New theme, top performance, coming to Firefox this year

Mozilla has published the Firefox roadmap for 2012, stating what major new features and changes are to be expected this year.

It turns out the list is pretty long which hints on a very important year for Firefox development and users.

The user interface is due to some pretty enhancements under the new Australis theme revision across all officially supported platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android). As you can see in the screenshot below, the result is a cleaner interface and very similar in all platforms. Continue reading New theme, top performance, coming to Firefox this year

Firefox’s New Tab Page lands on Nightly and Aurora channels

It has taken a long while, but finally, Mozilla is bringing a more helpful and lively new tab page to replace the current blank page you normally get.

It has been available in Nightly releases for a few weeks now, but it has been turned on for a week onthe Aurora channel so more users can provide feedback.

Initially you get a set of Firefox recommendations based on your most frequently and recently visited pages. You won’t get a thumbnail until you actually click on one of them. Somehow I couldn’t get a thumbnail for my local bank or twitter no matter how many times I clicked on the thumbnails, but this is part of the bug hunting at this stage.

You can reorder, pin or remove (and undo) a thumbnail. You can also drag a bookmark to a thumbnail position to add it to the new tab page, though it is not discoverable at all. I just tried for good and it worked.

There is no option to rename the thumbnail or add more items to the page, but the whole idea is to make this a simple unbotrusive feature. New tab backgrounds are also under consideration but there is no ETA, so don’t hold your breath.

For a do-it-all new tab page, I recommend New Tab King.

The new new tab page is coming with Firefox 13, that is June later this year. To try it now, grab an Aurora build, or, if feeling particularly bold, a Nightly.

Aurora, Mozilla’s card for faster Firefox releases

Mozilla has announced today its new development model that aims to deliver new major releases in shorter time frames.

Firefox 1.5, the first Firefox update took about a year after the original release to be ready for users. About another year for Firefox 2.0, more than a year and a half for Firefox 3, one more for Firefox 3.5, about 7 months for 3.6, and a more than a year for Firefox 4. Note that these are approximate durations, in reality, Firefox next release development starts a few months before the current one goes final.

While these development cycles have served well for the past years, allowing Mozilla to ignite the browser development scene with solid releases, and take the browser wars to the web standards, performance, and usability field, it has also become clear that we need those improvements coming faster. Continue reading Aurora, Mozilla’s card for faster Firefox releases

Meet the new Firefox Add-ons Manager

It has taken a long time for the Firefox team to come up with a significant update to the Add-ons Manager, but it’s finally coming to Firefox.next. It looks and works great and there are a lot of opportunities for the new interface.

The Add-ons Manager as you knew it is gone. The new version works in a tab with a sidebar to choose what kinds of add-ons you want to work with: Languages, Extensions, Themes, and Plugins. Plus the Get Add-ons section that integrates with Mozilla Add-ons (not hooked yet) for the fastest, easiest experience.

New Firefox.next Add-ons manager

Continue reading Meet the new Firefox Add-ons Manager

Firefox.next tab bar becomes customizable

The latest nightly releases of Firefox.next come with customizable tab bars, which means you can drag buttons off (like the new tab and list all tabs buttons) and into the tab bar to make it suit your needs.

This can be used to reduce all Firefox toolbars to a single one as shown in the screen shot. Right now there is no way to set a minimum size for the location or search bars and they are just compressed as you open more tabs, becoming unusable when working with more than 7 tabs (in a 1280px wide screen).

Continue reading Firefox.next tab bar becomes customizable