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Mozilla Firefox 66 Will Use Less Memory, Improve Extension Performance


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Mozilla Firefox 66 Will Use Less Memory, Improve Extension Performance 

Firefox 66 will introduce a series of changes for extensions, which Mozilla says should improve the performance of these add-ons, while also reducing the memory footprint of the browser.

Firefox 66 will introduce a series of changes for extensions, which Mozilla says should improve the performance of these add-ons, while also reducing the memory footprint of the browser.

The upcoming version of the application will require extensions to use IndexedDB as the backend for local storage, thus giving up on JSON files.

The migration will be conducted all automatically and neither developers nor users need to do anything about it, as the whole process would be performed when Firefox 66 is installed.

“This change is completely transparent to extension developers – you do not need to do anything to take advantage of this improvement.  When users upgrade to Firefox 66, the local storage JSON file is silently migrated to IndexedDB,” Mike Conca, Product Manager, Firefox WebExtensions, explains.

“All extensions using the storage.local() API immediately realize the benefits, especially if they store small changes to large structures, as is true for ad-blockers, the most common and popular type of extension used in Firefox.”Faster browsing, reduced memory footprintFor the average Joe, this change means extensions will load faster and thus improve browsing speed, while at the same time helping Firefox reduce the amount of memory that it uses. As we learned the hard way, browsers tend to eat more and more memory as you open more tabs, and Google Chrome is clearly the best example in this regard.

A live demo of the new changes in Firefox 66 can be seen below, as Mozilla shows that opening the browser with an ad blocker installed takes less time than before thanks to the new storage system.

These updates are already available for testing in the beta build of Firefox and will go live for everyone with the release of Firefox 66 on March 19, 2019.
 
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Future branch dates

Release Owners

Quarter Soft Freeze Merge Date Central Beta Release Date Release ESR
Q1 2019-03-11 2019-03-18 Firefox 68 Firefox 67 2019-03-19 Firefox 66 Firefox 60.6
Q2 2019-05-06 2019-05-13 Firefox 69 Firefox 68 2019-05-14 Firefox 67 Firefox 60.7
Q3 2019-07-01 2019-07-08 Firefox 70 Firefox 69 2019-07-09 Firefox 68 Firefox 60.8; 68.0
2019-08-26 2019-09-02 Firefox 71 Firefox 70 2019-09-03 Firefox 69 Firefox 60.9; 68.1
Q4 2019-10-14 2019-10-21 Firefox 72 Firefox 71 2019-10-22 Firefox 70 Firefox 68.2
2019-12-02 2019-12-09 Firefox 73 Firefox 72 2019-12-10 Firefox 71 Firefox 68.3
The Nightly soft freeze is typically during the week prior to merge day. During this period, high-risk patches should avoid landing until after the Nightly version bump lands on mozilla-central on merge day.
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Good to see this. As Chrome is increasingly developing the reputation of a memory hog, it's good to see Firefox leading the way with this.

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