Firefox 19 Features New Built-In PDF Viewer

By Hilda Scott email: , Feb 22, 2013 07:39 AM EST

Mozilla launched Firefox 19 on Tuesday, Feb. 19; the new version of the browser features a built-in PDF viewer that allows users to view PDF files within the browser. By eliminating the need to download the PDF file in order to view the content, this saves time and a few extra clicks.

Adobe Acrobat is no longer necessary for Firefox 19 users, since the portable document file can be read directly on the desktop. Current Firefox users who already have the Adobe Reader plug-in can disable it by selecting Tools from the browser's menu bar, then selecting Add-Ons and then the Plug-Ins tab. Then look for and disable Adobe Reader or uninstall it altogether.

The new way to view PDF files in Firefox 19 is more secure than using a plug-in, "For a number of years there have been several plug-ins for viewing PDFs within Firefox. Many of these plug-ins come with proprietary, closed source code that could potentially expose users to security vulnerabilities," said Bill Walker, engineering manager, and Brendan Dahl, software enginee, at Mozilla on the company's blog. Prior to its official release, the built-in PDF viewer was tested in Firefox Beta in January. 

Developers Andreas Gal and Chris Jones teamed up on project PDF.js to create the viewer that combines the power of HTML5 and JavaScript.

Firefox for devices running on the Android OS is now available to more phones to offer users an alternative for browsing the Web. The browser offers theme support on Android so users can customize the look and feel of the browser.

The new built-in PDF viewer is the only major change in the new Firefox 19. Other changes include 12 security patches of vulnerabilities found in Firefox 18, most of them critical. Firefox 19 is available for download for Windows, Mac and Linux in over 70 languages. 

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