Skip to comments.Mozilla Prepares to Re-Invent Firefox with Australis Update
Posted on 06/04/2013 4:37:34 PM PDT by ShadowAce
Mozilla is gearing up for a major user interface overhaul for the open source Firefox web browser. Code-named Australis, the new UI is likely to debut as part of Firefox 25, due out in October of his year.
The Australis overhaul will be the biggest UI change since Firefox 4, which became generally available in March of 2011. After Firefox 4, Mozilla changed its release approach, from having only one or two releases in a year, to a rapid release cycle with new browsers released every six to eight weeks.
"Australis is our internal code name for a set of UI changes that is about answering the question of how do we build a browser that fits today's web user," Johnathan Nightingale, VP of Firefox Engineering at Mozilla, told Datamation.
There are multiple pieces that are part of the Australis overhaul and not all of the pieces are landing in Firefox 25.
For example, Firefox 20, which was released in April of this year, included a new Download Manager component, which is part of the Australis refresh.
The bulk of the Australis update that is set to land in Firefox 25 involves two major changes. The first is a simplification of the main UI and the other pieces are improvements to the customization interface.
"Every part of the Australis interface is tuned to get rid of distractions," Nightingale said. "Your tab titles and icons and titles are still there, it's easy to get to something if you want to get to it, but really we only need subtle hints there, so simplifying the UI just makes good sense."
From a customization perspective, Nightingale noted that to date, users have been able to customize Firefox through add-ons. With Australis, Firefox will have a more intuitive drag and drop approach for browser customization.
"It makes it easier for people to say, this is how I want to experience the web and these are the tools that I need," Nightingale said.
The customization can include options for how a first level browser menu will look, which isn't necessarily something all users will want to do. But the point is that Mozilla will now give users that choice.
Though Firefox 25 is currently targeted as the landing place for Australis, Nightingale stressed that Mozilla is listening very carefully to users about how they feel about the changes.
Mozilla now has a multi-channel approach to Firefox development that includes a stable release, beta and aurora channels as well as a bleeding edge, nightly release. The most recent Firefox release is Firefox 21, with Firefox 22 now in beta.
FWIW, I don’t care for Mozilla’s “release of the week” approach. Too much for me to keep track of.
I much prefer 2-3 releases per year.
I’m currently running FF 12 and really see no reason to update.
Yeah. I bet I quit using FF after this.
yeah sounds like a game quitter.
Look into ‘Pale Moon’ a Firefox compiled variant browser.
and there is SeaMonkey.
The problem with that is it would force them to look at design issues, instead of just throwing code-monkey/script-kiddies at it.
GUI overhauls never go well. I’m speaking as a Principal level Software QA engineer.
Maybe I should donate my services.
How to kill a browser: rapid release insanity.
Mozilla ruined a good brower with the rapid release idiocy. I am at FF 15. If I upgrade, I lose several add-ons that the developers quit updating because they got tired of frequently updating their add-ons to fit the rapid release.
My bank updates its tunnel security software to the latest FF, but does not make the version retroactive. Thus, it no longer works with with older (FF 15) versions.
Around FF version 11 or 12, Firefox and Adobe Flash had conflicts with each other. That created headaches — update one and the other went haywire. Those conflicts continued for several updates of both FF and Flash.
Mozilla: It wasn’t broken, but we fixed that.
Although a bane to some, I love the Add-on customization capabilities of Firefox — some extensions like Tab Utilities should really be intrinsic to the browser.
If it didn’t seize so much with Speech Recognition (the later versions anyway) I wouldn’t have any problems with it...
i was pretty alright with 3.6
It’s about time for Firefox to fork, with a clean, light stable version and a continued development of the bloatware everything for everybody version, new release a week line.
I’ve been using Waterfox 64 bit browser for a few months now. Seems ok but I noticed it will not let you checkout at Amazon.com. You can sign into your account but cannot complete the checkout process. Firefox Portable was what I used part time prior to Waterfox. Of course Chrome seems to be my goto browser.
I saw a previous reference to FF ESR. Does it accept add-ons, etc.?
I used to have an add-on that checked versions for other add-ons, but the developer quit updating it around FF version 16.
I don’t want to try another FF and have it mess up my current version+add-ons.
I have several different browsers, and they each have their quirks.
I use IE9 occasionally — my bank’s tunnel security software does work with it. But, I can’t download bank statements, etc., because IE9 doesn’t seem to know how to download PDF files.
It is rather frustrating to have a different browser for different occasions.
