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Aurora – The Future of Firefox

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Firefox - Aurora

Mozilla now offer 4 versions of their popular web browser software, with increasing levels of sophisticated new technology, interface design and developer tools, but at the expense of stability and compatibility.

Nightly, Aurora, Beta, Release

So the available builds are categorised according to their suitability for general release – the current Nightly is untested and raw, and in time becomes Aurora; and so the current Aurora becomes the next Beta and the current Beta becomes the Release version, available to everyone as Firefox – stable, patched. Software fit for a production environment.

Mozilla aim to do this every 6 weeks.

Every 6 Weeks

So from Aurora to Beta to Release is 12 weeks, or about 3 months. Currently, the Nightly build is at version 9.0, Aurora is at version 8.0, the Beta is 7.0 and Release is 6.0.2

Aurora

Let me just quickly say, if you’re still a bit confused with the Firefox releases, and don’t know which version you should run, then my advice would be to head on over to Firefox.com and download the version offered to you. This is the Release version – the most stable, most tested and most recent.

The other builds –  Nightly, Aurora, Beta – they’re for geeks, for those who like their internet cutting-edge. Want Nightly, Aurora or Beta for your Android device? Check out system requirements, compatible handsets and find downloads here.

Add-Ons Manager

A new interface and new way of handling Add-Ons is introduced. When an add-on is installed from outside of Firefox, the add-on is disabled by default, and requires explicit authorisation from the user to activate.

they can slow down Firefox start-up and page loading time, they clutter the interface with toolbars that often go unused, they lag behind on compatibility and security updates, and most importantly, they take the user out of control of their add-ons.

http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2011/08/11/strengthening-user-control-of-add-ons

MemShrink

The MemShrink side project aims to reduce the memory usage of Firefox. Lower memory usage means a faster experience, as the overheads for paging and caching are reduced.

One nice thing about this feature is that it gives technically-oriented users a way to tell which web sites are causing high memory usage.  This may help with perception, too;  people might think “geez, Facebook is using a lot of memory” instead of “geez, Firefox is using a lot of memory”.

http://blog.mozilla.com/nnethercote/2011/07/06/memshrink-progress-week-3/

Developer Tools

Including Telemetry, Web timing spec, Azure Direct2D for Canvas and increased HTML5 and CSS3 support, including media elements and custom right click menus. Want to know more about the new developer tools?

Current HTML 5 Support

I’m already impressed with the HTML 5 support in the Release version of Firefox, when the rest of the web catches up, sites will be dynamic and media rich beyond our wildest imaginations.