Firefox 57 Photon mockups: activity stream, library, compact mode, more

Mozilla plans to release a theme refresh of its Firefox web browser when the browser hits version 57 in November 2017. The refresh is code-named Photon, and it is the first major design refresh of Firefox since the launch of Australis back when Firefox 29 was released. Australis was a highly controversial change, not only because of the design elements that it introduced, but also the things that it removed or blocked from customization.

Firefox 57 will introduce major changes, even more than Australis did. This is only partially because of the redesign, as Mozilla plans to make the switch to WebExtension exclusivity when that version hits as well. The browser makers break with Firefox's old add-on system, so that only WebExtensions add-ons may be run in Firefox 57 Stable or newer.

But Firefox 57 Stable is also the first version of the browser that ships with major Project Quantum components, which, according to Mozilla, will make the browser significantly faster in those areas.

The first Firefox Photon mockups showed up on the Internet in March 2017. They showed the main interface, and the new tips section that Mozilla plans to add to the about:home page of the web browser. The about:home page is displayed to new users of the browser, or when it is loaded manually.

Note: The following screens are mockups. This means that they are not set in stone yet, and that looks and functionality may change before things land in Firefox 57.

Firefox 57 Photon: new mockups

photon firefox 57 mockup 1

The new mockups highlight other parts of the web browser, including the activity stream, the library, and the compact mode among other things.

The first two mockup screenshots show the new Activity Stream page of Firefox. Activity Stream launched as a Test Pilot project initially.

These test add-ons are launched to collect feedback and telemetry data to make educated decisions about their future integration in the Firefox web browser.

photon firefox 57

The Activity Stream page has a Pocket "trending stories" listing. It is unclear whether this will only be displayed to Pocket users, or if this is displayed to all Firefox users.

Mozilla acquired Pocket some time ago, which means that it could be either way. Firefox users who don't want to use the Activity Stream tab page can install WebExtensions that modify the New Tab Page of the web browser.

You may also notice that the two Firefox windows on the screenshots above have different window colors. Mozilla might pick up the color from the operating system.

Firefox Compact Mode

Firefox compact mode

Mozilla plans to launch two compact themes in Firefox 53 (a light and dark one). The company plans to launch a touch mode and compact mode in Firefox 57. It seems likely -- but has not been confirmed -- that this new compact mode will replace the modes that Mozilla will launch in Firefox 53.

The mockup shows the differences between touch, normal and compact mode in Firefox.

The planned touch interface increases interface elements a bit to improve accessibility.

Firefox new main menu

photon firefox 57 new menu

The main menu mockup shows the new menu structure. Mozilla plans to move away from the current, icon-heavy menu that is quite difficult to navigate and use.

The new menu displays an entry per line, and uses considerably less space than the current menu.

The menu lists more options than the old, and some, like the Web Developer menu, link to secondary pages with additional options.

Another difference is that you won't be able to remove entries from the menu any longer.

photon firefox 57 custom menu

Firefox users may add entries to a new >> menu that is displayed on the left side of the main menu. This is the new location that users may add things like extension links that should not be visible all the time in the browser UI.

Customize options

photon firefox 57 customize options

The customize screen looks pretty much the same as before. One change is that you cannot add or remove items from the main menu anymore as it is locked.

You may move the icons to select locations of the interface, including before or after the address bar, and to the new custom menu.

Firefox users who use the search will notice that the search element is listed on the customize page. This is an indicator that it will be still an option when Firefox 57 launches.

Firefox 57 new library

photon firefox 57 library

A click on the library icon lists several options. Users may use it to open the bookmarks, downloads, history and synced tabs, the Pocket list, and check out the recent activity.

Note that it takes two clicks now to display bookmarks or downloads. The classic library options remain in place however for the time being.

Sidebars

photon firefox 57 sidebars

The sidebars get a new menu that enables you to switch between them easily using it. (Thanks Sören Hentzschel)

Now You: What's your take on the new batch of mockups?

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Firefox 57 Photon mockups: activity stream, library, compact mode, more
Description
Mozilla revealed a new batch of mockups showcasing the planned re-design of the Firefox user interface, codename Photon, in Firefox 57.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Firefox 57 Photon mockups: activity stream, library, compact mode, more

  1. seeprime April 9, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    I think I'll like the upcoming Firefox UI more than the current UI. The current one always seemed a bit goofy to me.

  2. mark April 9, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Hi martin thanks for the update.

    One concern, will bookmark folders be still in-line & not like currently?
    mean by hovering on a folder opens sub-folders/bookmarks .
    In the screenshots it looks inline which will be very slow/painful to use as have to click to enter or go-back then enter another.
    Do you know anything about it? any bugs?

  3. Kebin April 9, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Hey martin, will the bookmarks be inline?
    No pop out like now?
    Heavy bookmark users will have a very hard time as this is basically 3 steps back.
    First it requires 3 clicks to reach bookmarks, currently one.
    Secondly Folders with sub folders will open inline which will require more click and no fast switching between folders quickly.

    what do you say martin?

    http://i.imgur.com/FortKdX.png

    • Martin Brinkmann April 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      I don't know, we have to wait until a first public preview of Photon is released.

