10 Nov 2013
“Firefox for Metro” is our project to build a new Firefox user interface designed for touch-screen devices running Windows 8. (“Metro” was Microsoft’s code name for the new touch-friendly user interface mode in Windows 8.) I’m part of the small team working on this project.
All this work is still underway, but in the past week we finally reached a tipping point where I’m able to use Firefox for Metro for most of my everyday browsing. There are still bugs, and we are still actively working on performance and completing the UI work, but I’m now finding very few cases where I need to switch to another browser because of a problem with Firefox for Metro. If you are using Window 8 (especially on a touch-screen PC) and are the type of brave person who uses Firefox nightly builds, this would be a great time to try Metro-style Firefox and let us know what you think!
Looking to the future, here are some of our remaining development priorities for the first release of Firefox for Metro:
Improve the installation and first-run experience, to help users figure out how to use the new UI and switch between “Metro” and desktop modes. (Our UX designer has user testing planned to help identify issues here and throughout the product.)
Fix any performance and rendering issues with scrolling and zooming, and add support for double-tap to zoom in on a specific page element.
Make the Metro and desktop interfaces share a profile, so they can seamlessly use the same bookmarks and other data without connecting to a Firefox Sync account.
And here are some things that I hope we can spend more time on once that work has shipped:
Improve the experience on pages with plugins, which currently require the user to switch to the desktop Firefox interface (bug 936907).
Implement a “Reader Mode,” like Firefox for Android. (A pair of students have started working on this project, and their work should also be useful for adding Reader Mode to Firefox for desktop.)
Add more features, and more ways to customize and tweak the Metro UI.