The developers at Mozilla have a brand-new feature to incorporate in their latest Firefox update, one that has them calling it the single biggest innovation the browser’s team has made.
Dubbed “Electrolysis,” the E10S feature will essentially split Firefox into two separate processes, one for UI and one for content. The goal? If the connection speed is chewed up with opening up a slow-loading webpage, the entire browser isn’t locked up while you wait.
Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler explained the importance of E10S in a recent blog post, the full of which can be found here. According to Dotzler, “E10S is short for ‘Electrolysis’. Similar to how chemists can use the technique called electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, we’re using project Electrolysis to split Firefox into a UI process and a content process. Splitting UI from content means that when a web page is devouring your computer’s processor, your tabs and buttons and menus won’t lock up too.”
Even with such a hugely exciting change, the develop isn’t taking any chances by throwing Electrolysis out there onto every Firefox user’s computer. Following an in-house beta testing period of Electrolysis, Firefox 48 is now in beta, meaning only a tiny percentage of users will even make the transition in order to give Mozilla the much-needed feedback it requires before rolling it out on a broader scale in approximately six weeks.
“When we hit release in about six weeks,” Dotzler continued, “not all of our Firefox 48 users will get E10S. The teams have been working really hard but we’ve still got some compatibility and other work to do to make E10S ready for everyone. The groups that will have to wait a bit for E10S account for about half of our release users and include Windows XP users, users with screen readers, RTL users, and the largest group, extension users.”
In the meantime, the recent release of Firefox 47 offers a few bug fixes and some pretty sweet features, too, namely the ability to play a YouTube video or other streaming services’ videos in HTML5 if you haven’t downloaded the latest version of Flash. That’s a handy feature that will hopefully replace the irritating warning message that requires you to download an update before you can watch a video clip.