  4. John C. April 9, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    Removing more configurability by not allowing you to hide menu items is a serious step in the wrong direction. I detest Australis, have always used the Classic Theme Restorer extension, and now that's not going to work. Astonishing that Firefox grows more bloated despite continually losing features. IMO, either the developers are all on drugs or some kind of behind-the-scenes kickback from Google is going on. What's next? Mandatory updates? Massive telemetry?

    Speaking of telemetry, mark my words: the info gathering by those "test add-ons" will make its way into some final version of Firefox, just the way Window 10 incorporated keyboard logging.

    It's time to start looking for another browser.

    • firmaak April 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

      I'm migrating my family to Chrome this weekend. Over the next month I'll migrate my the PCs at work. After that I'll most likely switch to Vivaldi or Opera Next.

  5. Yuliya April 9, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    Opera's study showed that less than 2% of their userbase use the synchronization feature. moz://a in their wisdom, reserve the fist two strings of the hmburger menu for this unused feature.. At this point I don't even care anymore. Hamburger menu itself is an awful concept that no user asked for or is happy with. On a desktop a menu bar makes more sense (or the good old Firefox menu button).

    >it takes two clicks now to display bookmarks or downloads
    >TRENDING STORIES by pocket
    And they call these improvements. How did people with such an ass backwards thinking managed to get to work at moz:lla? How do incompetent people get to work as developers nowadays?

    • Rick A. April 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

      "Opera's study showed that less than 2% of their userbase use the synchronization feature. moz://a in their wisdom, reserve the fist two strings of the hmburger menu for this unused feature.." - That's Opera, and the reason it's only 2% is because no one wants their data being in Google's and a Chinese company's hands. i guarantee Firefox's Sync is used more than 2% of it's hundreds of million's of users, something the Opera devs can't say.

      • Yuliya April 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

        Well, those statistics came before anything related to China aquisition, so there's that. I somehow doubt Firefox Sync is used more (relative to the number of users ofcourse). I use Firefox for its privacy aspects (which by the way have been tarnished lately with the inclusion of malware such as Pocket and Loop), yet still sending all my data to moz://a seems counter effective in this regard, and I doubt I'm the only one using Firefox for this very reason. I can't find any exact data, you'd be thinking that moz://a would be boasting (like they always do about all sorts of nonsense in that abomination which they call start page) about this feature being used, if it was indeed used, but they don't. Yeah, I don't believe Firefox Sync is used significantly, definitely not to the degree of having it take the first two spots in that humburger menu. That's just a bad decision, adding to the pile of bad decisions that moz://a has been taking lately.

    • Jed April 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

      I use Firefox Sync regularly, it's a lifesaver and I'm glad it's there. Saves me a lot of time.

  6. Rick A. April 9, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    i don't like the 2 clicks to display bookmarks, downloads etc. i think we'll just be able to hover over them to open them, and i hope that is the case as i don't want to mess up my bookmark management, i like to be able to drag and drop my tabs that i want to bookmark into the folders that i want. if i can't do that then i'm going on ESR.

  7. Tony April 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    "Won't be able to remove menu items."

    This is the wrong direction, Mozilla. Less customization = worse.

    You don't have to believe me. Your market share will show you the data.

    But people currently at Mozilla likely don't care... they will all be working at Google in a few years.

    • firmaak April 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      Google has no reason to employ them since they don't seem to produce anything of value.

  8. EZ April 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    What's the point using a poor imitation when a real thing is better? Say what you want about Chrome, but it's designed much better than this abomination. Also, there is no Pocket and "trending stories" crap. It's just sad that Chrome will be the only usable major browser left.

  9. Simple Life April 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Firefox looks like it's made by a bunch of hipsters every day now,the hell it was the only browser that could have been a true competitor to Google's spyware Chrome(witch unfortunately I'm using now)but noo,Firefox has to be trendy and hip with the kids,forget Tor mode,forget powerful mature,extensions(why the need to develop for Firefox,when we just can get handicapped Chrome extensions,like every other browser does,why be unique)fuck this,in a couple of years this browser will have Opera market share,remember Opera and it's powerful customization features being removed,yeah that worked out good for them!Any way,end of ramble!

    • firmaak April 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

      It's not only hipsters, it's also a bunch of ideologues, which can be worse.

    • Mr.Impatient April 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

      "....Google's spyware Chrome(witch unfortunately I'm using now)..."

      Perhaps try it's open-source mother; Chromium

  10. Lord Lestat April 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    More for simple and Chrome users, less for advanced users - there is really no need for more words than that.

