Mozilla Planning Invasive Changes To The Fundamentals Of Firefox
Written by Michael Larabel in Mozilla on 6 July 2015 at 06:46 PM EDT. 27 Comments
MOZILLA --
Firefox developers are revisiting at how they build their web browser and how they can better utilize modern web technologies and in the process move away from XUL/XBL within their Gecko Engine.

Dave Camp of Mozilla launched the thread today about Revisiting how we build Firefox:
Firefox is built on web technologies, but we could do a much better job of capitalizing on that. The first thread of discussion was around deployment: since Firefox began, the industry has continually evolved how it deploys code to users, and today it isn’t done on an 18-week cycle. We think there are big wins to be had in shortening the time that new features reaches users. Critical fixes should ship to users in minutes, not days. Individual features rolling out to small audiences for focused and multi-variate testing. As Laura Thomson put it in her Whistler presentation - “The trains have served us well, but it’s time to build a hyperloop.”
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We intend to move Firefox away from XUL and XBL, but the discussion of how to do that is in the early stages. There are a ton of unanswered questions: what technologies/best practices for web development should we adopt in its place? How does this affect add-on developers? Is there space for a native-code main-window on desktop like we have on Android? How much time should we spend on this vs. other quality issues? What unanswered questions have we not asked yet?

It's worth reminding Phoronix readers about the Mozilla developer that last year was experimenting with building the Firefox UI in HTML. While their Gecko layout engine will be the dominant focus for the foreseeable future, their next-generation, Rust-written Servo engine is slowly maturing and planning for an alpha release in 2015.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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