A look on upcoming Firefox 57 Beta | a small or big bang?

An entirely new Firefox – why reinvent the wheel again?
Why ? Performance, new clean codebase, better support for new technologies, other philosophy, …

Not the City in Austria – the programming language

Shortcuts:
Performance
Download & Installation

The programming language Rust (Mozilla Rust) comes with some solutions to some issues in the coder’s world.
That makes it especially for programmers more efficient to write code for the feature and not worrying about for example thread issues and more.
But that doesn’t mean that Rust is easy to learn and to use, as always it must be learned and understand.

The Mozilla Quantum project contains all the new implementations written in Rust for Firefox.

  • Stylo(Quantum CSS) was the first project that reached the stable state and is also used in the current Firefox 55 release. With that, they integrated some new ideas how to parse CSS and more. The technique behind it can be found here.
  • WebRender(Quantum Render) contains an optimized GPU rendering.
  • Mozilla is developing more like this, so look around at Mozilla…

Since Servo-Engine is not under the Quantum project, all the features from it are not only aiming on the Gecko-Engine. They fit nicely in with the Servo-Engine.
This engine is also written in Rust and targets better parallelism, security, and more.

So let’s have a look on some benchmarks and other stuff:

Performance

Using Firefox 57 (B4/AMD64/Linux) feels quite faster and smoother compared to FF55. We tried to do some quantification with 3 different Brower benchmarks. All benchmarks were done on the same machine running on Kubuntu 16.0.4 (Kernel 4.10).

Basemark Benchmark (more is better)

  • FF 55: 114.29
  • FF 67 B4: 144.79
Firefox 55 Basemark benchmark
Firefox 57B4 Basemark benchmark

Kraken Benchmark (by Mozilla; less is better)

  • FF55: 3511.5ms
  • FF57B4: 3241.7ms

Speedometer (more is better)

  • FF55: 24.2
  • FF57B4: 31.04

New features / UI

With Firefox 57 Mozilla does not only make changes behind the curtains, they also improved  the UI and integrated new features. We like them !

  • „New Tab Startpage“
    • Features Top-sites and Highlights with a lot of nice settings 🙂

  • New options in adress-bar – e.g. why not making a screenshot with your browser
    • The […]-icon features „page actions“
    • „page actions“ also provide a nice screenshot tool

  • New preferences menu / UI
    • clearly arranged with 4 main sections
    • All settings belonging to a section on a single page – so no more tabs and easier to find ( and more options)

  • Customize view controls:
Editview of controls
  • Do you want to change the size of the icons and more -> yes
  • Style and color? -> yes – dark, light, black, themes, …
  • Customize toolbar? -> yes – add one and change it
  • Better HiDPI support

The look&feel and it’s controls can be easily changed with a few clicks and mouse moves, like in other browsers.

Netflix on Linux with FF57 Beta4 – Yes 🙂

  • with enabled DRM-Content

Installations:

Android:

Google Play:

Firefox-Beta

ArchLinux/Manjaro:

Installation from the Arch-User-Repository with ‚yaourt‘

# install from AUR
yaourt firefox-beta-bin

# start firefox-57-beta
firefox-beta

Generel Linux:

#1: Go to Firefox-HomePage
#2: Download: Firefox-Beta
#3: Unpack the archive
#4: Start 'firefox'-Binary from extracted archive
#5: (optional) include the folder in your
    system path variable

Resume:

  • It’s a huge update – not only behind the curtain. Also new UI and features
  • Low on Bugs – it’s really a Beta (not another Alpha-Version)
  • Very good performance, now the internet providers have to make an effort to feed the beast 😉

So, give it a try !

This article was entirely written with Firefox Beta 57.