Firefox : The Quantum Era

Entering the Quantum Era—How Firefox got fast again and where it’s going to get faster” is an insightful article showcasing the big changes happening with the Firefox browser.  It seems, the pendulum is swinging back towards the browser that almost became irrelevant.  I think that competition is good for everyone, and it has proven much more so in the end-user applications.  New ideas, new approaches, new technologies, and plenty of stimuli for the Google Chrome and other browser teams to respond with something even better.

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions — 2016 Edition

Slashdot is running a discussion thread on what are the best browser extensions these days.  The comments cover a variety of browsers and all kinds of extensions.  The most popular are, of course, well know.  But there are a few gems here and there.

snooze_panel

For me personally, I’ve picked the Tab Snooze extension.  I’ve tried quite a few tab management solutions, and neither one of them fits my needs even though most tried (I want to run a single browser window, with dozens or hundreds of tabs open, but I want them to be organized into groups and hidden until later, when I need them).   Tab Snooze approaches the problem from a slightly different angle. It sets the reminder for when to reopen the tab, and once that’s done, it closes the tab.  You can find all snoozed tabs and open them before the due date, of course.

This works surprisingly well for me.  If only I could control the opening of the tabs with something like “17 tabs were woken up and are about to be open. Continue?”.  Currently, I get the notification and the tabs are open automatically, which is often not at the best time.  Waking up a lot of tabs can slow the system down a bit and get in the way of things on which I’m working at the time.

Firefox 29.0

It’s been a long time since I stopped being a Firefox fan.  Back when it was the only full featured open source browser, it was awesome.  But then the development slowed down, the browser started eating memory like a starving Godzilla, and daily application crashes became a norm.  On top of it, Google Chrome came out.  It was faster, cleaner, and much more stable.  It lacked the functionality bits and pieces, but all that was nothing compared to the speed, polish, and stability.  And as years went by, Firefox, it seemed, didn’t even try to catch up.

firefox-29.0

Today, my Fedora updates pulled in brand new and shiny Firefox 29.0 and the first time in years I am actually liking it.  The first thing that stands out immediately is the much cleaned up user interface.  The tabs look slick and main menu is moved into a single icon to the upper right corner, much like Google Chrome has it.  The menu is also reworked into a customizable area of icons, rather than nested text items.  The second important addition is the browser synchronization.  Once you create an account and enable the sync, your tabs, passwords, history, and forms will automatically synchronize between different machines.  That’s a very handy feature for those who have different home and office computers or some other scenario with multiple devices.

There is still a long road for the Firefox browser to catch up with Google Chrome though.  Two things that come to mind are the performance and the ability to install/uninstall extensions without restarting the browser.  But I sure appreciate all the hard work that went into this version.  After all, open competition pushes all products and the end user ultimately benefits.  It’s been a long while since there was a feeling of competition in the browser marketplace.  It’s good to catch a scent of that again.