Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

Summary: Mozilla's Firefox browser is a lot like an aging athlete: It's far easier to stay in shape than it is to fall out of shape and recover. Firefox is in that latter camp, a slightly plump browser that aims to be as buff as a sprinter---even "super-duper fast" in its next version.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Mozilla's Firefox browser is a lot like an aging athlete: It's far easier to stay in shape than it is to fall out of shape and recover. Firefox is in that latter camp, a slightly plump browser that aims to be as buff as a sprinter---even "super-duper fast" in its next version.

When it comes to browsers, the success of Google's Chrome reveals thin is in. Minimalist matters. The challenge for established browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox is that they have to slim down a bit. However, that's easier said than done when you have a bunch of plug-ins, add-ons and an established user base you can't afford to alienate.

With that backdrop Mike Belzner, vice president of engineering at Firefox, delivered a Webcast outlining plans for Firefox 4. The message boils down to three words (Techmeme): Performance, power and personalization. Firefox needs to be fast, tidy and support new technologies such as 64-bit, Direct2D on Windows and other items.

Gallery: First looks at Firefox 4

The big plan (video) is to get Firefox 4 to folks by November. Everything Belzner outlined Tuesday came with a heavy caveat: Plans will change. In a nutshell, Belzner laid out plans to hit three areas:

  • Users should get a fast browser with cleaner navigation, the power to manage relationships with Web sites and customization features.
  • Web developers should get tools to create quick Web apps, HTML 5 technologies, native multimedia and other developer goodies.
  • And Firefox 4 should be built on a platform that's stable, secure, optimized the latest hardware and armed with more speed.

Here's a look at some of the Firefox 4 concepts (all stamped with a big "plans may change" logo):

Belzner also did a nice job at outlining the current state and risks for the various project parties. Here's the look at the gaps for users.

There's a chart for Web developers too in Belzner's slides. The most notable point is that one gap for Web developers was that Firefox's syntax maps to the W3C not Webkit.

And here are the platform risks, which made some interesting points. For instance, does Firefox support touch? How about driver integration?

Like most Mozilla projects, this one is worth watching. And the best thing is that it's all out in the open for educational purposes.

Here's the full Slideshare presentation:

Topic: Browser

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54 comments
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  • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

    Its not so much a matter of being super-duper fast as it is being functional. More people choose Firefox because of the add-ons that make it functional. Google's Chrome has issues which make it non-functional. Also, Firefox has never tried to spy on me like Chrome does. Mozilla will get the right combo of speed/functionality making it a winner.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

      @Loverock Davidson
      What issue with chrome. I use the beta and it's just perfect. When I browse the net, speed is real important, browser gadgets comes second. Spying? Do you seriously think that a respectable company like Google would risk everything by spying. You watch way too many James Bond...
      asusmx
      • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

        @asusmx Don't be naive, Chrome does 'spy' on you. When I use it to browse ecommerce sites, ads served on web sites subsequently visited show products i have previously browsed. This doesn't happen with Firefox. Google retain far too much personally identifiable information for me to feel comfortable.
        rgwoneness
      • That's the price you pay for using their free spyware

        C'mon now, did you really think Chrome would block Google-Analytics?

        lol... :D
        ubiquitous one
      • Oh I guess Generically popping up site history is SPYING... OMG :O

        @asusmx Right..... Google never touches your personal information and only gather generic data for Google-Analytics to be used for ads on the Public Internet Roads.

        If that's spying on you, then you better stay off of Public Roads too. That monitor your every turn and failure to yield, what color your car is and what your license number is. Then they can use it to get your name, address and all your personal information, you never dreamed they knew. Stores, markets, malls, office buildings, banks all record everything you do. You most likely have Millions of pictures of you stored somewhere in this World!

        Most of all don't ever use programs by Apple like iTunes which is notorious for Spyware, adware and yes..... malware processes running in the background on your computer. They know who you are better than you do!

        AT least Google Chrome doesn't do any of that on your computer. But.... even worse (like Microsoft), own your Operating System and tell you that they don't use any of the personal information they gather for anything. Well then what do they gather it for? ....just to log every key stroke and program open close for their own health? Doubt it. If you have a real firewall... do you ever notice how many times your OS wants to contact Microsoft?

        Grow up people...... and yes Chrome uses the exact same Add On structure, so the many of the same Add Ons run on it as they do in Firefox! ;)
        Monarky
      • You dont work in computer security

        You have no clue Googles fortune and all other search is based on information gathered from web surfing and advertising. In a way its all about information collection or "spying". James Bond works on the low paid thankless tasks in the government sector everyone else (advertising and market research) does ok. Google is a respectable company that is engaged in advertising there are less respectable companies as well.
        Altotus
  • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

    The biggest issue facing Firefox is that over time it gets slower and slower. Eventually you have to close it and restart it in order to start fresh.
    jrockefeller1@...
    • I don't have that issue

      @jrockefeller1@... Of course most issue's I have had with FF is and has been flash. Kill flash fix the problems. Flash Block works wonders.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

      @jrockefeller1@... And IE has this problem as well as Chrome. All three eventually bog my machine down. Chrome is worse at hogging ram than Firefox ever dreamed of being.
      blueskip
  • Screen Shot #4 is scary.

    Sharing my location with a site? Um it had better not.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

      @JM1981
      if you look at the screen shot closer, you see a stop sharing my location option...
      djrraz@...
      • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

        @djrraz@... Sure but "Negative Option" should not be part of browsing. It should not be shared by default, it should be by choice.
        tripolitan
    • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

      @JM1981 its already in firefox 3.6, and yes, users will have to allow it first each time for each website that ask for it. Firefox will remind you, but will not share by default. Did you not know that?
      crislevin
    • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

      @JM1981
      I think that what this feature does is allows you to block a cookie that a random site adds to your computer and then tracks you form sending the data that it is requesting. This is a good thing and should be part of all browsers. Speed is no longer the issue for me and should be at least part of the website developers responsibility. Sites seem to be the most demanding of bandwidth not necessarily the browsers rendering there of.
      lrfocke
      Louis Ross Focke
  • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

    Surely it is just a matter of Firefox being lean, mean and stable and then letting the enduser choose what to put on in the way of add-ons and plug-ins so we can decide how to customise FF for our particular needs. Or am I just being naive and silly..?
    axelfUK
  • It can, but it probably wont.

    Whenever we talk about browser speed, we are referring to the raw program - no history, no cache build-up, no extensions, no favorites or any other add-ons. I severely doubt that an experienced Firefox 4 with a decent amount of usage and history will feel any faster than the current one.
    magusat999@...
  • How fast does it need to be???

    Are we letting the "super-duper" type "A"s run amuck here????
    Narg
  • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

    The article might have slightly more credibility if Mike Beltzner's last name was not consistently misspelled.
    albill
  • RE: Firefox 4: Can it become 'super-duper' fast?

    "Delete history for a specific site"

    -The only use I can think for that is for porn sites :/ Not really something they want to put up if they`re trying to simplify things up.
    alexanderblums
  • Thin? I like a full-figured browser.

    Chrome might be runway thin, but it's a little vacuous.

    Any developers eager to see fuller CSS3 implementation? Chrome is still spotty with CSS2. Try "text-transform" and see Chrome smile vaguely and shrug. (I don't need a new IE--choosy about which 10-year-old standards it'll implement.)
    rob weller