Modern UI Firefox for Windows 8 postponed to late January

Mozilla has reportedly pushed back the release date of its Firefox browser for Windows 8 to late January because of slow development process.

Firefox "Metro" has been under development for more than a year and has not yet been released to the general public. Back in February, Mozilla made the nightly versions of the browser available for testing under the development branch "Elm." The "Aurora" channels maintained by Mozilla currently have the "Metro Preview Release" which will graduate further to beta and release.

As reported earlier, the Modern UI browser was expected to leave beta on Dec. 10 with Firefox 26, but now according to a report by Computerworld, the date has been pushed back to late January with version 27.

According to Mozilla's meeting notes:

"The decrease in average team velocity over the two previous iterations positions Metro for a Firefox 27 release on January 21, 2014."

Google Chrome has had its Modern UI version since the launch of Windows 8. Mozilla is surely running late with its release and quite possibly losing users in the newly evolving Windows 8 tablet ecosystem. Users who want to try the preview release can get it over at Mozilla's FTP.

Source: Mozilla via Computerworld | Images via Mozilla

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Not Metro but retro.
Not only is the UI a great step back into the past (e.g. fullscreen not windowed), but the underlying APIs aren't modern enough to handle a decent browser either.

I'm running the UX nightlies and it has the "Modern UI" browser, too, but I hardly ever use it. In fact, it pretty much only gets launched when I accidentally click a link in the Mail app, forgetting that since it's Modern UI it will open with another Modern UI app. Then I close it and go to the desktop version.

You can't call Google Chromes Modern UI version any close to good. So, late, yes, they are, but to late? They are the second one to join, after Internet Explorer, which was there back in September 2011.

google's way isn't really touch friendly. rather have a true next gen version of the browser the way mozill and IE are doing. chrome will be just left in the dust.

Sometimes I forget Firefox still exists... Been a long time since I have heard of someone using it. Chrome really took over that market fast.

They can kill it for all I care, I use firefox on my non Win8 pc's but I have found IE10 to be perfectly fine for my needs on Win8

great news. big firefox fan. I am pretty sure when people get their hands on 8.1 RTM they will change their mind about windows 8 full screen apps/ windows store. I was never using it prior to 8.1 simply because it was irritating and limited to snap mode. specially when you didn't have touch screen. Now that I have 8.1 I don't even use start 8 that I purchased last year. 8.1 is the way to go. and

This isnt even needed, no one takes the MS Store seriously anyway, neither do they Metro apps, so wholefully, no serious FF user wants this...

- Kaboose - said,
no serious FF user wants this...

Why not? I use Firefox on my desktop, and I use it on my Android tablets and phone. If I had an RT device I'd certainly want it there too.

- Kaboose - said,
This isnt even needed, no one takes the MS Store seriously anyway, neither do they Metro apps, so wholefully, no serious FF user wants this...
I agree Kaboose. A coworker of mine bought a laptop last November. She has never used the MS Store nor any of the modern apps. When she boots up, she clicks the "Desktop" tile, and she's on her way. I can see many users doing the same thing.

I really hope this gets done. I'd love to see what they can come up with for the UI not to mention it will push MS to make their Modern IE better.

MrHumpty said,
I really hope this gets done. I'd love to see what they can come up with for the UI not to mention it will push MS to make their Modern IE better.

Exactly. People are hating on this but without Firefox we probably wouldn't have Chrome and we would probably be stuck with a crappy version of IE that has hardly seen any investment in a decade or more. Look how bad things got in just the few years from Windows 2000/Me to IE10. Microsoft just stopped caring about IE and it showed as it took years for them to get things back on track and it still lacks things such as a solid extension system.

InTheSwiss said,
Exactly. People are hating on this but without Firefox we probably wouldn't have Chrome and we would probably be stuck with a crappy version of IE that has hardly seen any investment in a decade or more. Look how bad things got in just the few years from Windows 2000/Me to IE10. Microsoft just stopped caring about IE and it showed as it took years for them to get things back on track and it still lacks things such as a solid extension system.
IE 7+ were in a decent upgrade path. IE6 stuck around way too long. The "invest lag" was really that 5 year stint from IE6 to 7. They were playing catch-up quite nicely with 7->8. 9 was a solid browser. 10 was virtually on Par and 11 is bringing them to the front. Lets not overstate the lag period though, about 3-4 years of non-development. But, it was long enough to allow Firefox to even turn into the fat kid and welcome Chrome to the fight.

While 7 and 8 were a hell of a lot better than 6 they were still crappy. They had awful JS performance. Awful MS specific rendering issues. It really took MS until 9 to get things sorted out. They hacked in tabs as they were the only browser without them and you could tell it was a nasty hack. They had no sandbox for flash. They were the slowest to render even the simplest of things and devs still had to use nasty hacks to get modern CSS to look right.

