Menu
Firefox's UI face-lift on track for April debut

Firefox's UI face-lift on track for April debut

Adds 'Australis,' Firefox's first overhaul since 2011, to beta

Mozilla is on track to debut the new "Australis" user interface (UI) for Firefox next month after promoting the UI to its beta build last week.

Australis, the first visual overhaul of Firefox since March 2011, was added to the "Beta" channel of Firefox 29 on March 20. Mozilla uses a three-stage development process that ships Aurora, Beta and Release versions of each version of Firefox, with six weeks separating Aurora and Beta, another six between Beta and Release.

If everything goes as planned, Mozilla will offer Australis to the release version -- the build most users run -- on April 29. But it's possible that the open-source developer will push Australis further into the future.

Australis is Mozilla's attempt to both streamline the browser's UI and standardize it across all platforms, ranging from the desktop -- where versions are available for Windows, OS X and Linux -- to mobile. Mozilla has a version of Firefox for Android, but recently shelved its "Metro" version for Windows 8.1.

Many of Australis' visual changes are subtle, with more rounded tabs, inactive tabs that fade deeper into the background and a revamped customization panel. Australis also dumps the orange-colored Firefox menu in Windows, an element that first popped up in Firefox 4.

Mozilla has been working on Australis for almost two years.

Although Mozilla said that "most users are very happy with the new design," citing a survey of those who used Australis on the Aurora channel, it acknowledged criticism as well.

"Of course, as with any interface change, not everyone is happy," the company noted in a March 18 blog about the survey. "With a change this significant, there are some users who didn't like Australis for a variety of reasons."

To assuage critics, Mozilla said it would make some tweaks to the UI. It has also created a visual tour of the UI that users can view when they update Firefox to a version including Australis, and published instructions for downloading and customizing an add-on that transforms Firefox's Australis UI into something approximating the classic design of 2011-2014.

The Beta build of Firefox for Windows, OS X and Linux can be downloaded from Mozilla's website.

If Australis doesn't release with Firefox 29 in April, its next shot will be Firefox 30, which is scheduled to ship June 10.

The new Australis UI (bottom) omits the Firefox menu in Windows (orange in the top image) and fades all inactive tabs into the background. Users who detest the new look can install the Classic Theme Restorer add-on to revert the UI to its previous look-and-feel.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Firefoxapplicationssoftwareinternet

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments