Firefox Proton it continues its development and is gradually approaching a stage where it is possible to test it and see first-hand if this new redesign that Mozilla prepares for your web browser will be the boost you need, or not. And the truth is that it does not seem like it, but as before giving an opinion, it is necessary to test, that’s what we are going to (hence the hint of opinion).
That Firefox is not going through its best moment, but quite the opposite … that is not an opinion: it is a fact, as long as we refer to specific circumstances, such as its increasingly reduced market share, or being under a direction that it does not give the feeling of knowing where it is going. And it’s a shame, for all that this project has meant – in the past, yes.
On the other hand, as a web browser, Firefox today enjoys the best implementation in its history: it cannot compete in terms of performance with Chromium and its offspring, nor in terms of functionality with part of it; but it’s fast, it works well, and it’s packed with cool features, which is no small feat. So is Firefox Proton what Mozilla needed to score a bit?
A look at Firefox Proton
Calling it Firefox Proton may cause you some confusion, because there is no Firefox Proton as such: Proton is simply the code name that Mozilla has given to the development of this project, which consists of the redesign of the browser and several of its elements both in regards to the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience).
But the truth is that it is the same as what happened with that Firefox Quantum, which was nothing more than a commercial name that was supported by another redesign and the introduction of background novelties that already came from before and that continue to occur. Not that we were facing a new browser overnight, wow; and the same applies to this case.
Getting to the point How can you test Firefox Proton? The fastest and most complete way to do this is by downloading the Firefox Nightly development version, since that is where the work is most advanced. Until a few days ago, in fact, you had to access the hidden preferences of Firefox to activate it, but now it is only necessary in part, because there are elements that still require it.
Thus, as soon as you launch Firefox Nightly, you can see the new design of the application’s tabs and menu.
The most characteristic of Firefox Proton is the new design of the tabs
All options related to Firefox Proton are found in the advanced preferences of the browser, through “about: config”, filtering the word “proton” (without the quotes). Those already active in Firefox Nightly include:
This is the global option for Firefox Proton.
This option supposedly enables a new context menu, which according to DebugPoint’s research is only available to Winddows 10 users at the moment (I am testing Firefox Proton on Linux and the context menu is the same as the stable version).
Finally, this option enables the new floating dialogs, for example when extensions are installed, a site asks for permission to use the location of the microphone or the webcam, or when the browser is closed with several tabs open. The difference with the previous one is that it is shown in the upper central part of the window and that its design is simpler.
New floating dialogs
Other options available to provide Firefox Proton with more features, although these still need to be activated by hand (double click, set the value to “true” and restart the browser), include:
This option affects the “information bars”, but I have not noticed any changes after activating it.
This is another option related to other dialogs in the application, which take the same flat and round-edged design. As an example, the add new bookmark dialog.
And more floating dialogues
This option is related to the tools for tabs and bookmarks, but I have not detected any significant changes after activating it.
Apart from the previous ones, there are some other options that do not appear when filtering, but that can be added manually. However, it is – as with the rest – “experiments” that do not end up working. Keep in mind that Firefox Proton is in full development and several of these options require activation and others to work, which do not even work in all cases and most of them will end up being integrated and disappearing from view.
In summary, Firefox Proton has some time left in the oven to be ready, but what can be seen does not look bad: it is all cleaner, more in line with the current design lines of simple shapes and flat colors, but something else warm with the rounded shapes that is being adopted. Firefox Proton is undoubtedly a step in favor of minimalism present in browsers such as Chrome or Safari, although it is not that Firefox suffers from a bad design as it is now.
With one exception: if Firefox’s current tab design with that awful top color line can be improved, these new standalone buttons, which all they do is add more separator lines to the interface, aren’t the best idea they’ve ever come up with. had the Mozilla creatives. Or this is, now yes, my opinion. As it is that what the browser needs are better functionalities, and not this. But welcome is the soda.