The 57, one awesome browser - Make Helsinki

The 57, one awesome browser

by: Davor Skontra
  •   Teknologia •  8.2.2018   •  3 minuutin lukuaika

Good old days

Mozilla used to make an amazing browser. Fast. Rendering websites much more reliably than Internet Explorer which was the most used browser at the time. There were countless extensions that made made Firefox even cooler. Everything was customizable with plugins. From the navigation panel to the dropdown and context menus.

Then came Google Chrome. It was the rocket ship. The lean race car. So fast that suddenly Firefox seamed big and bloated. Still, it’s sudden heaviness was easy to ignore as it’s extensions were still awesome.


Not so good days

Then as if they were in league with Google, Mozilla started making fast, backward compatibility breaking updates, and all of my favorite extensions were dying one by one. I started thinking about making a switch.

The last straw was the release of mobile Chrome on Android.

The Google powered browser was effortlessly syncing with its desktop counterpart. Bookmarks, history and all. Firefox claimed to be capable of the same, but the setup was the opposite of what one would call easy. There was a complicated authentication process which was not worth the benefit, also Firefox for Android was crap.

I sighed. Then gave up and went full Chrome. It was not bad. It even had extensions, but not as powerful or as plentiful as the extensions that used to be available in the old Firefox

 A few years passed, and I was pretty satisfied, but could not forget how cool Firefox used to be. Every now and then I’d go back to it. Just to be disappointed and turn back to Chrome again.


But Mozilla was not ready to call it quits

Luckily the girls and boys at Mozilla did not sit on their hands or accept their defeat.  They worked hard and first developed a new language called Rust. It was as fast as C++ but with great thread and memory safety. Then, slowly and in iterations they used Rust to completely rebuild Firefox. Replacing older component with new ones one at a time.

This road lead to the version 57, also known as Firefox Quantum which finally completed the bulk of the work they set out to do. Even then, to me, this didn’t seem important, I didn’t believe that Firefox could have improved after all this time. But them one of my favorite webcomics had a post about it and I decided to try it.


And Firefox was made great again

I’ve made the switch. And, ooh boy am I happy I did. It is brilliant. Fast, much faster than Chrome, which has nowadays became almost as bloated as Firefox used to be back then. Much more configurable as well. Pure awesomeness.

Today, more than two months later Firefox is already in version 58.

And yeah, it’s still amazing.



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