and button. It animates and behaves properly in that mode, like any other well-integrated application.
  • Great news for gamers! The Pointer Lock API, sometimes called the Mouse Lock API, lets games better control the mouse, by removing the pointer and letting the application capture and handle the mouse move coordinates directly.
  • The four default ways to search — using the search bar, the address bar, the contextual menu, or the home page, now all use the Google https search service in Aurora. This increase the security of your searches.
  • The dev tools now allow easily inspecting pseudo-classes states: when hovering over an element with the dev tools activated, the contextual menu now lists the different states of the element, like :hover, :active, and :focus. When selecting one of these items, the element is locked in the associated state and can be inspected. That feature was already there in Aurora 13, but the interface to access it is now very convenient!
    The menu allowing the pseudo-class state to be locked on an element
    The element with the :hover pseudo-class locked

List of improvements

Here is a (more or less) complete list of the improvements.


  • New keyboard shortcuts have been added to the Source Editor JS module (used by the Scratchpad or the Style Editor) to quickly jump to the code block start and end.
  • Still in the Source Editor module, it is now possible to add or remove a comment on a line or the current selection with one keystroke.
  • Beside the new pseudo-class inspector, several improvements have been made to the infobar which has now an inspect button to the left and a node menu to the right (for example, it may be used to set the pseudo-class state on the node!)


  • The Pointer Lock API has been implemented.
  • A proposal for the replacement of MutationEvents, introduced in DOM Level 2 but deprecated in DOM Events Level 3, has landed, prefixed: instead of events, an API allowing callbacks to be registered has been crafted.
  • New, with added performance, DOM bindings for non-list objects have landed. Currently XMLHttpRequest is the only non-list object using them. These bindings are often called the “Paris DOM bindings” as they were designed in that city.
  • The <a title="SVGSVGElement DOM Element" href="">SVGSVGElement</a> has been fixed to be a DOM Element.
  • HTMLProgressElement, the DOM object associated with the <a href=""><progress></a> HTML element, was a <a href="">HTMLFormElement</a>. This was incorrect and has been fixed. It is a simple <a href="">HTMLElement</a> now.



User Interface

  • The popup bubble containing a link URL that appears on the bottom of the page when hovering over a link is now longer when the URL doesn’t fit in it.
  • As part of the Australis theme evolution project, the navigation bar buttons have been modified (on Windows only).
  • The identity block has been redesigned. The favicon has been changed to show an icon describing the connection used:
    • The page is served unencrypted (http).
      Nav bar with http (unencrypted)
    • The page is served encrypted (via https) but some of its content comes from unencrypted servers.
      Nav bar with https (and unencrypted content)
    • The page and its content is served encrypted (and the server uses a CV certificate).
      Nav bar with https and CV certificate
    • The page and its content is served encrypted (and the server uses an EV certificate).
      Nav bar with https and EV certificate



  • Both the Internet Explorer and Safari migrators have been rewritten in JavaScript. Using asynchronous I/O, they don’t block the browser when they run and it improves their maintainability. This has been done as part of the Snappy project.
  • On Linux, the $LANG system variable is now used when not able to locate a given dictionary in another way. Useful for system-wide installed dictionaries.
  • For add-ons writers, the js-ctypes library has been extended. Variadic ctypes functions — that is, support for functions with a variable number of arguments — have been added.
  • Several bugs in our WebGL implementation have been fixed (and workarounds for some common driver bugs added). We are close to WebGL 1.0.1 conformance, but your help is still needed.
  • Extra flexibility has been added to the Garbage Collector (GC): it could previously be applied on a single compartment or on all compartments. Now it can also be applied on a set of compartments. This will let it be launched in more cases in the future, leading to a finer control of memory and of GC pauses.

Note: pdf.js and the new panel-based Download Manager, though they landed on Nightly, have not been lifted to Aurora 14 as they need further polishing. Similarly, support of GStreamer for videos, though it landed last week, has not been activated yet.

About Jean-Yves Perrier

Jean-Yves is a program manager in the Developer Outreach team at Mozilla. Previous he was an MDN Technical Writer specialized in Web platform technologies (HTML, CSS, APIs), and for several years the MDN Content Lead.

More articles by Jean-Yves Perrier…


  1. Jithin

    Sad that pdf.js and new Download Manager are not making it for Aurora this time. I have been using this on Nightly and I love them. I believe once Firefox 14 is released it will be the most beautiful browser and will have a real chance on gaining lost ground.

    April 27th, 2012 at 18:22

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      Both of them need more love before being ready for a wider audience. The pdf.js has a huge list of improvements to do before it (and they are working hard on them!) and the Download Manager landed on Nightly only a few days before Aurora 14, it is wise to handle early feedback before to let it embark the release train.

      April 28th, 2012 at 07:31

  2. Boris

    For what it’s worth, the new list-object bindings shipped in Firefox 10. The Paris bindings are for non-list objects; the only object using them in Aurora 14 is XMLHttpRequest.

