review and evaluate the performance of the new Firefox Quantum browser / Software

In order to understand the reasons that prompted the Mozilla development team to puzzle themselves with the creation of a principled new Internet browser, it's enough to look at StatCounter's statistical data, which testify to the rather shaky position of Firefox in the world browser market. If in January 2010 the brainchild of the Mozilla community controlled almost a third of the market (31.6%), then in October 2012 the number of copies of the "fiery fox" installed on the PC decreased to 23.2 percent, and in the autumn of this year to modest 13 %. This is against the background of dynamically developing Google Chrome, which for many years remains the most popular web browser in the world. To date, its share is already 63.6%. Not surprisingly, Mozilla decided to revise the established stereotypes and thought about attracting the user audience to their side. The first step in this direction was the announcement in October 2016 of the Quantum project, within which for Firefox began the development of a browser engine of a new generation that should take advantage of all the advantages of modern multi-core systems. It was he who laid the foundation for the recently presented 57th version of the program, which was named the name Firefox Quantum.

 Statistics of the popularity of web browsers among PC users (source: analytical company StatCounter) "height =" 411 "width =" 800 "/>


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Popularity statistics for browsers among PC users (source: StatCounter analytical company)

Firefox Quantum is, without a doubt, one of the most extensive releases in browser history. In addition to the new engine supporting multi-threaded data processing (we'll talk about it later), the product received a different interface design, a new API for WebExtensions, an improved memory subsystem, support for AMD VP9 hardware video decoder, advanced developer tools, new rights management functions for sites and web applications to computer resources, as well as other innovations that increase the information security of the user when working in the Network. There are a lot of changes, we will dwell on each of them a bit more in detail.

The new visual style. Almost all the controls in Firefox Quantum have changed, making the browser environment more ascetic and easier to read: the tabs became rectangular, the search bar merged with the address bar, the main menu acquired a classic look, a new start page and animated effects, significantly reduced and Modified the line of function keys in the upper right corner of the program window. Complement the list of features of the interface adaptation for displays with a high value of DPI, as well as automatic scaling, taking into account the features of touch input. Judging by the numerous reviews on the Internet forums, the changes divided Firefox admirers into two camps. To each his own – about tastes do not argue, however, in our opinion, the idea to make the Firefox interface laconic and simple is a sound grain. Moreover, almost all modern browsers are now moving in this direction.

Changes in the design of the Firefox Quantum wagon and a small cart. Through the settings, some style solutions (for example, combining the address and search string into one element) can be returned to the former form, which will undoubtedly please the hardened aesthetes

New API for the development of add-ons. In order to increase productivity and improve security, Firefox 57 now exclusively supports extensions created with WebExtension, a new development method that should unify the development of plug-ins, optimize their work in multi-core systems and, in the future, ensure compatibility with other browsers on the market . And although the transition to API WebExtensions was announced as early as December 2015, many plug-in authors did not bother to translate their software solutions into a new model for developing add-ons. Such carelessness has become the subject of criticism from users who are faced with the inoperability of favorite extensions in the updated web browser.

 In Firefox Quantum, a full transition to the WebExtensions technology is implemented for the add-ons "height =" 422 "width =" 800 "/>


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Firefox Quantum has a complete transition to WebExtensions for add-ons

Advanced tools for developers. In Firefox Quantum, integrated tools for debugging and testing of web applications have been further developed, supplemented with new functionality for code inspection, scripts checking, error checking, site management and other tools in demand in the professional environment.

 When creating a new version of Firefox, Mozilla took care not only of users, but also web developers "height =" 422 "width =" 800 "/>


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When creating a new version of Firefox, Mozilla took care not only of users, but also of web developers

Additional parameters of protection and privacy. In the Firefox Quantum settings, the section for managing the access rights of websites and web applications to the microphone and camera of the computer, the means of geolocation and distribution of notifications is significantly expanded. Now the user is given complete freedom of action: you can both prohibit everything and everything, and provide selective access only to selected resources.

