Photon Engineering Newsletter #12

Let’s get straight into update #12!

Oh, hey, anyone notice any icon chances recently? Yeah, they’re pretty wonderful. Or maybe I should say funderful? Looking forward to where they end up!

about-logo@2x

Speaking of looking forward, I’m going to be on vacation for the next two weeks. But fear not! Jared and Mike will be covering Photon updates, so you’ll still be able to get your Photon phix.

Recent Changes

Menus/structure:

Animation:

Preferences:

Visual redesign:

  • Updated the button positions in the navbar, and made them more customizable. (This was a contributor patch – thanks!)
  • Close buttons updated across the UI (also a contributor patch!)
  • The “Compact Light” and “Compact Dark” themes have been renamed to simply “Light” and “Dark”. (The UI density setting is already independent of the theme.)

Onboarding:

Performance:

 

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Photon Engineering Newsletter #11

H*ck yeah, it’s time for another Photon newsletter! They now go to #11!

It’s Hip To Be Square

So… Perhaps you noticed something ever so slightly different in yesterday’s Nightly. Something less curvy, and more rectangular. Look closely, right there at the tabs. That’s right. No more curvy tabs!

austphoton

Behold, rectangular tabs! This is one of the last few major Photon features to be implemented.

tabs

We think most people will like the new tab shape. Some people won’t like them. That’s ok. We’ve done a lot of user testing, and have seen a lot of positive feedback on the Photon mockups since they first came out. And, of course, the Firefox Compact Light/Dark née DevTools themes have had square tabs for a long time. So while it’s a big change to a very prominent piece of UI, it’s also a change that’s a bit familiar, and really helps to make Firefox look clean and modern.

(There’s a little bit more change still to come with the tabs – we’re going to make them a little bit taller by default. This is being handled as a separate follow-up fix, because we discovered that this surprisingly breaks some of our automated tests. So while we’re fixing the tests, we wanted to get the bulk of this change landed.)

R.I.P., curvy tabs.

tabeol

Oh, and you may have also noticed – we updated all the navigation toolbar icons to the new Photon style. They’re lighter-weight than the old icons. We had been holding off on landing this until the start of Nightly-57, simply because it wasn’t worth the effort to add extra code to allow both the old and new icon sets to co-exist (since Nightly-56 would need to disable those icons when it became Beta-56). But now that Nightly is on the 57 train, which will be shipping Photon, we don’t need to worry about that.

Recent Changes

Menus/structure:

Animation:

  • Spent a good chunk of time tracking down a really weird layout issue with OSX 10.9 and Photon.
  • Made the overflow arrows point to the left in RTL builds.
  • Fixed a problem (by backing out the offending patch) where the hamburger menu and other arrow panels would fail to open with some Linux window managers.

Preferences:

Visual redesign:

Onboarding:

  • Made the speech bubble of the onboarding icon clickable.
  • Improved focus styling of the buttons in the tour.
    focusring
  • Working on adding illustrations for 57 tour.

Performance:

One More Thing

You see, something’s going to happen. Something wonderful…

We’ve got one more major visual change coming, which a small team has quietly been working on for quite some time. Even within Mozilla, most people haven’t seen it yet. It looks awesome, and I can’t wait for it to land! I think you’re really going to like it.

More soon. 😉

Photon Engineering Newsletter #10

Woo yeah! Time for Photon newsletter #10!

Nightly-57 this week

Way back in newsletter #2, I talked about the Photon program schedule. Briefly, to save you a click: Photon is shipping with Firefox 57, and to allow time for bugfixes, quality, and polish we’ve been targeting August 7th as the date when we’ll be done with “major work.” That gives us 6 weeks of Nightly-57 to do that bugfixing (and another 6 weeks of Beta-57 for any further critical or low-risk improvements).

I’m pleased to report that we’re still solidly on track. Most of the big-ticket features for Photon have already landed, and the last few (notably: rectangular tabs, pinning Page Action items to the URL bar) are in good shape to land soon. That’s not to say Photon is “done” – just that the biggest and riskiest work will largely be behind us, and upcoming work will start to be more about finishing off rough edges.

Recent Changes

Menus/structure:

Animation:

  • The Stop/Reload animation has been tweaked to run faster.
  • Animations have been fixed to be positioned correctly regardless of display font size. [1] [2]
  • The Save to Bookmarks animation has landed in Nightly. (Add the Library button to the toolbar for the full effect!)
    star
    bookmark-animation
  • The Save to Pocket animation has also landed  (Again, you’ll want to ensure the Library button is in the toolbar to see all of the animation.)
    pocket-animation

Preferences:

  • Fixed Performance section regression around number of processes and uplifted it to Beta-55.
  • Started working on visual refresh but are holding off landing until after the uplift. This allows QA to finish verifying the changes (in Nightly) that will ship with Firefox 56, without these 57-only changes getting in the way.

Visual redesign:

Onboarding:

  • The first uncompleted tour is now shown by default (instead of just the first tour).
  • Updated the stub installer tagline to “Built for people, not for profit.
  • Made the “Learn More” button not wrap.
  • The Sync tour will be automatically marked as completed when you sign in with a Firefox account.
  • When refreshing a profile, don’t migrate a user’s session (tabs) unless the refresh was invoked by the user. This allows the reset triggered by the stub installer (e.g. for users coming back to Firefox after a long absence) to have a fresh experience, instead of seeing old tabs from months ago.
  • Made the onboarding UI look better in high-contrast mode.

Performance:

 

That’s it for now!