Photon Engineering Newsletter #15

I’m back from a vacation to see the eclipse, so it’s time for Newsletter #15! (It’s taking me some time to get caught up, so this update covers the last 2 or so weeks.)

As noted in my previous update, Mike and Jared took over Newsletter duties while I was out. If you somehow missed their excellent updates – Newsletter #13 and Newsletter #14 – please check them out. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

We’re getting very close to Firefox 57 entering Beta! Code merges to the Beta on September 20th, and the first Beta release should come on the 26th. The Photon project is targeting the 15th to be ready for Beta, just to make sure there’s a bit of time to spare. We’ll be continuing to fix bugs and improve polish during the Beta, but the type of fixes we make will begin to scale back, as we focus on making sure 57 is a rock-solid release. This means becoming increasingly risk-adverse – there will always be bugs (and more releases to fix them in), so we very much want to avoid causing new regressions shortly before 57 ships to everybody. Last-minute firedrills are no fun for anyone. But we’re in really great shape right now – we’re done with feature development, are already shifting to more minor fixes, and there isn’t anything really scary waiting to be fixed.

Recent Changes




  • Once last P1 bug to feature complete!
  • Team to move to help out Onboarding once all P1 and important P3s are fixed.

Visual redesign:



16 thoughts on “Photon Engineering Newsletter #15”

  1. Just wanted to say that the “burst across the tab” animation is surprisingly pleasant. I don’t know why, and I wouldn’t have thought of it, but it’s a really re-assuring notification that a tab is ready without disturbing me when I don’t care. Well done!

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the UI uses Javascript right? Has it been discussed to use WebAssembly in the UI instead of Javascript?

    1. WebAssembly is mainly useful as a compilation target for C/C++ code, so it can run inside the browser. It’s not a way to speed up JavaScript itself.

  3. Hey Justin — great update. There is a bug in the latest Nightly related to the “page title” and disabling the “Title Bar”. When the Title Bar is disabled, the tab bar chrome turns black, and the title of the current page is rendered over the tabs. It’s all garbled and ugly. I looked through the Mozillazine forums and Bugzilla for a related bug, but my search didn’t turn up anything conclusive.

    Is this something you already have on your radar? If yes, hallelujah. If not, let me know and I will help in any way necessary.


      1. I get this message when launching Nightly from the Command Line:

        2017-09-13 16:20:21.125 firefox[20503:2648695] *** WARNING: Textured window is getting an implicitly transparent titlebar. This will break when linking against newer SDKs. Use NSWindow’s -titlebarAppearsTransparent=YES instead.

        Could this be because I am on macOS High Sierra?


  4. Photon project is just amazing. I like so much the UI, animations and UX !
    But i need to know what are projects for mobile ? I think the UI can be better, it’s just a proposition but i think it can do a better experience for mobile users :

    Also, animations can be cool maybe ? I would like to see more news in mobile. But otherwise thank you for your works on desktop, it’s so pleasant!

    1. The focus of Quantum/Photon for 57 is desktop Firefox. Although mobile will benefit from some of this work, and they’re also doing some UI updates as well.

  5. The URL bar dropmarker now changes location, depending on whether you’re using a new tab (at the very end of the URL bar) or an existing tab (it gets bumped inwards due to other page icons being present). Even on existing pages, it shifts location, because some pages have different buttons that become available (I think it’s mainly the ‘reader view’ button that may or may not be present).

    I’m not sure this is a good idea, as I’m finding myself getting (momentarily, of course) confused as to where it should be located from tab to tab. Aside from the back button, it’s probably the ‘button’ I use the most.

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