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pdf.js: Natvie Rendering of PDF with HTML5 and JavaScript Inside Firefox

Traditionally, anyone wishes to access a PDF file on an internet 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). But, how about a PDF reader in HTML5/JavaScript. That’s exactly what Mozilla has been quietly but surely working on, revealed.

Displaying PDFs directly in the browser would definitely improve the user’s experience. There’re 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).

Mozilla team have been developing pdf.js the code on GitHub albeit quietly, for about a month now. “We intend to use pdf.js to render PDFs “natively”, within Firefox itself. Our most immediate goal is to implement the most commonly used PDF features so we can render a large majority of the PDFs found on the web,” revealed the Mozilla.

“Initially we’ll make a Firefox extension available to interested users that enables inline PDF rendering using pdf.js, but our ultimate goal is of course shipping pdf.js with Firefox. This’ll result in a substantial usability but also security improvement for our users. pdf.js uses only safe web languages and doesn’t contain any native code pieces attackers could exploit. Additionally, we want pdf.js to be a community driven and governed open-source project,” Mozilla said.

If you want to see a demo of pdf.js, click on this link. There are still glitches and rendering artifacts, but you will get the picture.

[Via: Mozilla]

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