Mozilla Firefox Modern UI appears in Firefox 18 nightlies

Just like what is available with Google's Chrome browser through the Dev channel, Mozilla has released a new nightly version of Firefox that includes a Modern UI version of the browser that can be launched exclusively through the Start Screen. The version of Firefox you'll need to download is Firefox 18.0a1 (link at the top), which is currently three versions ahead of Firefox 15 stable.

Previously we heard a preview version of Firefox for Windows 8 was coming at the end of September, and while this wasn't quite the case, early October is pretty close. We've also seen some mock-ups of what the Modern UI version will look like, and after downloading and installing the nightly version we can confirm it does work okay, and it looks similar to the mock-ups posted which is great to see.

Although, as this is a nightly version of Firefox, don't expect it to be nearly as polished as the stable release; we don't recommend you use it as your daily browser. While we were using the Modern UI Firefox we encountered a number of bugs, such as the lack of scroll wheel support and the missing ability to drag with the mouse, along with an unfinished download manager.

Also, as a commenter points out:

Note: This is not the standard nightly build. It's actually a different branch being used that they refer to as Elm.

You can download the nightly version of Firefox through the source link below, and also peruse through our gallery in case you don't want to test it out for yourself.

Source: Mozilla Wiki | Thanks to platonov for the tip! 
Additional reporting by Steven Parker

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft Surface ads show up in Washington DC subway

Next Story

WSJ says Apple has begun iPad mini production

41 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

It's ok but as stated, its real buggy. You can't use your scroll wheel, and I'm finding that I can open a new tab, but I can't close them,and its difficult to switch between them. The new tab pop-up doesn't stay long enough for it to be used.

keysteele said,
It's ok but as stated, its real buggy. You can't use your scroll wheel, and I'm finding that I can open a new tab, but I can't close them,and its difficult to switch between them. The new tab pop-up doesn't stay long enough for it to be used.

True. Alternatively, you can Alt+Tab with *desktop* browsers (or even desktop Nightly, which can be launched independently). Lastly, I'm not a fan of tabbing *outside* of desktop browsers.

billyea said,
Do extensions work properly with this version?

Some extensions (Internet Download Manager) *will* have issues - this IS a Nightly/Aurora build after all.

QuadForce said,
LOVE having tabs always showing. Wish IE had this option.
Firefox doesn't show them always... Look at the screenshot: doe you see tabs?

Studio384 said,
Firefox doesn't show them always... Look at the screenshot: doe you see tabs?
On default it's not always showing. There's an option you can select to make the tabs stay on the screen.

great but firefox is crashing down like the Hindenburg. having lots is cool kid status to chrome and being out innovated and out released by google in every turn, now it is on a death spiral. even IE is taking share from it now.

the days of firefox are over. they should just join their place in the "other browser" category. the lesson: live by hype, die by hype.

Their demise is of their own making. They created a culture that wanted something different, not necessarily better. And so when chrome showed up, all their crowd left gladly to the next flower like a bee would. Combined with the fact the Firefox devs still can't get over their angst of IE, as if that was their real competitor, it left plenty of room for chrome to exploit all of FF's weakness.

they are being out developed. they are being out innovated. they are being buried.

neonspark said,
Pro-Chrome propaganda

I still have tons of issues with Chrome that Firefox does not have, and never has had. Firefox remains a great browser. Those who settle for the pet browsers of the OS juggernaut (Microsoft) and search juggernaut (Google) can enjoy their cocoons. The rest of us will enjoy the Web.

neonspark said,
great but firefox is crashing down like the Hindenburg. having lots is cool kid status to chrome and being out innovated and out released by google in every turn, now it is on a death spiral. even IE is taking share from it now.

the days of firefox are over. they should just join their place in the "other browser" category. the lesson: live by hype, die by hype.

Their demise is of their own making. They created a culture that wanted something different, not necessarily better. And so when chrome showed up, all their crowd left gladly to the next flower like a bee would. Combined with the fact the Firefox devs still can't get over their angst of IE, as if that was their real competitor, it left plenty of room for chrome to exploit all of FF's weakness.

they are being out developed. they are being out innovated. they are being buried.

Firefox was the first with GPU acceleration. First with the wonderful directwrite text rendering. Chrome will never support newer methods of font rendering because they simply cannot. Their sand boxing prevents it. I think Firefox is doing well, and continues to be an innovator.

What has Chrome brought to the table. Their browser isn't bad, but they haven't' done anything revolutionary. The web browser is about consuming. Firefox has striven to provide a more pleasant consuming experience. I love my text!

Oh, you got me excited. I thought you meant that the elm branch had been merged into mozilla-central (the code base that the nightly builds are made from).

This is non-news. They've been available to try in the elm branch since development started.

Meph said,

This is non-news. They've been available to try in the elm branch since development started.

Why is this non-news .. do you always assume everybody else knows about things like this?

Pikey said,
Why is this non-news .. do you always assume everybody else knows about things like this?

Sorry, I didn't mean for it to sound like that. I meant that it should have been reported on a while ago (or not at all, since it's too early in its development to be worth trying anyway).

But the article's headline is inaccurate in saying that this is in the nightly builds.

Ahh, the orange bar at the bottom is burning my eyes! I hope they tone down that colour a bit. Otherwise, it looks good. Just the curve at the top looks out of place in the Modern UI.

adriann said,
Ahh, the orange bar at the bottom is burning my eyes! I hope they tone down that colour a bit. Otherwise, it looks good. Just the curve at the top looks out of place in the Modern UI.