    • T J April 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

      @ Lord Lestat

      I list below some of your comments from various of Martin's Firefox blogs. Just a few examples which demonstrate your mind set of arrogant superiority.
      In future, can you engage your "superior/advanced user" brain before engaging your typing finger ?
      Perhaps to demonstrate both a little humility and acceptance of other posters' views ?
      ______________________________________________________________________

      "More for simple and Chrome users, less for advanced users"
      "today's Firefox user base is dominated by your kind who do not really care for customization but only for privacy"
      "Even a garbage browser like Vivaldi"
      "both browsers are shitty despicable garbage. Granted, Brave a bit less than Vivaldi"
      "The reason why Mozilla is also no longer caring for unlimited customization, as today's Firefox user base is dominated by your kind who do not really care for customization but only for privacy."
      "People and their abominable pseudo-order couldn't be more repugnant or more damnable."
      "Stop ranting about me yourself. I don't have to justify myself before you, so if you don't like what I say feel free to go away."

      • Lord Lestat April 9, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

        If i am allowed to copy-paste my self description from an earlier point:

        -----------------------------------------------
        I see myself more as a dedicated, merciless and uncompromising honorable crusader for justice, honesty, and the only true values without falling into the cliché of the nauseating prevailing political classes!

        And if that means to be somewhat rude and insulting, i have no problem with that as the receivers of my harsh critics are earning it! That includes sometimes harsh words and sometimes also a plain kick into the butt in real-life affairs, depending how disgusting the other end is!
        -----------------------------------------------

        And to finish this, i give nothing about so-called "political correctness" - as this is limiting and discriminating the right of free-speech! What has to be said, i am going to say as that is a trait which is no longer wished or wanted and that is what young children already learn @school! To deny the obvious and instead grow up and accept "alternative truth" !

        - Gender study is right
        - critics against obviously criminal or nasty persons should be avoided
        - leftist fanaticism is good

        and so on until all eternity!

        No sir, i am not the arrogant superior as you may think i am. Am i rude? Am i mean? Yes i am! But only towards those who earn it!

        Would i pick a fight with someone else for no reason? Of course not! Would i pick a fight with someone who does something discriminating? Yes sir, i literally would kick the butt of that person in a way that it never will be forgotten!

      • T J April 10, 2017 at 1:12 am #

        @ Lord Lestat

        Your response to my post just confirmed what I saw in your previous posts.

        You are an arrogant, self opinionated, person who always believes that your opinion is the correct and only answer and will brook no criticism of such opinion.
        The quotes below also display symptoms of narcissistic zealotry.

        "I see myself more as a dedicated, merciless and uncompromising honorable crusader for justice, honesty, and the only true values without falling into the cliché of the nauseating prevailing political classes! ".

        "No sir, i am not the arrogant superior as you may think i am. Am i rude? Am i mean? Yes i am! But only towards those who earn it!"

        You can spout such over blown opinions in the Halls of Academe or at your local debating society but please, for your health and safety, do not do this in any bar.
        You will find that "people" ( to quote your dismissive summation of the majority of "simple" ( minded ?? ) computer users ) would not be receptive to your comments and would be extremely hostile to your opinions and "beliefs". You may discover that you will be on the receiving end of more than one kick in the butt.

      • lord lestat April 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

        So, everyone who is not going with the mass opinion and the recent political correct opinions and instead fights for justice and real fairness is "an arrogant, self opinionated, person who always believes that their opinion is the correct and only answer and will brook no criticism of such opinion" ? Well, not sure what to answer to this ;)

        You know exactly that is the result of radical leftist anti-free speech movements are leading the field, where everyone is humiliated once the opinion is a bit different. This opininion of yours perfectly fits that anti-freedom-movement which is dominating society today! People today can't handle criticism - which leads to safe space/generation snowflake situations. And as soon someone strives away from that new path a witch hunt is starting, often with the result that the life of a person is going to be destroyed no matter what (For example Brendan Eich when supporting traditional marriage/Conservative beliefs) !

        Seeing all that anti freedom-movments and the sad state of humanity in general today, i am more than proud to support that organization here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_Human_Extinction_Movement

        Mankind makes things that much wrong, that it is the only good idea to supprt such a movement!

      • T J April 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

        @ Lord Lestat

        Reference your post above.

        "This opininion (?) of yours perfectly fits that anti-freedom-movement which is dominating society today! People today can't handle criticism - which leads to safe space/generation snowflake situations. And as soon someone strives away from that new path a witch hunt is starting ...."

        Oh dear, you have got an ultra right wing chip on your shoulder haven't you.

      • firmaak April 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

        @T J
        And you are a person who accepts being stripped of customizations options and power over the software you use happily. It's because of people like you that we're facing the current trend of dumbing everything down in software.

    • T J April 10, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

      @ firmaak

      "And you are a person who accepts being stripped of customizations options and power over the software you use happily. It's because of people like you that we're facing the current trend of dumbing everything down in software"

      Really !? You have no idea what I accept or do not accept regarding software. Just like "Lord Lestat", you make assumptions based on your own subjective interpretations. Then you make a fool of yourself by writing the following in a post further up this blog. See below.

      "I'm migrating my family to Chrome this weekend. Over the next month I'll migrate my the PCs at work."

