News made the round at the end of January that Mozilla had plans to accelerate the development of the Firefox web browser by releasing major version updates more frequently.
The Firefox 2011 roadmap was updated to reflect this change in development and to outline the "planned strategy and direction for Firefox in 2011".
Probably the most interesting part from an end user perspective is the priorities listing at the very beginning of the roadmap:
- Ship Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the 2011 calendar year
- Always respond to a user action within 50 ms
- Never lose user data or state
- Build Web Apps, Identity and Social into the Open Web Platform
- Support new operating systems and hardware
- Polish the user experience for common interaction tasks
- Plan and architect for a future of a common platform on which the desktop and mobile products will be built and run Web Apps
The Firefox development team plans to ship Firefox 7 this year. That's four major versions from Firefox 3 and still three from Firefox 4. It will be interesting to see if the development team can deliver those versions in 2011 especially since past releases had to be postponed fairly regularly because of development delays.
The overall plan is to make Firefox more responsive, stable, reliable and future proof.
The team realized that the "newly competitive market has presented challenges for the continued success of Firefox". It is likely that Mozilla is not only referring to Google Chrome but also the Opera and Internet Explorer. All of the mentioned browsers have shown significant improvement over the course of the last 12 months.
In order to compete Mozilla wants to:
provide a browser that is stable and responsive,
build a product for modern desktop and mobile hardware,
provide a simple set of features & experiences to help users get the most out of the web,
support web technologies that are desired most by application developers and users,
deliver those technology improvements quickly to our user base.
The product roadmap proposes the following new features for the web browser:
- Account Manager
- Simple Sharing UI
- UI Animation
- 64 Bit on Windows
- Web Applications
- OSX 10.7
- JS Optimizations
- e10s? deXBLification?
Mozilla plans to release a 64-bit edition of the Firefox 5 web browser for the Windows operating system. Account Manager refers to an integration of the Mozilla Account Manager. Simple Sharing is another official add-on that the developers plan to integrate into the browser.
Two features are suggested for Firefox 7. E10s which stands for Electrolysis is a plan to use separate processes to display the browser UI, web content, and plugins.