While the browser wars may have died down over recent years Mozilla have recently released version 57 of their Firefox browser and it’s so good they gave their new browser weapon a name, Quantum. While Quantum may still look the same old Firefox, under the skin this is a faster and far more high tech Firefox that is ready to take on Chrome once again.
Mozilla have given the underlying code a complete overhaul for Quantum, but this type of change doesn’t produce a massive speed bump, an evolutionary change generally. The overhaul has improved the multi-threading support, memory usage, display quality and security but the extra speed of Quantum is actually down to a new trick. As ZDNet are reporting this clever idea was developed by Mozilla engineer Honza Bambas and is called ’Tailing’ which prioritizes traffic so that scripts from tracking domains (such as Google) are loaded after the page itself. The tracking scripts are still loaded but after the stuff that we all care about, the content itself.
Mozilla has been working hard over the last couple of years to win back market share and have introduced a number of new technologies in their code overhaul, technologies that are all now present and working in Quantum. Better multi-threading and GPU utilization through project Electrolysis allows Quantum to open over a thousand tabs in a few seconds. A new CSS execution engine that better utilizes multi-threading across multiple CPU’s. There is also a new interface engine named Photon that improves the display on high DPI displays and adjusts the interface for touch screens. All of this new technology brings Firefox in line with Chrome’s performance and interface, while Tailing gives it the advantage.
Here at Highpants we can confirm, at least subjectively, that it does feel much faster than Chrome and is greased lightning when compared to Microsoft’s Edge, and it renders the pages to look as they should, unlike Microsoft’s latest. You might notice Firefox can also use more CPU and GPU power in order to keep really busy pages running smoothly, something we noticed immediately. Best of all our favourite bits of Firefox are still present, especially the bookmarks sidebar on the left, but at the same time the Fox has become much faster under that old sheepish skin.
After taking a break from Firefox for a while we can safely say that Firefox is back on all desktops here at Highpants. To be honest we use both Chrome and Firefox now. Chrome we like for development work and using Google apps but Firefox is back on board for testing pages, writing articles and generally plodding around the web. Give it a try, you might be surprised by this faster Fox in sheep’s clothing.
Reference: Mozilla Firefox Quantum Download