      So you are going to move from Firefox to Chrome. Chrome is one of least user friendly and least configurable browsers. It steals most of your personal data, especially if you use a Google account and Gmail.

      Enjoy being a sheeple :)

  11. albatros April 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    Well, I am an advanced user and I already switched to ESR long time ago because I don't like to get new features several times a year messing around my customisation and everything.

    Firefox is my working horse. Period. I use Zotero and local bookmarks all day long and I hope very much that the interfaces won't change for that.

    I have switched webbrowsers several times already, and I won't hesitate to go away if Firefox doesn't comply with what I expect from a browser for my work. Managing bookmarks in the sidebar as I am used to is essential to me.

    • Ramiro April 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

      Zotero is going the standalone way only as they won't port it to WebExtensions. So, soonish, you'll need to install the standalone version of Zotero and a connector for Firefox (as they have connectors for Chrome or Safari right now).

      • albatros April 9, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

        Thanks for the update, Ramiro. I don't mind if standalone works alright. But if Zotero is no longer integrated within Firefox, again, Firefox needs to be better than the rest to be my choice. Then, the bookmarks manager remains a quite important case in point to me. If it would be abolished as is, I'd probably go back to Safari. If you no longer have control over the GUI and the rest of the application as is via about:config you can use any other web browser.
        There is one thing I'd like to make clear: I trust Firefox to remain a proper desktop application. No attempt at cloning a smartphone app to the desktop, please.

      • albatros April 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm #

        One more thing I didn't mention was search bar. They've done away with it, haven't they? How will we switch between search plugins? I've installed 21 search engines and library catalogues.

  12. karlo2105 April 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    I would never ever install Chrome or its forks on my Pc.
    If I am not able anymore to customise Firefox as I would like to, then so long Firefox.
    Mozilla developers make good job for Chrome. How much do you get from Google? You take your users for dumb fools. Thanks for screwing Firefox. In 5 years Firefox will have less users than Opera has now.

  13. Kubrick April 9, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Problem is there are far too many silver platters to cater for these days.Everyone wants what they expect to be just there with no issues.Some like it and some dont,How on earth mozilla or indeed any browser developer can cater for all these demanding tastes is a major job in itself.
    Browsers seem to be evolving slowly into operating systems as the public demand grows and as such the original concept of what a browser is and should be is being quickly forgotten.
    Its not the browser developers who are the problem but the more demanding internet using public at large.

    Maybe all the naysayers should get together and produce what they consider the perfect browser.So sad to see people have become so ungrateful for what mozilla has given to the browser world.

    • Appster April 9, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

      Oh, do the users Mozilla is constantly shitting on annoy you? I'm soooo sorry... Honestly, read up Mozilla's history and realize what Firefox was all about in the beginning. It was meant to be an open alternative that gives power to the user! How much of that is left? Almost nothing can be changed about Firefox in version 57+. Not to mention that the majority of people who did create Firefox have already left Mozilla. Most prominently Brendan Eich, who was essentially bullied into resigning for his private, political views, so that the organization did not have to fire the guy who brought them there in the first place. And I am supposed to thank the current Mozilla staff? Nope, not really. In fact, Mozilla is just a shell of its former self. With people like you they could destroy Firefox (the original idea, not the abomination covered here) a hundred times over and you would still be thankful. My goodness...

      • Lord Lestat April 9, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

        We may disagree about Vivaldi and Chromium/Chrome/Blink - but in that here you are totally right @Appster.

        Not the users are to be blamed, it is the maker of the product which has to be blamed as Mozilla made a 180°degree turn from a browser developer which gives power towards the users towards a browser developer which takes power away from the users.

        And to make it worse, who changed from a diversity supporting and honoring free-for-all-browser-developer to a discriminating browser developer which empowers only leftist fanatics who neither want features and neither want unique options!

      • Appster April 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

        @Lord Lestat: We actually do agree on a whole range of things. The people currently leading Mozilla have no concept other than Chrome-alike simplification to the disadvantage of their advanced users. I don't believe this will help them in the sense that they are going to regain market share. It's far more likely that people are going to be annoyed as the whole Firefox design/concept is changing once more for no apparent reason. As much as I dislike Chrome and its developer Google there is one thing they understand, if you ask me: DON'T FIX WHAT ISN'T BROKEN! Chrome's design hasn't changed much if at all over the years, which actually enhances user satisfaction. Mozilla doesn't get this as it seems.

        Generally spoken the process of (over)simplification started way back when Australis was released. However, at least there remained the possibility to change the appearance back to a sane state, e.g. by using Classic Theme Restorer. Mozilla doesn't offer this option now, which to me equals showing the middle finger to advanced users. I've been a vocal opponent of Australis, yet I would never have thought that Mozilla would change in a way which almost makes me cry.

        The users remaining with Firefox now are people who are content with a browser offering close to zero customization, closely resembling the Chrome crowd.