    April 27th, 2012 at 21:09

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      Thanks a lot, I fixed the article.

      April 28th, 2012 at 07:31

  3. Stuart

    I really dislike the fact that the new identity block makes it much harder to see which site you’re on, or whether the connection is encrypted, or whether the certificate is EV.

    Now there’s just an unsightly grey globe that occasionally becomes an almost-indistinguishable grey padlock. I can no longer glance at the top of the top of the screen to check that TLS or EV is being used. And, as expected, the change is irreversible.

    April 27th, 2012 at 22:19

  4. Stuart Robson

    I’m a little concerned by this part of a sentence – “Related to CSS transforms, the skew() function has been removed from the spec,” I’ve had a quick look but can’t see that it’s been removed from the working draft (note: I’ve not checked an email lists or the latest WG conf call). Have you got a link to this?
    Also surely removing something from a spec in working draft is potentially harmful in two ways.
    1. You’re possibly ‘breaking the web’ for developers that have implemented this on sites.
    2. Being a working draft I’m sure it coud ‘go back in’.

    I finish by asking were you or would you be ask quick to remove and HTML5 element like HGROUP or TIME for example? Both of which (as I’m sure you know) got removed and put back in.

    April 27th, 2012 at 23:34

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      The discussion at the CSS WG is there: Please don’t comment in it. In this case, there is more than a broad consensus, there is unanimity.

      Anyway the skew() behavior can be trivially achieved using matrix() so if you are using it, just fix your site.

      By the way, it won’t break the web: the whole point of prefixes is to be able to experiment. If you rely on prefixes on production you need to have a plan: things will break in the future (prefix versions are regularly removed from implementations) and as long as CR has not been reached you can’t use unprefixed version safely as the syntax is not decided. So you need a maintenance plan.

      April 28th, 2012 at 08:05

  5. pd

    Is any more information on GStreamer support available outside of the bug tracking the implementation, ?

    Mr Eich’s recent post on the implementation of h.264 support focused on mobile. He was at that point still unsure about desktop support. With GStreamer support soon available, will h.264 be supported in desktop Firefox? Will Firefox with GStreamer support enabled be able to utilise any codec installed on a system, or just a subset of codecs chosen by Mozilla and bundledor compiled into Firefox?

    Even though there is no official GStreamer binary for Windows, the GStreamer integration author Alessandro Decina commented in the bug thus:

    “Should work with Firefox on any platform, including Windows.”

    Can anybody confirm that a version of Firefox will soon be available with GStreamer support enabled by default on Windows XP ?

    April 28th, 2012 at 02:34

  6. Jean-Yves Perrier

    There is no further information available. No decision has been taken for desktop: support for H.264 may happen there or not, with or without GStreamer. That’s one of the reason GStreamer wasn’t lifted in Aurora: it won’t get into the train release as long as the decision has not been taken.

    Also allowing the use of any system codec has never been option: a lot of codecs are malwares and it would be dangerous. If any, only a very small subset of system codecs will be white listed.

    Finally the whole point is of course not to embed these codecs in Firefox as this will mean paying license fees. So no they won’t be compiled into Firefox. Neither distributed with it.

    April 28th, 2012 at 07:55

  7. Benoit Jacob

    Pointer lock is not about preventing the pointer from leaving the window. It’s about removing the pointer and instead letting the application capture mouse move coordinates directly.

    April 28th, 2012 at 21:13

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      Thanks, Benoît. I updated the post.

      April 28th, 2012 at 22:05

  8. Name

    the new identity block is stupid

    April 29th, 2012 at 09:19

  9. dargx

    hey developers peoples of the mozilla firefox,why do yours not modify the interface?
    i not hate the interface of the firefox,but,this is so sad.
    firefox 4 to firefox 12 is one interface to repeat.
    all peoples use firefox,now use google chrome.
    my cumpriments,an good job to modify the interface(or not).

    April 29th, 2012 at 09:26

  10. Andriy

    When will you improve HTML5? On I’m don’t see progress in diagram

    April 30th, 2012 at 03:06

    1. Ferdinand

      That ‘test’ seems extremely biased towards chrome. Giving points for h264, mp3, webforms… And saying that Firefox doesn’t support web audio…?

      July 17th, 2012 at 14:15

  11. Benoit Jacob

    Andriy, this post explains many ways in which Aurora 14 “improves html5”. Full screen improvements, WebGL improvements and Pointer Lock support are some examples. If that test doesn’t see that, then it’s not a very good test.

    April 30th, 2012 at 05:04

  12. Simon B.

    Does it include a version compiled for Windows7 64 bit native?

    May 1st, 2012 at 01:46

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      64-bit Windows version are only available for Nightly. As they are less performent than their 32-bit equivalent, it is recommended to use the 32-bit version on Windows7 64-bits.