As for Chrome, it wasn't so much that Firefox became the fat kid. It was more than Google saw the need for their own browser to have more influence on web standards. Remember they tried their own thing with such things as Google Gears before they realised the best way to direct the development of the web standards and technologies used was to make a browser and make it good. Things like SPDY are now supported in Firefox and IE after Google pushed them forward. They are doing what Microsoft wanted (and almost managed to do) with IE back in the early 00s. Microsoft's mistake was to lock out non-IE users whereas Google push for their ideas to be the standards and let other browser support them. They just make sure they support things better. Look at Chrome OS. While it isn't suited to everyone it is a pretty great system if all you do is email, facebook and some online shopping on amazon, etc. Nobody would have thought anyone could sell a laptop with just a browser but Google are managing too. Ok not in amazing numbers but even 1 is more than I think most people would have bet on a decade ago.

InTheSwiss said,
While 7 and 8 were a hell of a lot better than 6 they were still crappy. They had awful JS performance. Awful MS specific rendering issues. It really took MS until 9 to get things sorted out. They hacked in tabs as they were the only browser without them and you could tell it was a nasty hack. They had no sandbox for flash. They were the slowest to render even the simplest of things and devs still had to use nasty hacks to get modern CSS to look right.

As for Chrome, it wasn't so much that Firefox became the fat kid. It was more than Google saw the need for their own browser to have more influence on web standards. Remember they tried their own thing with such things as Google Gears before they realised the best way to direct the development of the web standards and technologies used was to make a browser and make it good. Things like SPDY are now supported in Firefox and IE after Google pushed them forward. They are doing what Microsoft wanted (and almost managed to do) with IE back in the early 00s. Microsoft's mistake was to lock out non-IE users whereas Google push for their ideas to be the standards and let other browser support them. They just make sure they support things better. Look at Chrome OS. While it isn't suited to everyone it is a pretty great system if all you do is email, facebook and some online shopping on amazon, etc. Nobody would have thought anyone could sell a laptop with just a browser but Google are managing too. Ok not in amazing numbers but even 1 is more than I think most people would have bet on a decade ago.

The main thing... Google didn't create Chrome to have more influence on standards.

Google was throwing a lot of money behind Firefox until IE7 was previewed for the upcoming Windows Vista.

The problem... IE7 had a new set of tracking protection features and Firefox expressed their commitment to offer a similar level of protection. (Cross site advertising would be affected by these changes.)

Google couldn't afford for IE7 to keep traction or Firefox to become dominate, as they would both harm Google's cross site advertising schemes.

They took a side WebKit project and put legs on it, and it shipped with a lot of industry support and glory and LACKING advertising tracking protection.

Google didn't create Chrome to be 'nice' or just to dump money into a 'free' project. They were protecting their control and access to information and providing advertising.

-----

You are correct that Google was able to get some standards through that Microsoft was unable, due to the politics of IBM and Sun.

Ironically, Sun/Oracle supported Google at this time, only to have a burning hatred a couple of years later after they took advantage of their JAVA tools for Android.

In the past couple of years, Microsoft has once again gotten the political backing for web standards and is again making a significant contribution to the W3C.

Mobius hit all the right notes on Chrome. As far as "awful js performance" I agree, on the tests. Real world tests it wasn't nearly as noticable. I've dev'd for Netscape on up, the CSS support within IE was a bit disappointing, but CSS was a mess across the board forever and still is a bit messy. IE was the worst, but they were all marching to their own beat for a while. If the standards body could a) find focus and b) get **** out of draft fast enough CSS and HTML would be much better off.

As far as IE these days and from the 7-8-9 days... MS has to have some backwards compatibility support. Granted the "quirks mode" gave them some wiggle room. But its a bunch of arm chair quarterbacking to rag on MS for not forcing untold amounts of dev costs on businesses by just saying "lol eff you guys we're standards or bust now." Which is basically how I read most of the arguments about the 7-8-9. If MS didn't care about their customers they could have easily gone full CSS complaint and trashed their engine that had to support jScrip/vbscript etc. They've managed to pretty much do that in the past 4-5 years gracefully at a pace that will be tolerable.

Google doesn't really have a Metro UI version of Chrome. They only have a shortcut on the start screen that imitates the Metro UI apps tile but it launches in the desktop; meaning it won't run on Winodws RT..

Err , no browser with its own engine can be made using "Modern API". One can only make a skin for IE like chrome on iOS but can not make a browser engine run over it.
And if being first matters more than being "true", then why didn't I see your "first" comment on this article?
Try Chrome's Metro version and a nightly from above link , you'll see the difference.

PoohGQ said,
Google doesn't really have a Metro UI version of Chrome. They only have a shortcut on the start screen that imitates the Metro UI apps tile but it launches in the desktop; meaning it won't run on Winodws RT..

Unless you set chrome as default. Then it launches regular chrome with the Chrome OS UI in a metro app window.

Google Chrome has had its Modern UI version since the launch of Windows 8.
It is not a metro app. Well technically it is but it is just the same Chrome win32 app dubbed into a metro one.
The one which Mozilla is making is made from their Android tablet version and is optimized for touch. It does have a superior feel to it and acts as a "true" Metro App , and probably better than IE10 Metro.

bogas04 said,
Google Chrome has had its Modern UI version since the launch of Windows 8.
It is not a metro app. Well technically it is but it is just the same Chrome win32 app dubbed into a metro one.
The one which Mozilla is making is made from their Android tablet version and is optimized for touch. It does have a superior feel to it and acts as a "true" Metro App , and probably better than IE10 Metro.

