Thursday, February 21, 2013



Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux introduces a built-in browser PDF viewer that allows you to read PDFs directly within the browser, making reading PDFs easier because you don’t have to download the content or read it in a plugin like Reader.

Hacker News notes that the PDF viewer is implemented in 35K lines of JavaScript. It’s impressive that the performance is apparently acceptable even on older hardware. Presumably this is also more secure than using a native plug-in.

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Stunning work - but I don't get it... why using JavaScript for that? It's slow as hell - I just tried the example at:

loading, scrolling zooming is slow, CPU jumps to 100% , even on my 8-core Retina MacBook Pro.

I'm always astonished to find zillions of java-script examples that go like this: "Impressive JavaScript demo: book-style animation in pure HTML/JS" - then they show graphics I've already seen 10-20 years ago, done in native code.

Same here: My PDF-Viewer on my 66 MHz PowerMac was faster than this :-)

@kusmi Are you sure that you remember how fast that PowerMac was? It took ages just to load Acrobat. On my Retina MacBook Pro, the JavaScript example is quite fast except that it takes a few seconds to load some of the later pages. The CPU use is between 20 and 55%. Not native, silky smooth speed, but it’s not bad at all. I’d probably pick it over Adobe Reader, which still takes ages to load and flickers.

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