        Where we disagree is the question of possible alternatives. You don't consider Pale Moon to be one because of lacking manpower in their development team. OK, I see that. But why do you always bring up Otter then? It makes use of WebKit, which Apple develops. Apple? Sounds great in theory, but their pace of development is so slow, even a snail is faster. The HTML5 score of Safari is incredibly low, it's just unworthy of Apple. While the small Otter team may introduce some improvements I don't understand why lacking manpower is an issue to you when it comes to Pale Moon, but not when it comes to Otter. They suffer from the very same issue and overall lack the manpower to develop an own engine in the pace that would be required to remain compatible with the modern web. The best solution are browsers which use a widely adopted engine as their core and can this way concentrate on feature development. Brave and Vivaldi are great examples here. They are leaving the work to Google when it comes to Blink, freeing up manpower/resources. Nevertheless, Brave's concept of replacing ads with other ads is really shady and I doubt that this is legally allowed at all. If they grow bigger I'm sure some lawsuits will pop up as a result. Furthermore Brave is really lacking when it comes to customization. Vivaldi has made better progress and is not developed with such a shady concept in mind. Jon von Tetzchner (Vivaldi founder, formerly Opera) is actually listening to his users, which is great. I saw him actually implementing features for which their was a vocal demand more than once. Thus I support them over Brave.

        Now you will tell me that you would neither use Brave nor Vivaldi because they are based on Blink, meaning you would support the Google monopoly this way. I respect that. However, you should have acknowledged by now that Google already controls a huge chunk of the market, leaving them free to do as they please anyway. Their dominance is already strong enough that no decision can be made without them having their say. Sad but true. It doesn't matter if there are one or two minor competitors (Microsoft and Mozilla) out there. Google is laughing at them. Why? Because of their inability to offer an easy to use, fast browser. IE did not even offer an AdBlocker, felt ancient and Firefox was just slower and felt more bloated. No wonder Chrome grew the way it did. Of course Google applied shady strategies like bundling Chrome with other software, but let's be honest: Most people willingly downloaded Chrome and used it no matter what. As said above user satisfaction is actually quite high among Chrome users, which further underlines this fact.

        Point is: Google grew and grew, and their competitor's incompetence only helped. Mozilla has one big advantage which is customization and add-ons. And what are they doing? They throw it away like garbage, as if it never existed. Formerly they offered an easy to use browser, yet were still providing the ability to heavily customize the thing. Now we end up with this childish-looking browser. Pathetic. And this leads back to the beginning of my post.

        In the end, your resistance against Blink is useless. The majority will continue using Blink-based browsers, period. It's the same with the Desktop OS market: You may very well use Linux, but the Windows crowd doesn't care at all. Does you using Linux (because you belong to the freedom-loving minority) change anything in the long run? Nope. Funnily enough the situation in the Desktop OS market came to pass the same way like in the browser world: Apple and the Linux community just weren't able to get their shit together. Apple refused to license their OS to other manufacturers, thus obliterating its relevance. Linux split up in approx. 1000 distributions with major incompatibilities with one another. As I said, Windows' dominance was entirely the fault of the competitors. And the same is happening with browsers. You got the point? Good.

        This is why I care more for general usability and the fulfilling of my personal needs as opposed to ideology. You really can't direct where the crowd goes, but it's the crowd which determines the supported standards. Competition would be better for sure, but sadly that's not where things are heading to at the moment.

      • lord lestat April 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

        Well, i do indeed care more for ideology and i will not support unfair organizations. That is really the big difference between us.

        Have fun with your Chromium browsers ;)

      • Appster April 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

        @Lord Lestat: My attitude is just pragmatic. No new web standard can be drafted without Google's consent nowadays, so what is the point of your protest? Do you really think anybody cares whether you use a Blink-based browser or not? Same goes for me and everyone else here by the way.

      • Dan82 April 11, 2017 at 12:06 am #

        @ Appster : full ack!

        Mozilla spends over 200 million USD per year on software development, with Firefox being their biggest product, possibly also the most expensive one. On the other hand, alternative browsers like the mentioned Vivaldi or even Opera come from comparatively tiny companies or development teams. Jon von Tetzchner's Vivaldi Technology only has 35 employees, not all of which are coders. Back when Opera opened a technology development center in Wroclaw, Poland, and subsequently moved their desktop browser development there (the suggestion has been floated it was because of cheaper wages), it boasted some 150 employees I believe. Only a smaller subset of those will actively develop for the desktop browser.

        The question becomes, if Mozilla's way is a sustainable business model, because no matter how you look at it, the non-profit organization gains around 90 percent of their revenues from royalties and thus their potentially declining market share (they are after all very weak on mobile devices with currently only 0.56% courtesy of NetMarketShare) will eventually influence their bottom line. In 2015 their search deal with Yahoo amounted to 375 of a total of 410 million in royalties and it is literally impossible to see this deal extended beyond December of 2019. With Google no longer interested and Yahoo not extending this crazy deal, will they be able to replace the majority of that money or will some (much) the income be lost? Their latest hope for an alternative income stream in the form of Firefox OS crashed and burned and so far there hasn't been much else to earn money with.