 Advanced security settings - another plus to the benefits of the new Firefox "height =" 422 "width =" 800 "/>


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Advanced security settings – another plus in the benefits of the new Firefox

Browser engine of the new generation. The most anticipated and interesting technological innovation is Firefox Quantum, which can now use several cores of the processor to render Web content, which saves precious seconds when rendering heavy web pages. Mozilla assures that its Internet browser is twice as fast as Firefox 52, and when comparing the speed of loading pages easily bypasses the main competitor in the face of Google Chrome. In addition, the algorithm for working with many open tabs is optimized: the developers claim that switching between them is now faster than ever before. In addition, Mozilla programmers improved the memory subsystem and, without a shadow of embarrassment, say that the new Firefox now consumes 30% less RAM than Chrome. It is also reported on the elimination of problems with memory leaks, which have long become a kind of visiting card of the "fiery fox."

To test the performance of Firefox Quantum, we used a Windows To Go bootable flash drive with a 64-bit Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build and rated the performance of the browser on two laptops – the Lenovo IdeaPad G50-70 (Intel Core i7 processor with clock speed up to 2.8 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, HDD, AMD Radeon R5 M330 graphics card) and Sony VAIO VPC-Y11M1R / S (1.3 GHz Intel SU4100 processor, 8 GB RAM, SSD, integrated Intel GMA X4500MHD video). For benchmarking, we used benchmarks from Futuremark Peacekeeper, Octane 2.0, MotionMark, JetStream, Basemark and Speedometer, which measure the speed of the JavaScript interpreter, the speed of graphics processing, and the execution time of typical tasks for most Internet users. To conduct comparative tests, in addition to Firefox Quantum, Microsoft Edge, Firefox 56 and Chromium-based browsers of Chrome, Opera, Yandex.Browser and Vivaldi were used at the time of preparing the material versions. For the purity of the experiment, all browsers were tested separately, the rest of the applications running in the system when executing the benchmarks were unloaded from the computer's memory. The results of our testing can be judged by the graphs below.

Results of comparative testing of browser performance (click the mouse to view full-size image)

 Firefox Quantum does not have everything smooth with full support for HTML5 - in the HTML5test.com test, the browser types only 486 points out of 555 possible (for comparison: Google Chrome passes this test with a score of 520 points) "height =" 542 " width = "800" />


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Firefox Quantum does not have everything smooth with full support for HTML5 – in the HTML5test.com test, the browser types only 486 points out of 555 possible (for comparison: Google Chrome passes this test with a score of 520 points)

As you can see, in the tests we conducted, the Quantum developers, praised by the developers, did not show any radical differences from the predecessor or competitors in terms of performance. By the speed of web content processing and page rendering, the new browser engine was not any faster than the previous one, and in some benchmarks the newly released Mozilla product did not fall into the outsiders at all. Such mediocre and inconsistent results with loud statements of developers can be explained only by the "dampness" of the Quantum project launched a year ago, at the current stage demonstrating only a vision of the direction in which the new generation of Firefox ideas will evolve. We will not hide: visually Firefox Quantum really works faster and more responsive to the user's actions. This is noted by many of those who updated from the 56th version of the product (subjectively, the acceleration may be due to the deactivation of some extensions), but the facts indicate that the Mozilla programmers need to work and work still on the browser filling.

Is it worth upgrading to Firefox Quantum for users of previous browser editions? Required. At least because in it developers have eliminated a number of serious vulnerabilities that can be used by intruders to gain unauthorized access to the computer and organize cyberattacks. At the same time, you need to be prepared for an interface that has been redrawn on a modern way and that many extensions will cease to function. But with the transition to a new "fox" with alternative solutions, it is still time to wait: there is no increase in the speed of work on the Internet. Already in January 2018, Mozilla will present the next version of Firefox 58 with the modified engine Quantum. Who knows, maybe it will be able to claim the title of the fastest web surfing program and change the alignment of forces in the browser market?

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