Firefox for Android Gets Its Overhaul

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 23, 2011

If you thought the rapid release cycle that Mozilla moved to in February for its Firefox browser applied only to desktop browser versions, think again. Mozilla is serious about mobile versions of Firefox, and we've reported on a post from developer Jonathan Nightingale, in a Google Groups post, who confirmed that Firefox for Android will soon get a native UI instead of the current XUL version. For users, that means ultra-fast boot times and more. Today is the day the Firefox for Android overhaul appears in Mozilla's nightly builds

The big news in the overhauled version of Firefox for Android is that everything in the application is a native Android widget, as explained in this post:

"Quite simply everything you see is a native Android widget. Even the web content is displayed in a native view, very similar to the multi-process layers system we previously used. This allows us to asynchronously pan and zoom the web content, without waiting for the browser to scroll or zoom the actual content. Even though the UI is completely implemented in native widgets, there is still a lot of JavaScript around, it’s just not visible. JavaScript is the perfect binding language into the Gecko platform and we are still using it for many of the same tasks. "

The previous XUL-based version also had some performance and latency problems, which are expected to go away with the overhaul. Specifically, the native user interface will use much less memory than the previous version.

Mozilla has demonstrated that it means business about delivering updates to Firefox on a rapid release cycle, after announcing the move in February of this year. It looks like this will apply to mobile versions of the Firefox browser as well.

You can get the overhauled Firefox for Android on the Nightly Builds site.