Quite true! The Chrome Windows 8 version is a pretty nasty implementation. It is basically just the same as hitting F11 in the regular desktop version to enter full screen mode.

IE10/11 is not that much better either sadly. Yet it has made some work to make it touch friendly but things like the tabs are an awful design and looks like it was hacked in last minute.

This version of Firefox is the only browser that has actually been designed from the ground up for a touch interface and you can tell by using it as it is so much better than Chrome and IE. It is based on their Android version which is a good thing as it is a great browser design for touch devices.

i want my history to be in collapse-able / expand-able tree form, grouped by day, sites, then sorted by time of visit or individual pages in aplhabetical sorting,
I guess such grouping & sorting was incompatible with metro tiled presentation ...

Not been following all this.
But is this written in the Modern API's, so this can be used for RT as well? Or are they taking the same lazy short cut Google took?

Windows RT can't run these browsers anyway so I honestly don't see a point.

And yeah, this is not a lazy one but they have actually followed Metro guidelines.

the modern app's API isn't powerful enough for a browser to work, the only way to have a browser in the modern environment is using the desktop API, which means that the modern browser app must be tired to the desktop app. IE desktop is pre-installed in windows rt, that why modern IE is powerful enough to work in windows rt and since there's no way to install any desktop apps in windows rt so there're no windows rt browser apps.
btw, mozilla is always late

Yeah WinRT can do a whole lot, but displaying a bit of graphical semi-active information is impossible?

And is Firefox for Android suddenly not working on Android tablets that are even weaker then a Surface RT?

Good to hear its not the lazy short cut way though. Was hoping for that, can't wait till some possible day in the future being able to use 'native' non-trident browsers on Windows RT or Windows Phone.

Shadowzz said,
... Modern API ...

Modern API ??? there is nothing modern in the API, Metro API ok, but modern? that's an insult to API, it's like to call the Taliban Burka a modern dress.

Shadowzz said,
Yeah WinRT can do a whole lot, but displaying a bit of graphical semi-active information is impossible?

And is Firefox for Android suddenly not working on Android tablets that are even weaker then a Surface RT?

Good to hear its not the lazy short cut way though. Was hoping for that, can't wait till some possible day in the future being able to use 'native' non-trident browsers on Windows RT or Windows Phone.

The problem is more do to running javascript. The API's needed to create an acceptable level of JavaScript performance are just not there. Basically it has to do with allocating a heap for the JavaScript to operate on.

Until this is resolved it pretty much locks all third part rendering engines out.

Source:
http://www.computerworld.com/s..._not_worth_it_?pageNumber=1

well most mobile api would be considered inferior to the classic desktop apis.

Metro is no different in that regard. MS seems intent on improving it though, so we will see how far they can push it.

There is a huge amount of confusion regarding Metro apps and Windows RT apps (and then to make things even worse WinRT as well!).

This version of Firefox is a Metro app but not a Windows RT app. Basically it is an x86 specific app which requires Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8 Enterprise or on Intel or AMD x86/x64 base CPU. It is not compatible with the ARM version of Windows named Windows RT.

pratnala said,
Windows RT can't run these browsers anyway so I honestly don't see a point.

And yeah, this is not a lazy one but they have actually followed Metro guidelines.

Actually, it can run them if they are properly developed.

The only limitation is they cannot take over the role of the default browser.

Mobius Enigma said,

Actually, it can run them if they are properly developed.

The only limitation is they cannot take over the role of the default browser.

And they can't be properly developed because the way the Windows RT API works it makes it near impossible to write a Just-In-Time JavaScript engine. See my previous post.

SOOPRcow said,

And they can't be properly developed because the way the Windows RT API works it makes it near impossible to write a Just-In-Time JavaScript engine. See my previous post.

This is kind of true, but will be changing.
(The changes at Microsoft will accelerate this.)

There are limitations in the WinRT and the available native code APIs, but there are ways around them. Developers want a straight port, instead of a conversion that would utilize the newer development model. An additional layer of abstraction is hard for developers until they can see a benefit to them.

Developers can gain the necessary speeds for a JIT even running on top of the Modern UI frameworks. Technically even the HTML/JS runtime of the Modern UI runs on the same abstracted framework and doesn't get direct access to the heap.

(As Windows is designed, it is technically abstracted from the hardware several levels. Which is why IE10/11 on Windows 8 is surprising fast when it can't drop to assembly like Chrome and Firefox are free to do.)

The main point is look forward to the upcoming changes and evolution of the Modern UI framework and API sets. 8.1 brought several new APIs and assisted frameworks for device/etc, and it is planned for them to continue to expand, possibly even before we see Windows 9.


john.smith_2084 said,

Modern API ??? there is nothing modern in the API, Metro API ok, but modern? that's an insult to API, it's like to call the Taliban Burka a modern dress.


Oh yeah I'm sorry, the API isn't Modern, it's ancient. From the 90s.....
Oh wait, its Modern since it just came out a year ago, is still under heavy development and is just another name for WinRT.