The Australis interface redesign landed in the Nightly channel today. It changes a lot of things around in the browser, and if you are unhappy with some of the changes, you may be glad to hear that a first extension has been released that lets you undo several of the changes that Mozilla introduced in Firefox 28 Nightly.
It needs to be noted that it is not clear when the new interface will hit the other channels, as Mozilla is currently contemplating if it should leave the new design in the Nightly channel until Firefox 29, and then move it to the other channels -- that is Aurora, Beta and Stable -- in the coming release cycles.
Australis makes lots of visual changes to the browser, from curved tabs to the removal of the add-on bar. Lets find out what Classic Theme Restore can undo.
Classic Theme Restorer
When you install the extension you are asked to restart the browser. Once you have done that, you will immediately notice several changes made to the interface:
- Tabs in Firefox are squared again and not rounded anymore. You can now display more tabs again in the tab bar at the same time. You can modify that setting to display the curved tabs of the Australis interface, or an experimental curved tabs design.
- The Tabs are displayed in the title bar by default. You can change that so that they are displayed below the title bar.
- A Firefox button is displayed again in the upper left corner of the screen. It does not look exactly like the classic Firefox button, but offers the same functionality. The new three stripes menu is still also accessible on the right of the address bar. Here you can also change the color of the button, but not how it looks like.
- If you do not want the button, you can either hide it completely, or display it in the toolbar instead.
As far as options go, Classic Theme Restore makes available the following:
- Re-enable the add-on bar so that you can move your extension icons into it. You can also move other icons to it, like the Firefox search bar, and all other buttons and menus that are available in the customization interface. Just drag and drop them to the bar after you have enabled them.
- Enable small buttons to save space in the address bar and other toolbars.
- Hide the navigational toolbar.
- Add one additional toolbar to the browser. You can place icons in it as well.
- Enable movable back and forward buttons. What this means is that you can move the buttons independently -- meaning without the address bar -- to another location.
- Place the find bar in its default position, or at the bottom of the browser window.
- Show icons only, or icons and text, or text only.
- Display tabs on bottom and not on top.
In addition to the options displayed in the preferences of the extension, it adds other features to it that you may be interested in. This includes a whole array of buttons, bookmarks menu button, a reload and stop button, or the history and bookmarks sidebar buttons.
It is also making available spaces and flexible spaces that you can add to the interface, makes the urlbar and PanelUI button movable again, and offers reduced urlbars and windows min.-width values.
Want to see how it looks like? Here you go, before and after screenshots.
Please note that the new interface and the extension that restores Firefox's old interface are a work in progress. Things can change along the way, and it is likely that new options will be added to the extension, and that some features will be tweaked.
For now, this is as classic as it can get. If you dislike the changes, or some of them, you can use this extension to undo them to keep your sanity.
Extra Tip: Classic Bookmarks Button by the same author restores the classic bookmarks menu that Mozilla used in all versions of Firefox from 4 to 28.
It will be interesting to see how popular the add-on will get in the coming months. What's your take on this? Could this become the most popular add-on ever, or will it remain a niche extension that only some users will install and make use of?