I think it is important for apps tho have their own identity. Windows had been bashed in the past by Mac users that Windows apps all look the same and grey while Mac apps look good and unique. With Windows 8, apps developers are actually thinking of design rather than simply slapping standard Windows controls on a grey background, like they did for decades. Let them experiment with design. Design is an evolution: you can't say that only Microsoft decides which designs are better. Maybe Microsoft will be influenced by some of these new apps that "think different". Rather than complaining, embrace that for the first time, Windows (yes windows) developers are actually trying to make their app have an unique design. This is unprecedented.

Agreed. I actually think this Firefox does a really good job of both feeling like it's in harmony with the new UI and still having its own distinctive style, at least visually.

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,

I think it is important for apps tho have their own identity. Windows had been bashed in the past by Mac users that Windows apps all look the same and grey while Mac apps look good and unique.


When do Mac users not bash Microsoft? xD

That also means it's not planned for the 2012, but early 2013... But that doesn't takes awey that the user interface is much touch-friendly than Chromes...

By the way, how I can use the Metro-version, I don't get a tile...

Edited by Studio384, Oct 3 2012, 11:07am :

Studio384 said,
That also means it's not planned for the 2012, but early 2013... But that doesn't takes awey that the user interface is much touch-friendly than Chromes...

By the way, how I can use the Metro-version, I don't get a tile...

In my case, the tile showed up *after* checking the channel for an update (and coming up dry).

Just yesterday I came back to use the Aurora of Firefox after years with Chrome and several times installing FF or Opera to wonder if they're worth the change again.

I wonder if they'll (or even if they're able at all) to deliver FF as for RT devices.

Rafyelzz said,
Just yesterday I came back to use the Aurora of Firefox after years with Chrome and several times installing FF or Opera to wonder if they're worth the change again.
I've been using Aurora for some time. I moved from standard Firefox to Waterfox to use x64, and started using the Aurora builds a few months ago since Mozilla creates x64 versions of Firefox at the Aurora level. It's much swifter than 32-bit Firefox.

Neobond said,
They will be able to, that's why they are doing this Modern UI version.

According to Mozilla, they are doing a Modern UI version not for RT, but for the fact that only default browsers can have a Metro version. They stated in their first post that a lack of a Metro version means that the user will not make browser default because it will get rid of the Metro IE. Thus, they are doing it for competitive advantage with IE, so users do feel okay to make Firefox default. They are right, starting with Windows 8, chrome was no longer default because its metro experience was horrible.

Secondly, current Metro versions of Firefox is simply a metro overlay on top of the desktop engine that Windows 7 and prior have been using. This metro version is not a standalone product, as can't run without its desktop counterpart. What this means is that a fully independent Metro version of Firefox doesn't exist yet. There is no engine for the Metro version. As such, a metro version of firefox cannot be installed interdependently from the desktop version; hence, you can't download Metro firefox from the Windows Store. To make a Metro only version, a huge porting is necessary. This means, we won't be seeing a Windows RT version anytime soon.

Note: This is not the standard nightly build. It's actually a different branch being used that they refer to as Elm.

NoClipMode said,
Not a fan of the new curved tabs they've been showing off. It dont go with the Modern UI and looks dated. Years ago everything used to have rounded corners, and these days everything is going square and minimalist. It's one of the (many) reasons iOS looks so dated for instance.

I believe this is a move to make the 'Metro/Modern' version match to the mobile version they have launched for other platforms. It would help make their touch browsers consistent across multiple platforms.

Shane Nokes said,
Note: This is not the standard nightly build. It's actually a different branch being used that they refer to as Elm.

Ah thanks for that, will update the article

Not a fan of the new curved tabs they've been showing off. It dont go with the Modern UI and looks dated. Years ago everything used to have rounded corners, and these days everything is going square and minimalist. It's one of the (many) reasons iOS looks so dated for instance.

CJEric said,

Yeah. If by "everything" you mean Microsoft's latest software products

By everything, he means latest versions of Android, flipboard's Metro like UI, Microsoft's latest products, Google+ apps on iOS and Android, Google Chrome website (http://chrome.com), New myspace, pintrest, the new digg website. Yes, buddy, everything has a metro like UI. Well, everything except apple. Looks like Apple didn't get the memo; and you call Apple a company with good design sense. Pff.

CJEric said,

Yeah. If by "everything" you mean Microsoft's latest software products

Latest Microsoft, latest Google, latest Samsung, you name it. I'm not just talking software but also hardware. How can you not have noticed this?

Microsoft is really taking the design language to heart and has become a frontrunner for it when it comes to software. However you can also see it in the changes from Android 2 to Android 4. Or the Samsung Android skin, the latest has a lot of big square widgets and is very minimalisic. It is no wonder they are more succesful then HTC (which has a very 'round design' even though the One series is minimalistic as well).

Same with Samsung hardware (or hardware in general), compare it to designs from a few years ago. The difference is huge! Whereas Apple seems to be going into the other direction with a lot of flashy chromed 3D elements. You almost expect Microsoft's Clippy to pop-up on iOS these days.

It's pretty buggy still, but usable if you don't mind the missing scroll wheel option (might be limited to me though) let me know!

Neobond said,
It's pretty buggy still, but usable if you don't mind the missing scroll wheel option (might be limited to me though) let me know!

Nope - not limited to you. I can (and must) use the keyboard to move down a page (the opposite of Waterfox). However, other than that (as long as you don't load up your Fox with add-ons) it's still usable. The curved tabs/rounded corners are part of that Mobile influence (the code itself is heavily influenced by Firefox Mobile). And *yes*, I'm posting this from it.