Mozilla starts to push Reader Mode to desktop Firefox
One interesting feature of Firefox on Android is the web browser's reader mode. It is basically replicating functionality that extensions and bookmarklets such as Readability for Firefox, Readability Redux for Chrome or the Readability bookmarklet have offered for years: a way to improve how content is displayed in the browser.
It works best for articles on the web. Most site elements, like the navigation, menus, advertisement or social media widgets, are removed in the process. The text itself is processed as well, a new font type and size may be used and the new page uses a color scheme that is light on the eyes and improves the readability of the article.
Reader Mode worked more or less like that. If you are using Firefox on Android all you have to do is tap on the reader mode icon in the browser to process the active web page.
Reader Mode landed in the browser back in 2012 and Mozilla had plans to port it to the desktop in the months following the release.
That did not happen until now though. Tonight, a first implementation of Reader Mode was added to Firefox Nightly. It is not enabled by default thoughand it is unclear when it will land in other versions of the browser.
The preference reader.parse-on-load.enabled determines whether Reader Mode is enabled or not.
- Type about:config in Firefox's address bar and hit enter.
- Confirm you will be careful if the prompt comes up.
- Find reader.parse-on-load.enabled.
- Double-click the entry to set it to true. This enables the mode.
- You may need to restart the browser.
When you visit a website after it is enabled, it is listed as an icon on the right end of the address bar.
A click enables the feature on the web page you are on and modifies it to a Reader Mode version. This is an automatic process that happens in the background.
The page that opens up is bare bones. It lists the article title and the article itself but all other elements that were part of the original web page are gone.
Links and images are still included but when you navigate away from the page Reader Mode is not used to load the new page.
The Android version of Reader Mode supports several configuration options that the desktop version does not ship with currently. It is not possible to click on an icon to change the theme on the page or modify font size and margins.
Since it has just been added to Firefox 38 Nightly, it is possible that those features will be added in a future update.
According to the Bugzilla listing, Reader Mode is currently not compatible with e10s.Advertisement