        I know this seems like I'm not even trying to reply to the topic at hand, but bear with me a second. When you look at huge companies you don't have to worry, as these costs will be like a drop in the bucket to them. Microsoft has been in the browser market for a long time and had at first used their free browser version to attract people to buy the Windows operating system, nowadays it's the other way around. Apple forked the KHTML code and created WebKit from it; without those contributions by the company based in Cupertino, the original development by KDE would still languish a niche existence if it would even still be alive today at all. Google started on their own path with an already well developed WebKit engine and forked it themselves five years later. Not even a giant like Microsoft started from scratch however, as their own first Internet Explorer was based on Mosaic code, the predecessor to the popular Netscape browser.

        What I'm trying to paint is a picture that should explain everything. There is not a lot of good and evil in browsers itself, only the companies that develop them and even then that is a very subjective point of view. If someone doesn't like a company, they are free to use an alternative product and that's totally fine by me.

        A decade ago you could find dozens of browsers that used IE's closed source Trident engine, now we're all spoiled for choice with alternatives based on open source code that is being maintained largely by the big two Apple and Google, while Firefox forks are much rarer. Why should we disregard their open source contributions? Just because the companies are evil and we don't like them? Speaking as a (sometimes) web developer you can't believe how often I've wished and prayed for one dominant browser engine to happen, forsaking all others in the process. It didn't really matter if that was from Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera or any other source. Sure, I absolutely agree that this could and eventually would create its own problems, but as long as ANYone can choose at ANY time to say "I don't like the direction of this development so I will take it into my own hands and go another way" then everything is fine in the world of browsers. Unless all companies (Apple, Google and yes even Mozilla) suddenly decide to develop their own closed source browser engine(s) from scratch while abandoning their very advanced current browsers that are all based on open source projects, then nothing will change from the status quo. Well, there's always the chance of Microsoft becoming the dominant figure on the browser market again ... but naaah, I can't see that happening this side of the next millennium.

        My point is: you don't like Google? Don't use Chrome. You don't like Apple? Don't use Safari. You don't like Mozilla? Don't use Firefox. There are so many browsers out there that take very little development time simply because they don't have to touch the foundation (read: the engine) and can concentrate on UI and thus a better user experience.

        P.S.: Oh and so I also post a little bit of something on topic: I actually quite like the tab bar with its rectangular tabs. Goodbye Australis default design, finally! I love the compact mode, which is something I've built myself with custom settings in the Classic Theme Restorer extension. The hamburger menu on the other hand is awful, but lets be honest here. Aside from some details like the Firefox sync (a feature I don't use and don't want to use) taking space at the very top of it, it's remarkably similar to the one in Chrome. One can make the argument that Mozilla is "Chromifying" their browser and they wouldn't be entirely wrong, but it's not like there are (m)any good alternatives out there. Vivaldi's menu button is God-awful, but at least their menu-bar is acceptable. Opera's button may be traditionally placed on the left, but the menu design is a Chrome copy anyway. Even the sidebars look nice and about as useable as many current sidebar extensions. Although speaking about that: the upcoming sidebar WebExtensions API for Firefox is looking to be a bit of a disappointment to me, because it looks to be as limited as Opera's in that regard where you can only add HTML content. But if that's the only thing I'm going to dislike about Polaris, then it's an acceptable loss. Extensions as a whole are another matter though, but that's a different topic and I've rambled on for too long already.

  14. firefox April 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    this is another fork of chrome,not the real firefox

  15. Lord Lestat April 9, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    The problem is that Mozilla believes today in "form over function"

    Also known as: "Do not touch my design because if you make it look bad when you change it and others see it they will not buy my product"

    This vision is also known as:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_design
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_identity

    which results in the following:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand

    Both visions have one thing in common - The product itself should not be allowed to to be modified too much by the customer/user as the distinctive look should be prevailed by all means.

    This excludes of course the option to change the UI too much.

    And now, who made that concept so popular.. Google with Chrome!

    Australis was the raw conception - Photon is the ultimate result of all that.

    • throbbingnerdrage April 10, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

      I have suspicions that some one inside Mozilla HQ is a paid Google shill and making Mozilla redesign their browser and turn their noses up towards and shake their fingers in condescending manner at decades long time users and developers. Think about how radical Netscape was redesigned before it eventually failed. Firefox will eventually follow suite. One of the forks of Firefox will be its replacement.

      Think about this. IE is dead. Chrome is numba 1. Edge is Chrome re-skinned. Opera is Chrome re-skinned. Firefox is having an Identity crisis.

      Simply put we did not ask for this. There's not a more elegant way to move forward, They're not listening us. They owners will bail when Firefoxs' numbers flop.

      • Dan82 April 11, 2017 at 12:28 am #

        Hi, I don't entirely disagree with the majority of your post, although it was written quite inflammatory. That being said, you're wrong about Edge being Chrome re-skinned. Microsoft has cleaned up and almost entirely re-written the Trident (Internet Explorer) engine to create a modern browser out of it. Sure, in terms of design choice they took the minimalistic view that reeks of Google Chrome, but that's not a fair or accurate assumption. The Internet Explorer itself was a rather basic browser and only grew very powerful with its engine being used in third-party applications like AvantBrowser, SlimBrowser and a whole host of others I don't remember.

