Three Pillars

Dave Camp dcamp at mozilla.com
Mon Jul 6 16:43:59 UTC 2015


We posted a summary of what to expect from Firefox in the future:
https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2015/07/02/what-to-look-forward-to-from-firefox/

But that summary doesn’t really capture how we’re going to get there, so I
thought a few words would be in order.

* Uncompromised Quality

We’ve started putting together a program inartfully named “Great or Dead”.
Every feature in the browser should be polished, functional, and a joy to
use.  Where we can’t get it to that state, we shouldn’t do it at all.  In
some cases that will mean spending time to make it great.  In other cases
that will mean removing code that we don’t see ourselves improving any time
soon.  In other cases it will mean finding third party services or addons
that can do the job better than we can.  We  are putting together a list of
the features that need this sort of review.  We’ll be asking for help
maintaining that list, reviewing the features, and getting them where they
need to be.

There’s no shortcut to this.  It means significant, sustained work.  Expect
to see some of the effort spent on new feature development shift to
bringing existing features up to our standards.

One of the first things we need to get right is e10s.  e10s is the only way
to get the kind of snappy experience we need to make Firefox feel great.
This is a big project.  It needs work not just in Firefox but large parts
of the Gecko as well.  It also affects work outside of the core Mozilla
code - addons in particular are going to need a lot of work to adapt to the
e10s world.  We’re close, but it’s going to take some effort to get over
the line.


* Best Of The Web

We can’t build Firefox alone.  We’ve always relied on our addons community,
and lately we’ve been working more with partners to help us build the parts
of the browser we’re not equipped to build alone.  We’ve worked with
Telefonica to build Firefox Hello, we added integration with Pocket.

We’re not like most organizations, so we have to partner differently.  We
worked with Pocket to amend their Privacy Policy to be more in line with
our principles.  We made sure the code that shipped with Firefox was
licensed appropriately.  But folks raised objections, and we need to
address that.

Some of the objections were about policy and strategy, and I’m not going to
address those in this thread.  But we did hear specific complaints about
how the code was integrated.  Folks said that Pocket should have been a
bundled add-on that could have been more easily removed entirely from the
browser.  We tend to agree with that, and fixing that for Pocket and any
future partner integrations is one concrete piece of engineering work we
need to get done.  Pocket was also given first billing on the main screen,
and that may not be a scalable solution.  We’re going to need to figure out
how to best surface these things in our UI.

We intend to spend some significant effort making addons even more awesome
by improving security and performance for users and a building a better API
that increases x-platform compatibility for addon authors and partners.
Most of this is just ideas right now, and we’re going to start posting
those ideas for feedback here soon.

* Uniquely Firefox

While quality work will happen across the whole browser, new feature work
is going to largely be focused on the reasons users choose us in the first
place.  Browsing the web can be deeply personal, and we want to help give
users features that help them shape and control that personal experience.

We sometimes talk about putting the Agent back in User Agent.  It should
filter the web on our behalf, with our guidance.

So new feature work is going to revolve around giving users the control to
shape their web.  We’re going to start with one area where people really
want more control - online privacy.  You’ll start to see the first stab at
this - an improved Private Browsing mode - land shortly in Firefox.

Thanks for reading this far - I hope this is a helpful summary of how we’re
looking to focus Mozilla’s engineering team.  Please let us know what you
think.

-dave
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