Hmm, I have been using Waterfox for probably a year with no problems. Amazon works perfectly.
The only thing I can’t do is reliably log into my work’s remote email.
Does anyone know if this will affect Mozilla “Seamonkey”...browser? We use this with NO problems at all!
I’m still using FF as bread-and-butter browser, mostly because I’ve customized it to the nth degree with add-ons etc but Google Chrome tempts me every time I use it.
FF is getting slooooooow (and add-ons are probably mostly to blame).
I like your premise.
Probably too logical to be adopted, sadly....
Just got forced out 3.6
Even though I had things set not to check for updates. A couple of weeks ago I started up Firefox and it just updated on its own. Messed everything up to. All my custom
settings and such. They all went to the default. And some features are just plain not available in settings anymore.
It took me quite a while to figure out what they did with the reload button. Very frustrating.
And I can’t figure out how to stop the automatic updates from the add ons. They don’t even ask.
Same rendering engine (Gecko)...how is this a re-invention?
I like Firefox, but I really hope they fix the issues with memory leaks. 500-600 MBytes memory usage is not unusual,
Yes, it does. It is merely a stabilized version that doesn't update so frequently. I believe it is currently at 17. It does backport the security fixes Mozilla releases.
Sounds like FF is following Microsoft’s lead, with its minimal distractions in Internet Explorer.
I know, can't complain at the price, but, bah!
I guess we will see whether this is an improvement
it’s using Agile Management structures. The idea being that they release some small piece, get customer feedback, then either roll it back or improve it or keep it as-is. This lessens the chance of a big-bang failure like Windows 8
I’ve dropped both FF and Chrome lately and started usi9ng the latest version of the Opera browser. Seems to handle pressure better than FF or chrome.
Been with Mozilla Fire Fox since Netscape ended. I sure dam no fan of Google Chrome and Internet Explorer because both companies lean tot he left and support democrats. Nothing I can do about the Operation system though. Apple is as left as Microsoft. SO changing wouldn’t make a difference. But I like FireFox. Though I have used Opera and Explorer and I did test Chrome before I decided that I shouldn’t support Google. In fact I wouldn’t use Google Fiber which is not far from me if you payed me.
Been with Mozilla FireFox since Netscape ended. I sure am no fan of Google Chrome and Internet Explorer because both companies lean tot he left and support democrats. Nothing I can do about the Operation system though. Apple is as left as Microsoft. So changing wouldn’t make a difference. But I like FireFox. Though I have used Opera and Explorer and I did test Chrome before I decided that I shouldn’t support Google. In fact I wouldn’t use Google Fiber which is not far from me if you payed me.
The thing with updates is that although it improves some features, the plugins and software devices used with Firefox tend to quit working with a update. Most recently the very latest update which it auto updated for me stopped working with my internet downloader software, the Internet Download Manager. So I uninstalled and re-installed the previous version using a site that houses old versions of applications. I then changed the setting to ask me if it wanted to update. And when it does I don’t install. In honesty there is no need to update especially since everything works right and the websites will be the same anyways. But also since there is a big change coming this fall then why not wait till then in 5 months.
I’ve been using Mozilla’s Aurora... Works ok for me. Can be a bit of a memory hog when you have multiple tabs and multiple Windows open.
Tools/Options/Advanced/Updates. Pick your option - from never update to automatically install
The problem is that it takes the pendulum too far. Yes, you're supposed to have a functional (if not necessarily full-featured) product at the end of each sprint, but that does not mean that the sprint result has to be a public release. They would do better to have a beta program where those who want to preview and test upcoming changes get the latest sprint releases, but the public distribution gets updated less often.
Agree completely. And it likes to put tabs on top instead of bottom and you have to go into the code via "about:config" to change it.
There is one add-on that does help in making add-ons work that have been previously disabled due to a FF update:
Who would've guessed! ;>))
Yes I know that one. But after I set it the Add ons were still updating on their own.
Regarding the current Firefox, I had to email the developer of the "Save As" plugin because it stopped working one night and he told me it was due to Firefox changing the code. I got an updated version but now I'm thinking of going back towards FF 12 or 13.
It looks like Chrome!
Thanks for the info, though, ShadowAce... ;-)
I’ve never heard of Pale Moon. How does it stack up against the current FF?
That is a great Dilbert. This agile stuff is not going to end well. It is going to take some people getting killed before they decide it might make sense to sit down and figure out what you are going to do before you do it.
Thanks, I'll look at it.