Mozilla has now started to integrate a native PDF reader into Firefox 14 versions. A new nightly build of Firefox 14 has been released over the weekend, which brings with it a new integrated PDF viewer within Firefox.
When a PDF is now opened in the Firefox 14 a browse tab is created and a toolbar appears at the top enabling you to go to a specific page, change the zoom level, print, download the PDF, or bookmark its current location.
You can now download a version of the latest Firefox 14 browser to give the viewer a go for yourself from the Mozilla Nightly channel. Simple download the browser and then enable the PDF viewer within the extensions section of the settings menu. Andreas Gal, one of the authors of pdf.js explained the benefits for a integrated PDF viewer back in 2011:
“Displaying PDFs directly in the browser would definitely improve the user’s experience. There are literally millions (billions?) of PDFs floating around the web, and on many devices loading PDFs switches to a different application (e.g. Preview on OS X and PDF View on Android). Also, external PDF readers and many plugins don’t support important PDF features well, including content links and fetch-as-you-go (HTTP range requests).
The traditional approach to rendering PDFs in a browser is to use a native-code plugin, either Adobe’s own PDF Reader or other commercial renderers, or some open source alternative (e.g. poppler). From a security perspective, this enlarges the trusted code base, and because of that Google’s Chrome browser goes through quite some pain to sandbox the PDF renderer to avoid code injection attacks. An HTML5-based implementation is completely immune to this class of problems.”