        You can't fault Microsoft for trying to reach the same group of users that Google does, all those that are content with a basic browser. Now if only there were some (more) alternative browsers available using the EdgeHTML engine, but I kind of doubt that's going to happen any time soon. So far I only know of the UC Browser, an UWP app developed by Chinese mega company Alibaba.

  16. Tau April 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    Darn, this looks even worse than australis, which can look relatively good with some customization. The giant icons menu is probably the only improvement design-wise, even though I'm used to it by now and at least it doesn't look like a copy of chrome. I wonder how many "advanced users" will they lose again.

  17. Michael McConnell April 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    My secondary browser, Vivaldi, is looking better and better every day.

  18. John April 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Between WebExtensions and this, it looks like I need to get on the move finding a new Web browser by November. I have been using Firefox for over a decade. I never thought Mozilla themselves would drive me away.

  19. kalmly April 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Fork FF. I'll stay with my current version a while longer and then move back to Pale Moon.

  20. 1 April 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    I find the new design rather odd.
    It literally seems to be a step backwards.
    The "new" menu seems largely to be reverting the previous menu change (when they switched to the big icon look).
    The "new" tabs are fairly similar to the pre-Australis tabs.
    And what's with the forward button? Hiding the forward forward button when it couldn't be used was in my opinion a smart move. Not so long ago that was a new feature. Now part of the "new" design appears to be reverting that change. At the very least, I would expect it to auto-hide when in the compact theme.

  21. Mystique April 9, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Not much to add here other than...

    https://image.ibb.co/fR7N5k/etch_a_sketch_1.png

  22. ShintoPlasm April 9, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

    So. Between this interface redesign, e10s, WebExtensions and God knows what else, how long before some clever-clogs at Mozilla HQ decides they need to implement some other major change which will, sadly, break a lot of existing functionality but will, of course, greatly improve scalability, stability, security and something else or other. That's what Mozilla have been pulling off for the last few years: change after change after annoying change. There is no clear direction, and no guiding vision, and the changes are coming in thick and fast whilst users are leaving in droves. What's to stop Mozilla from once again making a clean start in a year's time?

  23. Ray April 9, 2017 at 7:25 pm #

    I like the new UI direction Firefox is going in, but Firefox shouldn't restrict what is shown in the navigation bar. If I want to hide the Back and Forward buttons, let me do it, you shouldn't babyproof the browser for advanced users.

    • Lip sync April 10, 2017 at 4:09 am #

      They're moveable with the new design, it seems. Well maybe that's what you meant.

      • Ray April 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

        No, I do mean removing buttons like Home, Refresh, Back, Forward from the navigation bar.

        I would also want to add or remove the whitespace from the left side.

  24. David April 9, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    So, even more reversion of Australis changes. That much is good.

    I'll say that I dislike that they're keeping things in the hamburger menu. Sort of. Usage-wise, I'd prefer they go back to the orange Firefox menu in the top-left corner (except single column instead of double column; the way the new menu actually operates is fine). However if they did so, I'd also have a gripe about the reduction in tab real estate space. And if they went back to a proper title bar, people would complain about vertical real estate loss. So there's downsides no matter which version they adopt, and there will always be someone complaining.

    So the question is what's the most usable for the most people. Well, how much do you access the main menu while using Firefox? Compared to switching tabs, or reading, pretty rarely. So vertical space and room for tabs are more valuable than an infrequently-used menu item. Thus, it stays in the hamburger. I can live with it.

    Next, huge rearrangeable icons or text menus? I know that personally, using the icons is always a headache, precisely because I can't really be sure of where they're located. And as many people have pointed out, a proper menu is a lot more useful than huge button-mashing icons. The hamburger menu should *be* a menu. And it looks like they're finally going back to that. Single-column, too, because the old double-column format was a headache to use.

    Replacement and back navigation is easier to use than pop-out cascading menus. Using bookmark cascade folders is always a little annoying because it's so easy to 'lose' your menu position. With replacement, it's a lot more stable. And if you're going to a submenu, you really don't need to keep the top menu around (but can navigate back with the 'back' button), so again, this is generally a better menu design.

    The >> menu for 'hidden' extension or other toolbar items is a reasonable compromise for things you want accessible, but out of the way. It's taking the role of the old status bar/addon bar, since those aren't available anymore (due to preference for vertical space), as far as "someplace to stuff the extra extensions I'm sometimes but not always using".

    The library, I'm not sure about. Logically, it makes sense, but pushing bookmarks into a second-level menu seems a bit annoying. From one of the screenshots, you'll still be able to bring the Downloads arrow back to the toolbar, so you'll have one-click access to that, but I don't see the equivalent for bookmarks — unless it's that icon next to the Library button on the toolbar already, and they just never show its use.

