Firefox in 2012: Mozilla wants less emphasis on version numbers, better add-on compatibility, and more developer tools

Today, on their Mozilla Hacks blog, Mozilla reminded us of all the Firefox accomplishments for 2011. Chief among these accomplishments are Firefox for Android, privacy advancements courtesy of Do Not Track, and the new Firefox Aurora channel. In addition to the just-mentioned, Firefox made performance improvements, decreased memory usage, introduced a new rapid release cycle (which we all love so dearly), made improvements to existing Firefox features and added new features/APIs, and had 480,000,000 add-ons installed.

With such a busy ’11, what does Mozilla have planned for 2012? One of the major changes Mozilla wants to make is re-branding Firefox. Mozilla recognizes the annoyance some users feel when updating to a new version of Firefox every six weeks. So instead of emphasizing Firefox versions (e.g. Firefox 11), Mozilla aims to go to just Firefox, similar to how Chrome is just Chrome and not Chrome 17. To help reinforce this change, Mozilla will introduce silent updates to Firefox, making Firefox download and update silently in the background with users not even knowing what hit them (i.e. you won’t get the whole “restart your browser to apply update” message). Furthermore, Firefox will only display the What’s New page after an update introduces a major feature/change. Three other major 2012 plans have already been implemented or are a work in progress:

  • Seeing as how Firefox is updated every six weeks, Mozilla does not want users to continually face the whole “your add-on is not supported by Firefox X” problem anymore. As such, starting in Firefox 10 all add-ons are marked as compatible by default. If an add-on supports Firefox 4 or higher, then it will be “compatible” with newer Firefox releases.
  • The ability to sync add-ons with Firefox Sync, a feature added in Firefox 11.
  • Mozilla Marketplace, which is currently in Developer Preview and will see public launch some time in 2012.

The final two significant plans Mozilla has is to enhance the tools developers have at their disposal and to push various different web platforms, such as better compatibility with Web Apps and the ability to play video games in full-screen Firefox.

Want to read in detail about what Mozilla has planned for 2012? Hit up the link below to read the official blog post:

Mozilla Hacks blog post

[via Engadget]

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  • Yes download accelerator addon deson’t work any more any alternatives?

    EL RHAZI Otmane.

  • Mario

    Installed Firefox 11 although it mentioned that Download Accelerator Plus Premium extension is incompatible. It works perfectly, so Mozilla’s claim that they will not have any more incompatible add-ons is be true. Another from a bank that was not being accepted previously is OK too.

  • jayesstee

    Thanks Ashraf, informative article. One thing though: “480,000,000 add-ons”? So many add-ons, so little time!

  • hatman

    Good Info!

  • Hamza

    Yes, this version numbers are annoying ; they release a new version every short time (as you said every six weeks), I don’t know why -after Firefox 4- they preferred changing the primary number instead of the secondary one, perhaps they imitate Google Chrome!

  • Mario

    hummmm.. I also would like too see the confirmation that add ons will work OK! I have purchased Roboform and Download Accelerator Plus and they install add ons that I’m not sure will work on newer versions of Firefox. Both work OK on my 7.01 version, but I’m afraid on moving to newer versions. Also, there is a terrible problem with banks ad ons!! They are very seldom updated. I have 2 bussiness accounts : for one I’m using and OLD Utilu 3.6.23 version just to get into one of my banks account. For the another one MUST use IE.
    Comments Ashraf?
    thank you
    mario from brasil

  • Old Prop

    Humph. I don’t know whether I like this or not (although thanks for the information). Will having add-ons break unexpectedly be better than being told a new release will break them? And will there be a way back to an older version if/when one of these silent updates does something unpleasant? Or will all add-ons that support Firefox 4 or higher now magically work on all systems? I like Firefox a lot, but…