It’s easy to forget to say why Firefox Nightly has become my current go-to browser while fighting certain peculiarities, searching for compatible extensions, learning new menu structures, filing new bugs (some of which are new-to-me old bugs), and learning the ramifications of the newer changes to Firefox and the extensions I have grown to love.
These are some highlights of why, overall, I am happy with Firefox Nightly:
Performance. In the past year Mozilla has introduced multi-processing, multiple content processes, even within a content process has improved performance (in part, I think, due to me filing a performance bug), more use of the gpu, even more parallelism with Stylo, and the ongoing effort to reduce jank by moving more tasks off the main thread. There are times in my typical day where, starting a couple months ago, Firefox can finally use the majority of my CPU in the brief moments where it makes sense to do so. Even when it comes to loading my horrid Netflix DVD queue, Firefox used to take about twice as long as Chrome to load, but in Nightly is giving Chrome a run for its money.
Open communications. I have an idea of what the Mozilla programmers are working on. (Maybe I haven’t found the right areas, but with Chrome I feel like I am in the dark on what is coming down the line.) Likewise, when I find a bug, I can see the progress being made on the bug.
Philosophy of user-configurability. For example, I am allowed to make my own decisions on the number of content processes using the Options menu, and I can even go outside that range with the
dom.ipc.processCountif I decide I want even more content processes. Likewise, while we are about to break a lot of legacy extensions, my needs are currently met by extensions that are either WebExtensions or are embedded WebExtensions and expected to be WebExtensions by the time Firefox 57 rolls out. (And the 57 rollout isn’t the end of the APIs planned for WebExtensions, so some extensions I think are nice might disappear in 57 and reappear later.)
Improved menus. The current hamburger menu layout in 54.0.1 is an awkward one with multiple different functions listed on a line, making it harder to find some of them; but the layout in Nightly 56.0a1 is far superior with one function per line, many with eye-catching icons.
Of course I am not saying that Firefox Nightly is perfect.
But what I am saying is that Firefox Nightly is the browser I fire up when I start my normal browsing sessions.
It will be interesting to see what the developers deliver with 57 … and beyond …