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InfoQ Homepage News Firefox 75 Revamps Address Bar, Keeps Release Schedules despite Coronavirus

Firefox 75 Revamps Address Bar, Keeps Release Schedules despite Coronavirus

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Mozilla recently released Firefox 75, with a revamped address bar striving to improve the user’s search experience. Additionally, Firefox developers will be able to lazy-load images with configuring the <img> element’s loading attribute. Firefox developers will now be able to evaluate side-effect-free expressions as they type in the browser’s console. Mozilla maintains the 2020 Firefox release schedule despite the strain caused by the coronavirus. Firefox’s roadmap is however adjusted to avoid negatively affecting user experience on health services and to prioritize fixing video conferencing issues.

Mozilla contends that the updated Firefox 75’s address bar will help users search smarter and faster. CTRL-L (command-L on a Mac) will display an address bar with a refreshed look and feel – larger viewport, larger fonts, shorter URLs:

Top sites and shortcuts in Firefox 75 address bar
Source: Firefox 75 press release

The new address bar may display a list of frequently visited sites for faster access. If one of those sites is already open, a Switch to Tab link will appear, saving the user from opening the same tab another time. Shortcuts to popular search sites (like Google or Amazon) will also be displayed together with keyword suggestions.

To recover a no-frills address bar, the raphok Reddit user mentioned that developers may visit about:config and set to false the following properties:

browser.urlbar.openViewOnFocus
browser.urlbar.update1
browser.urlbar.update1.interventions
browser.urlbar.update1.searchTips

As Chrome 74 before it, Firefox 75 supports the loading attribute on the <img> element. The default “eager” value loads images immediately, and the “lazy” value delays loading until the image is within range of the viewport. Deferring load of non-visible content may reduce data usage, memory usage, and speed up above-the-fold content.

Instant evaluation for Console expressions lets developers identify and fix errors quicker than before. As long as expressions typed into the Web Console are side-effect-free, their results will be previewed as they are typed.

While Google announced that it was pausing major releases of its Chrome browser (however continuing to release critical security updates), Mozilla announced that Firefox 2020 release schedule is maintained. Adjustments may however be made to the roadmap of delivered features to make life easier for users who are now staying at home in a larger proportion. Mozilla explained:

We know that this is a time when our users depend on Firefox to provide uninterrupted access to vital government and health services, so we have taken steps to avoid shipping changes that might negatively impact user experience or possibly break these websites.
For example, we have prioritized fixing video conferencing issues specifically in this time of greater usage. Going forward, we will continue to examine all new features and planned changes with closer attention paid to backwards compatibility, and their potential for any user-facing issues.

Firefox 75 for desktop can be downloaded on Firefox.com. Existing users may upgrade to it automatically. Both Android and iOS users can download from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

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