Just Too Damn Good to be a Version 2.0
in case you haven’t heard yet, Firefox for mobile (Fennec) is bumping it’s version numbering to more closely match desktop releases of Firefox. This means “Firefox 2.0b1 for Android & Maemo” is becoming “Firefox 4.0b1 for Android & Maemo” and will be released as “Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900“. We are aligning mobile Firefox and desktop Firefox since the web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same. Treating them as the same version seemed like the right thing to do.
Any add-ons hosted on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) that are marked as compatible for Fennec 2.0b1pre will automatically be bumped to support Fennec 4.0b1pre. If your add-on worked in Fennec 2.0b1pre, it will work fine in Fennec 4.0b1pre.
Goodbye Tiles, Hello Browser
Desktop Firefox uses a XUL
<browser> to display web content. The user manipulates the browser element when clicking, scrolling, dragging or typing. The same was not true in Fennec. In order to achieve acceptable panning and zooming performance, Fennec 1.0 started using a set of
<canvas> tiles to render the web content – which was still loaded into hidden
<browser> elements. It was a complex system with many quirks to go along with the performance improvements.
Thankfully, a lot of platform work in graphics, layout and multi-process has happened since Fennec 1.0 and recently we removed the
<canvas> tiles and switched back to use only
<browser> elements to render web content. The front-end code is much cleaner and more simple. In addition, it’s much faster than the previous code so panning and zooming are even better than before.
Note to the faint of heart: Nightly release contain bugs – don’t be frightened when you encounter them. Tell us about them instead!