This week Firefox unveiled its brand spankin’ new Firefox Quantum, a newer, sexier Firefox deployment set to compete head-to-head with Google Chrome and Apple Safari. With a significant user-interface refresh and speed increases claiming to surpass that of Google Chrome, Firefox Quantam hopes to reclaim its user base and expand beyond its 6% share of browser usage. The overhaul, which took over a year and impacted 75% of the code (that’s almost 5 million lines of code!), dramatically alters the way that the browser interacts with its plug-ins. Here’s what you need to know about the new Quantum roll-out:
- You’ll love the UI – It’s sleek design offers a minimalist feel that embraces modern style and functionality. With themes to suit your mood and the option to create your own, the customization and personalization options are limitless.
- It will be fast – 2x faster than v56, Quantum uses 30% less memory than Chrome so your pages load faster with less impact to your hardware. With a responsive engine, you can open as many tabs as you want without affecting performance.
- Private Browsing is real – Quantum blocks online trackers while you browse and won’t remember your history after you’re done. By blocking some ads and scripts that bog down browsing, pages load up to 44% faster.
- Some extensions/plug-ins will cease to operate – “All legacy add-ons will have strict compatibility set, with a maximum version of 56. This is the end of the line for legacy add-on compatibility.” Firefox has explained that in Quantum, all extensions/plug-ins will have to migrate to the new version, requiring code changes and re-listing the extensions. For some users and developers that rely on key extensions to operate, this may be the tipping point…
- Your workflows will change – As with any dramatic update, aspects of your interaction with the browser will have to change. For some users, they will have to choose between changing their workflows or changing their browsers.
"There are some people's workflows that are going to stop working. This is always super painful"
- Mark Mayo, Mozilla's Senior Vice President of Firefox.
As with any digital asset, performance remains key. With this new change, Firefox Quantum will dramatically affect how people interact with the browser, for better or for worse. Only time will tell if people choose to change to fit Firefox, or opt not to update and keep working efficiently.