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article imageFirefox takes a Quantum leap with all-new version

By James Walker     Nov 14, 2017 in Technology
Mozilla has announced general availability of Firefox 57, the long-awaited overhaul of the popular browser. The new version is claimed to be twice as fast as Google Chrome while using 30% less memory. There's also a brand-new interface design.
Firefox 57 has been a long time in the making. The once popular browser has suffered at the hands of Chrome and other more modern alternatives over the past half-decade. Firefox has remained based on an archaic architecture that offers noticeably limited performance next to its contemporaries.
Quantum performance
Firefox 57 is the first public release to include "Project Quantum." Quantum is a Mozilla project to modernise the core of Firefox that's been in production for over a year. The most significant change is the introduction of a new multi-process architecture that allows code to run in parallel and improves memory consumption.
Firefox 57  Quantum
Firefox 57 "Quantum"
This work is years behind browsers such as Chrome but its release means Firefox is finally back to being a compelling modern browser. Mozilla's also extensively updated the browser engine, the internal components responsible for displaying webpages, applying styles and handling interactive elements. It all adds up to a once-in-a-decade overhaul which Mozilla claims will be "fast for good."
Photon UI
The new release also introduces Photon, a major redesign of the Firefox interface. Everything's flatter, more minimal and more modern. Menus have been revised, there's a new unified search bar and the sidebar has been reorganised. Mozilla's removed the controversial rounded tabs that have proved unpopular with users since their introduction.
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The interface itself has been updated to take advantage of modern operating system features. It supports high DPI monitors so text won't look blurry on high resolution screens. It's also capable of managing hundreds of tabs inside a single window, ensuring Firefox keeps up with your work.
"Intuitive and modern"
Firefox Quantum represents a significant milestone for the web browser. The past few years haven't been a high point for Mozilla and its community. Today, the organisation's outwardly acknowledging that Firefox has slowly slipped away from the mainstream and been surpassed by newer browsers. With Quantum, it hopes to regain some of its market share and demonstrate its commitment to maintaining Firefox going forward.
Firefox 57  Quantum
Firefox 57 "Quantum"
"The New Firefox is finally here," said Mozilla. "It's been a year in the making and our biggest update of code in over 10 years. In fact, almost 75% of the Firefox code was impacted all to give you a browser that is fast, intuitive and modern on all of your devices."
Existing Firefox users should be aware that the update also comes with a few breaking changes. Although of your most data will synchronise into the new version, Mozilla has removed support for legacy extensions. If you currently rely on a traditional Firefox extension, you may want to hold off on updating until it's been converted to a modern WebExtension. This standard's already supported by rival browsers and is now Firefox's extension platform too.
More about Firefox, Mozilla, mozilla firefox, firefox quantum, Browsers
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