It was just last month that Mozilla unleashed Firefox 52 upon the masses, which notably signaled the beginning of the end for Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) plugins. In essence, these were disabled by default, and turning them back on was made somewhat challenging for average users. Now, with the release of Firefox 53, NPAPI plugins have finally been laid to rest, along with support for both Windows XP and Vista finally bring dropped after Mozilla had mulled over such a change late last year.
However, that's not the only notable change contained in the latest release of Mozilla's popular web browser.
Two new themes have shipped in Firefox 53, 'Compact Dark' and 'Compact Light' which, as the names suggest, offer a more compact user interface with a choice between dark and light. Certainly, compared to Firefox's default theme (top image above) as well as Google Chrome's, the new compact themes do provide a little extra vertical clearance for viewing web pages, but whether or not it will make an appreciable difference will be up to individual users.
However, there's even more than just an optional change to the browser's appearance. Under the covers, Mozilla has deployed its new browser engine, previously announced as Project Quantum back in October last year, to fully exploit modern hardware and improve the performance of page loading, animations, and real-time user interactivity. The new Quantum Compositor for Windows now handles page rendering in a separate process, while also leveraging the system's GPU.
Process separation also brings with it improved browser stability, as graphics glitches caused by unruly device drivers no longer directly impact the main browser process, saving users the angst of Firefox crashing completely or, at the very least, the current tab. In fact, according to Mozilla Quality Engineer, Anthony Hughes, browser crashes were reduced by around 10%.
Of course, these are but a few of the many changes included in Firefox 53, which can be found in the most recent changelog.