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Firefox Quantum Release: A Quick Take, and How to Restore Defaults

The new Firefox version 57.0 has been released, based on a core engine overhaul and redesigned UI. Here are some quick thoughts, and tips on how to restore some items that have changed:

Intro

Firefox had started to seem a bit bloated, not unlike its predecessor from Netscape. Is the new version similar to the leap from Communicator to the original Firefox? Well…

Yep, it’s faster

It certainly seems to run crisply, based on some initial testing. Tabs open and various sites load quickly, and shutdown seems faster.

The new UI

The new UI is…interesting. I believe it was foretold in an earlier and seemingly odd change to the bookmarks dialog box. It actually seems a bit “retro,” if your idea of retro is UI design from Java Applets circa 1998. Or perhaps Ubuntu or similar Linux UIs.

This goes for the buttons and glyphs as well. They’re certainly different, and change can be nice sometimes (if only at first).

There’s also an uncomfortable or awkward spacing between the URL bar and default buttons, which are also strange since the hover effect is rectangular, but the back button shows a circular outline.

Tabs include a Cylon-style loading progress indicator.

Swishy icon

Look at that fluffy tail!

Because you love the dark

Default settings have changed, and by default darker tabs are displayed. Want to change this? Access Tools|Add-ons|Themes from the menu, and you can change from the Default theme to Light or (very) Dark.

Default home page

There’s a new default home page, not unlike Chrome’s. If you were one of those (like me) who opened a blank page on startup, simply hit ‘cmd + ,’ (on the Mac) to access Preferences, and select the ‘Show a blank page’ radio button under ‘When Firefox starts.’

You can also set ‘Home page’ to about:blank.

New tabs

New tabs also show a number of items by (possibly unwelcome) default, and if you were again one of those (like me) who prefers your tabs blank, there are in this case different settings to adjust, here by clicking the gear button on the tab page itself, and then unchecking options such as Search, Top Sites, Highlights, and Snippets that you may not want to view.

Quick conclusion

Overall, it’s great to see this progress and to have such a speedy and free option as an alternative to more proprietary options with possibly dubious motivations, if the UI itself would probably benefit from a different design aesthetic.