Firefox 13 June 5 release (Waterfox 13 tentative)
Everyone knows Firefox/Waterfox 12 was released with no new features. But Firefox/Waterfox 13 will be a major release in many ways with lots of new stuff. I wanted to take a moment to highlight what you can expect in the next version.
Ability to clean up user profile
There are a number of serious Firefox issues (not starting, crashing, unexpected behavior, lost toolbars and more) that can be solved by creating a new profile. The problem is, creating a new profile (which is an incredibly difficult task) is not enough. A user will almost always want to also migrate their data to the new profile which is another difficult task.
Many users try to reinstall Firefox to solve these issues but reinstallation doesn't do anything to the profile folder. Providing this option upon reinstallation and, in addition, offering this after consecutive start-up crashes and on the Troubleshooting Information page will make this feature both intuitive and discoverable.
A user determines that "something" is wrong with Firefox, so they attempt to fix it by reinstalling. When the installer detects that the same version of Firefox already exists on the computer it will offer the option to repair Firefox by resetting it to its default state. That intent can be passed on to Firefox and the reset process will be started the next time Firefox starts.
After a third consecutive start-up crash, Firefox will offer to either start in safe mode so diagnosis can be done or to reset Firefox to it's default state.
A SUMO article or helper can direct a user to a simple method for repairing Firefox by accessing the Troubleshooting Information page and clicking the Reset Firefox button.
Firefox Home Tab
Firefox Home Tab is a small pinned tab placed at the far left of the tab strip that will serve as the user's home on the Web. The plan is for this interface to be locally hosted, customizable, and personalized to the needs of each individual user.
With the introduction of Apps and Identity into Firefox, a user's Home Tab will be the central location where users can access some of their most valuable content. Firefox will offer easy access to things users are familiar with today (Bookmarks, History, Settings, Downloads) as well as introduce the Apps Marketplace -- a great place to discover exciting new content on the Web.
As the content on the Home Tab evolves, we believe this page should be completely for the user. The goal is to make this page as customizable as possible, and offer valuable modules that really enhance the Firefox experience.
Cycle Collector Perf improvements
The cycle collector can cause unpleasant pause times, especially when things get leaky. We should attempt to both reduce the length of those pauses (by improving cycle collector performance and investigating incremental approaches), and make them less annoying by being smarter about when and if we schedule the cycle collector to run.
Enable Smooth scrolling
Smooth scrolling is the animated sliding effect when you roll the scrollwheel. Without it, the page jumps one or several lines at a time when scrolled. It's a subtle effect, but it makes it easier to follow content as it moves and is a more enjoyable effect. It also compares more closely to touch-based scrolling and so increases consistency across PCs and touch-based devices.
Automatic Session Restore with Tabs on Demand
Most users prefer starting the browser right where they left off. Firefox is moving to a model that restores all tabs when a user starts up the browser but delays the loading of background tabs until they are needed. This will improve the performance and usability of Firefox just after launch.
New Tab Page
Whenever Firefox users open a new tab, their goal is to use it to navigate somewhere. Firefox currently displays a blank page when Firefox users open a new page. This is guaranteed to not help them perform their next task.
We'd like to implement a page which displays on new tabs and helps users complete their next task. This will likely include offering options that are most likely to include the user's next task so that valuable time and steps are saved.
Such a page must meet certain requirements:
- Load instantly
- Not be so distracting as to take users mentally away from their intended task and into an unintended one
- Be useful without any configuration, yet can be easily configured and disabled
- Does not embarrass the user
- Making navigation to a site the user has been to before faster
SPDY (This will be ON by default starting with version 13)
Users of high latency environments such as mobile should be improved page load times for pages with many resources.
Casual browsing will be more secure with respect to eavesdropping.
Servers should see reduced load.
Independent low latency traffic should see reduced queuing delays.
NPAPI AsyncDrawing specification and implementation
This feature allows plugins to asynchronously draw to surfaces. These surfaces may be located in video memory, and so this allows hardware accelerated plugin drawing.