Calling all Test Pilots - Reference Browser ready for testing!


#1

Hi

Some years ago, before I became a contributor to Mozilla, there was an initiative that called for users to become a “test pilot” and help build and support what we know today as the mobile versions of Firefox. Today I am asking you to dust off your flying jacket, put on your goggles (or fancy aviator shades) and take to the skies as we help make the mobile web even more awesome.

The mobile team has been working hard on a new infrastructure that will help Mozilla build new mobile apps. This infrastructure is made up of a number of components (such as GeckoView, Glean and a new Firefox Accounts implementation) that have been brought together in a Reference Browser. This is NOT a new end product, it is a collection of parts, some or all of which may be used to create web browsers for different platforms. But before we can use them, we need to make sure they all work together in one place.

As I have mentioned, this is not a finished or branded product, it is a test bed of ideas and functions, a technology preview. Your input, telemetry and feedback and bug reports are vital to help us make awesome mobile products using the components in this app. As long as your device is using Android 5 or above and you can install apps from the Google Play store, we would really appreciate your help.

We are reasonably certain your personal data is safe, but I recommend making sure you still have a copy of bookmarks and passwords in another copy of Firefox…just in case! If you compare Beta builds to a walk in the park and eat Nightly builds for breakfast, I think you are going to really like this new challenge.

To get the Reference Browser on your phone, follow these two steps:

  1. Visit https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mozilla-reference-browser and join the Google Group
  2. Visit https://play.google.com/apps/testing/org.mozilla.reference.browser on your phone to join the test program and to install the app

Make sure you use the same Google account for both steps. You can use your work or personal account.

Please file the bugs you find as new issues at https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/reference-browser/issues/new.

If you have any general feedback or want to chat about various features, please continue the conversation as replies in this Discourse thread.

Make sure you give us much information as possible including the Android version, the application version, whether you are using a phone or a tablet, the URL you were viewing, what you were trying to do and what happened (including details of any error messages).

Whether you are doing this on your own, or as a local Mozilla community (maybe at your next community meeting?), your help is vital in helping us build the next generation of mobile Firefox applications.

Thank you.


Reference Browser for community testing
(Gabriela) #2

Hello!

I downloaded and installed it yesterday. It seems very fast! URL at the bottom looks a bit weird though.
I didn’t know I would receive automate updates, so I had a pleasant surprise when I noticed a new one a while ago!
The settings are very straightforward but there aren’t many options. Will this change with further development?

I’ll try to use it as much as I can and file bugs whenever I find them.

Regards,
Gabriela


(Gabriela) #3

Hello again!

I’d like to share this great news with different Telegram groups I belong to, but I need to know if this info is under NDA.

I would greatly appreciate your answer ASAP!

Thanks!


#4

Hi @gaby2300

Great to see you getting involved! Yes, the app will update through Google Play if you have signed up for the test programe. This is better than a stand alone .apk file that you sideload as it will give you the lastest version.

The options are slim at the moment, but this could change. This app is a work in progress so features may come and go. Makes it more exciting - this is the cutting edge!

(I will come back on your second post very soon.)


(Gabriela) #5

Hi @gaby2300

Great to see you getting involved! Yes, the app will update through Google Play if you have signed up for the test programe. This is better than a stand alone .apk file that you sideload as it will give you the lastest version.
Of course, it’s great !

The options are slim at the moment, but this could change. This app is a work in progress so features may come and go. Makes it more exciting - this is the cutting edge!
Sure, that’s why I joined as soon as I could! I absolutely love the cutting edge! I even installed Minefield a long time ago because it was the browser where new features where tried first!

(I will come back on your second post very soon.)
Great!

Many thanks for your answer @Seburo!
Regards,
Gabriela


#6

Hi @gaby2300

This is not under NDA and you are welcome to share this with groups on Telegram. Please can you include a link back to this article.


(Gabriela) #7

Hi @Seburo,

Will do, thanks!

To suggest features like the option to bookmark a site and add it to the display, or add different languages/localizations, should I file bugs or comment here?

Regards,
Gabriela


(Anan Laks) #8

Hello, now testing Reference Browser on Nokia 6 (TA-1021) with Android Oreo 8.1.0. I like the placement of address and menu on the bottom. :+1:


Cheers


(Dev) #9

Testing it on Moto G5 Plus with Android Ore0 8.1.0. Placement of the Refresh button, Close button and Forward button at the bottom of the context menu would have been better.

And disqus is not loading on almost all websites


(Togekk) #10

Everything’s fast and smooth!

But at some websites like imdb.com it seems taking a long time loading compared to Firefox Nightly for Android. Also still needs some improvement in battery life.

Anyway good work!


#11

Hi @gaby2300

For those things, please add them as feedback in this thread.


#12

Hi @devxv

Thank you for your feedback. Can you find an example of a site with the Disqus issue?

With this information, we can file a bug on the GitHub page and get this looked into.


#13

Hi @togekk

We like fast and smooth!

The reference browser is a work in progress, but there continues to be an issue with the things you have mentioned please raise an issue on the GitHub page and we can look into it in more depth.


#14

It’s good and all, but it lacks one big feature - it can’t install extensions from the store, like uBlock Origin and Poper Blocker.

The only reason I use Firefox Nightly on my phone and bear with its pathetically slow speed is because I can install those two extensions and become immune to all ads and popups.

I know Reference Browser is not meant for general use, but unless it allows me to block ALL ads and ALL popups, I can’t make much use of it.

Please add extension support ASAP.

In case you plan this new browser Fenix, or whatever it is to not support extensions, it’s gonna be dead on arrival.


(Dev) #15

These are some of those sites, Mspoweruser MotorBeam

Also would like to add that everything’s working okay with tracking protection off


(Gabriela) #16

Hello!

I’d like to see language support and the option to bookmark sites and add them to the Home display. Autocomplete URLS would be good too!

Regards,
Gabriela


(Haider Rehman) #17

Hi! Two things are desperately needed for Future of Firefox on Android:

  1. Excellent and fluid UI. Check out chrome. Swiping down to view all tabs, swiping to switch tabs, easier to close away tabs. Please use Chrome Android for a few days and Firefox UI is clunky and ill-defined.

  2. Extensions. Essential for success as we need Ublock and HTTPS everywhere etc.


(Haider Rehman) #18

A blog to share updates would be appreciated