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What's Next for Firefox in 2011? Faster Updates, Shinier Interface and More

Now that Firefox 4 has already been downloaded more than 8 million times, it’s time to look ahead and see what Mozilla has in store for Firefox for the rest of the year.

The Chrome Model: At Least Three More Version of Firefox This Year

While it took twelve public betas and two release candidates before Mozilla shipped version 4, the organization expects to ship at least three more versions over the course of this year, thanks in large part to a new development process┬áthat resembles Google’s method for regularly pushing out new stable versions of Chrome. These new versions will ship roughly every 16 weeks (with the option to ship even faster) and will be developed in a number of separate branches, just like Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox Development Process

What’s on the Firefox Roadmap for 2011?

Thankfully, we don’t need to resort to guesses when it comes to what’s next for Firefox this year. Mozilla’s roadmap for 2011 lays out the group’s plans in detail. Besides the faster update cadence, Mozilla plans to ensure that there is never more than a 50ms delay between a user action and the application reacting to it. The group also plans to “shine the primary UI until it gleams,” with a focus on making the interface more polished and adding more animations to the user interface.

Are we Pretty Yet

For users, this also means that the next┬áversions of Firefox will bring integrated support for Mozilla’s sharing tool (currently known as F1) and account manager, which is meant to give users more control over their online identities and make signing in to web apps easier.

There has also been some talk about creating support for site-specific browsers to Firefox, though the 2011 roadmap does not stress this anymore.

On the back end, Mozilla obviously plans to continue adding support for modern web technologies, but the Firefox team also plans to finally bring support for its multi-process project Electrolysis to its browser (a project it started in 2009). While Firefox currently sandboxes some plugins like Flash – meaning the browser won’t crash just because Flash crashed – the plan is to give a new process to every open tab. With this technology in place, if a web app in one tab crashes, just that tab is affected and the rest of the browser just continues to work.

Are we Pretty Yet site specific 1

With version 5, which should be available this summer, Mozilla also plans to finally ship a 64-bit build for Windows. Support for Apple’s OS X Lion will arrive in version 6. Given the renewed focus on the ARM platform, it doesn’t come as a surprised that one of the priorities for Firefox in 2011 is to ensure that its just-in-time JavaScript compiler performs well on ARM CPUs.

The Next 3 Versions of Firefox

Here are Mozilla’s plans for the specific versions it plans to release over the course of this year. This list is likely going to change, so take this with a grain of salt. Mozilla also notes that it plans to add anything that improves responsiveness and stability, as well as anything that enhances the interface to these versions whenever it is ready, no matter the current version number.

Firefox 5:[list]

  • Account Manager
  • Simple Sharing UI
  • UI Animation
  • 64 Bit on Windows[/list]

Firefox 6:[list]

  • Web Applications
  • FasterCache
  • OSX 10.7 system integration
  • JavaScript Optimizations[/list]

Firefox 7:[list]

  • out-of-process add-ons with e10s

[/list]

1 COMMENT

  1. Firefox delivers industry-leading privacy and security features like Do Not Track and Content Security Policy to give users control over their personal data and protect them online.

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