Time to get your groove on! It’s Photon Newsletter #16!
But first. Do you remember the 21st night of September? As of today (September 21st) Firefox 57 has passed its penultimate milestone by entering Beta. This is a pretty big deal, as it means many millions of users on Beta will soon experience all the awesomeness that’s packed into 57. Note that Beta builds won’t actually go out until next week, on the 26th. But if you’re running Developer Edition, we’ve already pushed out an early sneak-peek!
Did I mention that Developer Edition also got a snazzy new Firefox icon? It’s nice. And blue.
The past week has been very busy as we’ve been doing a major burst of bug triage, just to make sure we’re not missing any already-reported critical issues. The front-end teams went through nearly 600 untriaged bugs in just a few days! The good news is that we didn’t find anything alarming, which matches up with our general impression that 57 is shaping up to be a really solid release.
- The Library panel now has a “Recent Highlights” section, which shows recent bookmarks and history. There’s also a new Downloads subview.
- Re-landed the autohiding download button, this time with a pref to allow disabling the autohide behavior (currently shown when clicking on it in Customize Mode). We think the default behavior will work for most people – the Downloads button only appearing when there are Downloads in the current session, and the Downloads subview in the Library as the permanent location to access your list of downloads. But this pref allow you to keep the old Downloads button behavior. (This was backed out a few weeks ago, in part due to confusion from not yet having the Downloads subview.)
- Added hover states to the page action items when in the urlbar, as well as for the bookmark star.
- More changes to the ordering of the page action items (hopefully we’re done tweaking this now!)
- Contributor Maya Messinger made the hamburger menu’s Print item directly invoke the print dialog, instead of opening print preview mode first (on Windows and Linux; macOS already did this). Maya also tweaked the ordering of the library menu. Thanks for the patches!
- Updated the panel animations, which now make subviews appear to “push” content aside, instead of sliding over it.
- The overflow panel now has rounded corners on macOS
- Made the overflow panel look nicer in customize mode.
- Unified the styling of various panel footers, which had been slightly different.
- Fixed an issue involving keyboard navigation and the search box in the overflow panel, and an issue with alignment of the account header of the hamburger panel
- Bugfix for an problem where the bookmarks panel appeared in the wrong place.
- Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented removing flexible spaces
- Fixed several minor issues with screenshots (recently landed in Nightly, but has been in the screenshots repo a while).
- Fixed an issue where the hamburger menu closed prematurely.
- Fixed a bug causing the the urlbar and search box to increase in size when typing
- Made the title bar and drag space checkboxes in Customize mode readable when using a dark theme.
- Fixed the display of the stop/reload buttons when placed in the overflow menu.
- Investigation is ongoing into bug 1397092, where a user has reported an interesting case of high cpu usage possibly caused by the new tab loading indicator
- The tab loading indicators are now synchronized, so when multiple tabs are loading the “bouncing balls” move left and right in unison.
- The Animation team is shifting focus to help with polish bugs in the Visual Redesign and Menus/structure areas, as most remaining animation bugs are lower priority.
- All P1 bugs landed – MVP feature-complete!
- Added a setting to bring back the search box. With 57 it won’t be added to newly created profiles, but can be restored through Customize Mode. By adding additional preferences UI we hope to make is as easy as possible to get it back for anyone wondering where it went.
- Did a UI review, and landed a batch of polish fixes to address a number of minor issues found.
- Deferred the loading of some information to improve the amount of time it takes to open the main Preferences page.
- We’re feature complete with Add Setting for More Window Drag Space having landed! This introduces a “Drag Space” checkbox to the bottom of Customize Mode. Enabling it adds a bit of extra space to the top of the window, so that people used to dragging windows via the titlebar will have an easier time. (You can still use the drag space to the left or right of the tab strip for this, and that space is not affected by this setting.)
- Updated the visuals and copy of the about:blocked phishing/malware page.
- The padlock icons used in the urlbar and site identity panels were inconsistently shaped.
- Fixed a bug that caused the crashed-tab icon to overlap tab text.
- The bookmarks toolbar was slightly changing height in Customize mode, causing page content to shift up and down when switching tabs.
- Toggling the “Show accent color on titlebar” OS setting (Windows 10) was sometimes not being immediately picked up by Firefox (we needed a restart), it is now detected live.
- On macOS, the window control “traffic lights” were not quite vertically centered.
- Also on macOS, the window titlebar (when enabled) was unreadable with dark themes.
- Made the height of the search field consistent across the different sidebars.
- A number of fixes to the bookmarks toolbar appearance.
- The awesomebar dropdown was 1 pixel too high on macOS.
- Tour notifications now end after 2 weeks.
- Icons now change color on mouse hover.
- The UITour highlight is now cleaned up during tour navigation and after skipping tours.
- Additional support for screenshots in UITour
- The https://sceenshots.firefox.com/#tour page now uses UITour to highlight the Screenshots page action.
- Updated the tour notification font weight
- Tweaked the onboarding speech bubble shadow style in RTL.
- The onboarding close button was invisible in the black high-contrast mode on Windows
- Updated the onboarding Firefox icon to the better quality SVG version
- Made the onboarding Firefox icon stay in the upper-right, instead of scrolling with the page.
- When the tour has been skipped, the Firefox icon changes to a “watermark” version per new specs
- Fixed a white flash in the content area when opening new tabs and new windows, which made things look janky.
- Separately, fixed a flickering in the awesomebar results when updating search suggestions.
- We had to disable tab warming when hovering tabs, because it caused more regressions than we are comfortable fixing for 57. We are now planning to ship this significant perf improvement in 58.
- Our dashboards show very good wins on all things we measure when comparing 55 to 57. Eg. startup is about 50% faster in 57 than it was in 55!
- Not planning any further significant performance work for 57, to avoid risk of causing regressions. We are starting to look at what improvements can go into 58/59, and where we should put performance efforts in the longer term.
That’s all for now. There are only a few more weeks for us to do more polish work in 57 Beta, so there will probably only be a few more Engineering Newsletters as well. (But fear not, there’s been such positive response to these newsletters that we’ll likely continue them post-Photon in some form.)