Firefox Proton design refresh is almost ready: here is what is new
Mozilla Firefox is getting another design refresh; Mozilla has been working on a refresh of the web browser's design under the Proton codename for some time.
The organization plans to launch the new design in Firefox 89 Stable, out on May 18, 2021. Firefox Stable is at version 87 currently, which means that there will be only one major stable version release before the new design release in May. While things may be delayed, it seems unlikely that this is going to be the caseÂ for the design refresh.
Our last preview of Proton dates back to February 2021; a lot has changed since then. Most design changes can be checked out in Firefox Nightly only, which is at version 89. Many are hidden behind flags and not necessarily enabled by default.
The compact density is still available in the latest Nightly version.
Mozilla removed the preferences browser.proton.toolbar.enabled and browser.proton.tabs.enabled in the latest Nightly versions. The functionality is included in the main Proton preference browser.proton.enabled.
Quite a few new preferences have been added to Firefox in the meantime that handle various Proton related features.
Here is an overview of the preferences that are available currently:
- browser.proton.enabled -- This is the main preference. It will be the main preference going forward, while most of the development related proton preferences will be removed at one point in time.
- browser.aboutwelcome.design -- The preference ensures that Firefox displays the new Welcome page for new users of the browser, provided that it has the value proton.
- browser.proton.doorhangers.enabled -- Doorhanger, e.g. when installing Firefox add-ons, are handled by this preference.
- browser.proton.infobars.enabled -- The infobars, e.g. when popups are blocked, are handled by this preference.
- browser.proton.modals.enabled -- The new modals for the browser are handled by this preference.
- browser.proton.places-tooltip.enabled -- The changed tooltips design is handled by this preference.
- browser.proton.urlbar.enabled -- Changes to the address bar are made behind this preference.
- browser.tabs.secondaryTextUnsupportedLocales -- This is an interesting preference, as it will remain available after the launch of Firefox 89. It lists locales that don't support the new two-line tab layout when playing media in the browser. Add your locale, if not listed, to get a single line layout for tabs all the time. I could not get this to work though in the current Nightly.
- widget.macos.native-context-menus -- Mac OS specific preference to enable native context menus under the operating system.
- widget.macos.respect-system-appearance -- Mac OS specific preference to get full dark mode support when dark mode is enabled on the device.
Generally speaking: most preferences are Boolean and accept values of True or False. True enables the new design usually, False disables it; this is true for all preferences that end with "enabled".
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