So, the moment is finally there! I realize I've not posted on here for a while, my main reason being I wanted to be able to actually have something to tell you guys the next time I would talk about Direct2D. And it seems that now I do! After a lot of hard work from myself and many others at Mozilla who have been assisting me in getting Direct2D and particularly DirectWrite stable and functional enough for people to start trying it out, I believe our Direct2D support is now ready for the world to try their hands at!
If you download the latest nightly here you will be the proud owner of an official experimental build that has support for Direct2D. This build will automatically update to our new experimental nightly builds, giving you all the bugfixes we're working on for various problems that are still around.
Does that mean if I download the latest nightly I get Direct2D support?
Well, no. Since we don't want to regress any functionality in our browser for the majority of our users, by default your build will not use DirectWrite. There's a couple of steps you'll need to execute to get it working:
So once I've done this, surely I have this Direct2D support going!
Erm... sorry here folks, but no. There's several reasons why you could still not be having Direct2D support. First of all it's possible you have an extension interfering with Direct2D. Several extensions are known to somewhat disrupt our initialization order, meaning the preferences you've just set are not accessible during initialization of the render mode, which will cause GDI default render-mode.
Then there is another issue, if you're actually on Windows XP and not on Windows Vista or Windows 7, Windows XP actually has no support for Direct2D or DirectWrite, so it will fallback to being just a normal build. I suggest you upgrade .
Finally, if you do not have a high-end DirectX 9 graphics card, or a DirectX 10 graphics card, insufficient hardware support will be detected. This will cause the renderer to fallback to using GDI as well, in order to prevent you from suffering a slow browser, or even worse, a crash!
Now, all this reading, by now I must have Direct2D support?!
Right, if you satisfy all the above conditions, you're probably there! We don't have any way to verify at the moment (we're working on something), but one way is to go here. If it runs nice and smooth when you size photos up to fullscreen, it's working!
It is working! Now what?
You should enjoy your new browsing experience, in most cases you should have a noticeably faster and more responsive browser, particularly when using graphically intensive websites (not using flash, which will still be slow). If you find any bugs, please use our traditional reporting method of going to bugzilla and see if they've already been filed. If they haven't, file it, and we'll try to get to it and fix it as soon as possible!
There's a very cool forum thread that tracks the currently known issues, you should have a look there as well.
Well, that's about it!
I apologize to everyone for taking so long to get this ready for putting it out there, and for not providing experimental builds over the last months. The fact is its surprising how much you can do on the web that at least I didn't know about! And in how many interesting ways it can break . But I hope you can now all enjoy the latest and greatest of Direct2D builds. And no longer suffer any manual updating of your build! Happy Browsing!
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