Mozilla this week unveiled a preview of a redesigned, re-engineered Firefox, dubbed "Quantum," making good on its dedication to rejuvenate the browser.
"We're releasing the Beta of a complete new Firefox, one which's powered by a very reinvented, modernized engine," Nick Nguyen, who leads product growth on the browser, mentioned in a Tuesday submit to a firm weblog. Formally designated model 57, the discharge has additionally been given the Quantum identify, mentioned Nguyen, to "convey the magnitude of the modifications" within the browser.
Mozilla has numbered, however by no means named, its Firefox releases.
Firefox Quantum depends on a revamped rendering engine, particularly a new CSS (cascading model sheets) format engine, which was, together with different parts, written with Rust, a language that originated at Mozilla's analysis group. The consequence, claimed Nguyen, is a major velocity enchancment, as a result of the engine runs in parallel throughout a number of processor cores.
"Firefox Quantum is about 2X sooner than Firefox was a 12 months in the past," he mentioned, citing the Speedometer 2.zero benchmark, and evaluating Quantum to March's Firefox 52.
Though Mozilla has been engaged on Quantum since 2013, it was solely 11 months in the past that the corporate's head of engineering pledged to ship main enhancements to core elements of the browser in 2017. The plan then - and which stays in place - was to slowly change parts within the present Gecko engine with ones crafted by the "Servo" undertaking.
"Future releases of Firefox will embrace Quantum Render, a model new, GPU-optimized rendering pipeline primarily based on Servo's WebRender undertaking, and Quantum DOM Scheduler, a brand new method that ensures that tabs within the background cannot decelerate your energetic tabs," Dan Callahan, a Mozilla engineer, mentioned in a separate submit yesterday.
Firefox Quantum's beta additionally previewed a brand new person interface (UI), the primary main redesign since 2011's Firefox four. The UI and person expertise (UX) modifications, derived from an ongoing undertaking tapped as "Photon," additionally emphasize velocity enhancements, each actual and easily perceived.
General, Quantum's UI matches the minimalism of different browsers, notably Google's Chrome and Microsoft's Edge, by -- lastly -- combining the tackle and search bars, and decreasing the muddle on the high of the window. Chrome, which pioneered the look after which basically set browser UI tips, has conquered all now that Firefox has allotted with its old-school strategy.
Firefox has been on an upswing over the last 12 months, recouping four.6 proportion factors of person share - as measured by analytics vendor Internet Functions - within the final 12 months. In August, an estimated 12.three% of all on-line customers ran Firefox. The Quantum undertaking has been essential to Mozilla's restoration technique - Firefox as soon as accounted for a few quarter of the world's person share - so will probably be fascinating to see whether or not the enhancements and new UI can increase the browser additional by taking share from the main Chrome (59.four%) or the declining Web Explorer/Edge mixture (21.2%).
Firefox Quantum will probably be promoted from Beta to the Launch channel on Nov. 14.