Firefox 1.0 was released on the 9th of November of 2004, and I still remember the buzz. We were all excitedly downloading it because our browser had finally reached v1.0.
Using Firefox at that time, with all the developer extensions, gave you such an advantage over other web developers. Adding in the tabs, and the way it was predictable (CSS standards wise), and that it wouldn’t get infected with stuff as often as Internet Explorer, made it into such a joyous experience.
Now, if you had told me back then that I’d be contributing code to Firefox, I’d be laughing in your face. But then I’d stop and ask: Wait… what? Tell me more about this intriguing future!
Fast forward thirteen years. I am working at Mozilla, and tomorrow we release Firefox Quantum to the general public. It’s, as the name says, a “quantum leap” between this and previous Firefox versions.
I’m personally excited that I’ve contributed code to this release. I worked on removing dependencies on the (now defunct) Add-on SDK from the code base of Developer Tools. This means that the SDK code could be finally removed from Firefox, as the new WebExtensions format that Firefox uses now does not make use of that SDK. Results? Safer and leaner Firefox (the old SDK exposed way too many internals). Oh, and that warm and fuzzy feeling after deleting code…
So I didn’t contribute to a big initiative such as a new rendering engine or whatnot, but it’s often the little non-glamourous things that need to be done. I’m proud of this work (which was also done on time). My team were great!
Another aspect I’m very thrilled about is how this work has set us up for more successes already, as we’ve developed new tools and systems to find out ‘bad stuff’ in our code, and now we’re using these outside of the Firefox “core” team to identify more things we’ll want to improve in the upcoming months. There’s a momentum here!
Who knows what else will the future bring? Maybe in 10 years time I’ll be telling you I shipped code for the new rendering engine in Firefox indeed! One has to be open to the possibilities…
Update: my colleague Lin has explained how Firefox Quantum is a browser for the future, using modern technology.