Plugins like Java will be blocked by default in upcoming Firefox versions, as Mozilla implements its click-to-play feature. Introduced to the Firefox Aurora development channel last September, it means you have to agree to run most plugins you encounter on the web, instead of them running automatically.
Mozilla explains that plugins are a major source of crashes, hangs and resource hogging. Java has already been deemed unsafe by Mozilla, and click-to-play is a continuation of the company’s push to get developers to use standards-based Web solutions instead of plugins.
To give developers time to adapt, a temporary whitelist for plugins has been created. Developers can apply to be included in it before March 31st, and if accepted will be excluded from click-to-play for four consecutive Firefox versions with the possibility to apply for a further extension later.
Flash is excluded from click to play altogether, as it is so ubiquitous and also because Mozilla’s ‘security and plugin teams work closely with Adobe to make sure that Firefox users are protected from instability or security issues in the Flash plugin’. That’s in stark contrast to Java, where Mozilla has complained about slow response times to security problems from Oracle.
Overall, this should result in a faster, smoother and safer browsing experience. Most plugins are ‘legacy technology’ (outdated), and many are not available at all on mobile browsers, so this will help give users the same experience wherever they are browsing from.
Google’s Chrome is moving in the same direction, with its plan to remove all extensions from the Chrome Store that use outdated plugins by this September this year.