Mozilla updated the official Firefox roadmap entry on the organization’s Wiki website recently, highlighting major plans for the browser in 2016/2017.
The information highlight some of the features that Mozilla has in store for the next four stable versions of the Firefox browser (Firefox 48 to 51).
The organization lists three main areas of improvement: foundation, customization and context graph.
Foundation refers to improving the browser’s responsiveness, reliability and polish. Customization primarily to extending the Web Extension API, and Context Graph to a new recommendation engine Mozilla plans to deliver.
It needs to be noted that the roadmap does not highlight all new features or improvements of the next four or so Firefox releases. Instead, it highlights Mozilla’s focus and strategy for those next releases of the web browser.
Firefox Roadmap for 2016/2017
Features that were delayed several times, multi-process Firefox and add-on signing, will find their way into the stable version of Firefox.
Discovery and recommendations seem to be a strong focus going forward.
Chronological Firefox roadmap
The following information lists Firefox versions and the new features Mozilla plans to integrate in them. Target milestones may change however so think of this as the earliest possible version shipping with the feature:
- E10s, Electrolysis or multi-process Firefox, launches for about 1% of Firefox stable users (who meet certain criteria such as not using any add-ons).
- Firefox 48 will use a blocklist to protect against Flash fingerprinting.
- Sync Tab Sidebar is listed for Firefox 48, but it is already available in Firefox 47 Stable. It adds a new sidebar to Firefox that displays all synced tabs.
- Web Extension API milestone: make 35% of all Chrome extensions compatible with Firefox. Use this add-on to install Chrome extensions in Firefox.
- Add-on signing becomes mandatory for Stable and Beta versions of Firefox. The override switch is removed.
- Modernization of Security UI. New security dialogs and modernization.
- New discovery pane that acts as a recommendation engine for add-ons.
- E10s, Electrolysis or multi-process Firefox, rolls out to RTL and AllY/Touch users. Makes E10s available to Windows XP users, Right to Left systems, accessibility tool users and touch users.
- Firefox won’t return that Flash is installed to sites anymore but sets Flash to click to play automatically. This is done to prioritize HTML5 playback over Flash.
- E10s, Electrolysis or multi-process Firefox, rolls out for add-on users and continues to do so until Firefox 53.
- Firefox 52: Mozilla plans to disable NPAPI plugin support by default but ship the browser with a switch that enables users to re-enable support.
- Firefox 53: NPAPI support is removed from Firefox. The only option Firefox users have at this point in time is to use Firefox ESR which will support NPAPI for a bit longer (until May 2018).
- Firefox ??: Activity Stream replaces the New Tab Page.
The roadmap offers a feature-focused overview that highlights some of the upcoming changes. It is somewhat surprising that privacy and security are not mentioned in the roadmap at all, considering that this is one of the stronger points of Firefox.
Now You: What’s your take on the roadmap?