      May 1st, 2012 at 22:12

  13. Anonymous

    “The four default ways to search … now all use the Google https search service in Aurora. This increase the privacy of your searches.”

    I’d rather say “This increase the security of your searches.”
    Privacy would be increased if you’d switch to other default search engine that don’t use the search queries like Google do.

    Many thanks for else.

    May 1st, 2012 at 07:02

    1. Janet Swisher

      I’ve changed the wording as you suggest. That is more accurate.

      May 2nd, 2012 at 11:53

  14. Vadim Makeev

    Please rename your screenshots from “Capture-d’écran-2012-04-26-à-…png” to something more web safe, otherwise paths would be broken in Safari on OS X.’écran-2012-04-26-à-14.18.15.png — 404

    May 1st, 2012 at 12:26

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      The links in the page are of the form
      which are Web safe, not the one you give (with accented letters).

      Where did you see those?

      May 1st, 2012 at 22:10

      1. Vadim Makeev

        In Safari 5.2 on OS X, as I said above. By web safe I mean something like banana.png or apple.jpg, but not %A%B%C%D.gif.

        May 2nd, 2012 at 06:10

      2. Vadim Makeev

        See screen shots:

        May 2nd, 2012 at 06:13

        1. Janet Swisher

          Jean-Yves is taking some time off. I modified the media file names. They now work for me in Safari.

          May 2nd, 2012 at 11:55

          1. Vadim Makeev

            Thank you, Janet.

            May 3rd, 2012 at 09:15

  15. Bob

    Cross platform compatibility? With I.E.? Camino?

    May 1st, 2012 at 12:33

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      I don’t understand your questions.

      May 1st, 2012 at 22:11

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    May 5th, 2012 at 23:25

  17. Andriy

    Today I see that Firefox not full support IDN in config (network.IDN.whitelist.*) by default. In config need add next domains: .tv, .net, .cc, .su, .com, .name. This IDN domains, for example, must support Cyrillic, but not supported in Firefox 12. When will you add this domains in config by default?

    May 7th, 2012 at 02:50

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      To support IDN on a given domain two conditions must be met:
      1. The NIC must have rules in place to prevent security problems (like similar glyphs, e.g. the cyrillic а and latin a must not lead to confusing names).
      2. The NIC must ask Mozilla to include IDN support.

      For instance, a couple of weeks ago AFNIC asked for support of IDN on .fr domains, as they started selling domains with accented letters on May 1st, 2012. Their request was granted in a couple of days and is currently being tested on Nightly 15. It will be added in the next few days in Aurora 14 and Beta 13.

      Of course, even if IDN is not enabled for a given domain, the Web site is accessible using the punycode syntax.

      Do you know if point 1 is ok for the domains you listed? Because I would not use a browser who doesn’t follow that rule. Far too dangerous.

      May 7th, 2012 at 02:57

  18. Andriy

    This lists domains I see in most famous ukrainian domain and hosting provider (this link .) And all this international domains with support Cyrillic this site already selling.

    May 7th, 2012 at 03:40

    1. Jean-Yves Perrier

      Our policy on the subject is described in this document:

      You can see that the .ua NIC have filled a request and that this has been granted. The NICs associated to the TLD you listed clearly not.

      If you want these to be included, you have to ask them to set up an adequate policy (character set + homograph avoidance) and fill a request for inclusion.

      Oh yes, don’t mix the domain provider (such the one you listed) and the NIC (such ). That really is the NIC that must fill the request for inclusion.

      May 7th, 2012 at 04:04

      1. Andriy

        I sent NIC email. In tld-idn-policy-list page I see link “Character List” for all domain character list ( in this list Ukrainian language available for .net, .com, .name domains. But I don’t understand why this domains not supported Ukrainian characters in Firefox.

        May 8th, 2012 at 13:26

        1. Gervase Markham

          IDN is currently supported on a per-domain basis. See (although I think there’s a few more domains I need to add to that list). If a domain has not applied, giving evidence of its anti-spoofing policy, they are not enabled. This is true of .net, .com and .name. If you want IDN support in those TLDs, encourage them to apply.

          Having said that, we are moving to a new system: . But it’s not implemented yet.

          May 10th, 2012 at 05:10

  19. cjrcl

    pdf.js is plagued with performance issues which make CPU consumption no less than 25%. Thus further improvement is a must.

    July 4th, 2012 at 23:52

  20. jack

    A few years ago this would have barely been a point release.

    Oh and the new back/forward button sucks.

    July 17th, 2012 at 09:33

    1. Ferdinand

      “A few years ago this would have barely been a point release.”
      And now it is merely a 6 week release. What is your point?

      July 17th, 2012 at 14:19

  21. ssam

    On gentoo I have build firefox with –enable-gstreamer (there is a gstreamer USE flag, and you need to disable either PGO or SANDBOX for the build to work). I can now watch H.264 files in video tags. it works for embedded vimeo videos, but for some reason not the actual vimeo pages.

    July 30th, 2012 at 06:14

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