    I'm going to assume that the start page can be reconfigured to just a blank page, like always, and as long as that's available, I don't really care what they do with the rest of it. Having extensions be able to modify the page means someone will probably come up with something interesting, anyway.

    Search bar is still available (as expected), so I'm happy with that.

    Sidebar is interesting. I don't use sidebars much, but it looks workable. Hopefully there's an option to put it on the left side of the screen.

    Overall, it seems they're re-learning common sense from 20 years ago, combined with a few minor modern tweaks (such as menu operation). The hipsters that controlled the UX department for Australis (including the one asshole who dominated that design period) have finally grown up or got kicked out.

  25. Jack Alexander April 9, 2017 at 11:39 pm #

    I'm quitting FX at version 56. I don't want web extensions and less flexibility. Will probably switch to Vivaldi our of spite to FX.

    • Jason Duff April 10, 2017 at 4:47 am #

      dunno yet what i'll use, , Chrome perhaps, as it wont be Firefox as Bookmarks as it is in this New Design is useless

  26. An April 10, 2017 at 2:18 am #

    I do have feeling little like macOS and little bit Edge also much Chrome... Is this a combination?

  27. Wolf Kirchmeir April 10, 2017 at 3:18 am #

    The redesign reduces flexibility and choice. Why? Because of the attitude expressed in "...things that should not be visible all the time in the browser UI." That's not for the devs to decide. I'm at ESR 45.8.0, in which I can still decide what things will be visible at all times. Take that away that flexibility, and Firefox is just an average browser.

    And only two colour schemes for the "compact" mode? Really?

  28. Dangerahead April 10, 2017 at 4:12 am #

    Bookmarks will be a killer for me with this UI that needs to be re-designed again . an much more, it'll become a non-usable browser , RIP Firefox. Firefox Dies in November

  29. Mike April 10, 2017 at 5:30 am #

    I don't mind it. We will see what the finalized version looks like, but these screenshots are an improvement over the first mockups that were released last week or so that looked overly cartoony. I get why people are upset about some of the potential changes to Firefox, but I will continue to use the browser (along with Vivaldi), if only because the only extensions I use should be ported over without issue (namely uBlock Origin).

  30. Chris April 10, 2017 at 9:59 am #

    Why is Mozilla pushing all these changes when there are still thousands of unfixed known bugs in the current product?

  31. Kris April 10, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Hey Guys. If you want to change something, try to discuss and vote on bugzilla.mozilla.org.

    • insanelyapple April 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      Yeah. Like they even care about users feedback.

  32. Anonymous April 10, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    Why is it just changing the look of the UI?
    To attract people aesthetically?
    Is Firefox a cloak for WebExtension?

    What is this innovation that sets it apart from the existing Firefox UI or other browsers?
    Nothing.

    Rather, the new API will bring many constraints.
    They just decorate their appearance and attract people.
    Like a fox.

    Graphic designers seem to have done their best.
    I have no complaints to them.

  33. Jozsef April 10, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    It looks nice enough at first glance and the ugly Australis tabs are gone, but what does it matter now? The highly customizable browser we know and love, that suits beginners and experts alike, has been slated for execution (sorry to be so dramatic) to be replaced by something unacceptable to most power users. It's just a pity they are keeping the name to confuse and befuddle the uninitiated.

    Since I was an early user of Netscape Navigator, this represents a lot of history coming to a sad end, but that's life in the real world. People come and go and organizations change as a result, very often fading away when the inspired original visionaries are replaced by incompetents or egotists. It's not the end of the world because there will always be enlightened people who want to create something of real value. Vivaldi looks like an excellent choice and right now, Pale Moon works fine too. I'm happy enough with these that I haven't even looked at the great many other projects out there but I've been around long enough to know that new stars generally appear when things look their darkest.

  34. insanelyapple April 10, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    With new main menu layout they don't even hide from whom they're copying stuff any more.

    Also, seems that >> "tray" for extension icons is already present in current Fx 52 - I have two 3 webextensions and icons of these are automatically hiding. That's the worst change ever done - I can't see ublock, privacy badger status and I have to click more to use Secure Login which is not a problem with regular extension that forces 2 other icons to stay visible.

    There's no other word which could be used here for which I'm sorry Martin, but this change was introduced by some complete dick.

    Some people at Mozilla need a serious slap on the head with baseball bat. Maybe that will make them drop shitty ideas. Tho, that still wouldn't be enough humiliating.

  35. Junior Silva April 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    For me as Firefox is now it is so good! I hope this change does not spoil Firefox! I just want my extensions to continue working (I think it's a bit difficult), but I really hope they work and the developers do not give up with this new drastic change that Mozilla is doing ...

  36. Brian April 11, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    I've been waiting for them to add an addon drop down for years. Good to see it finally arrived. Well if it stays that is.

  37. Steve April 15, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

    It seems to have been forgotten on this thread, but the real reason that the customization of Firefox is taking a hit is because of the switch to multi-process and the deprecation of XUL.

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