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Mozilla’s Project Quantum aims to develop a next-gen web engine for Firefox

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The web didn’t use to look quite the same twenty years back. It was then jam-packed with just paragraphs of text along with minimal images and hyperlink support. But, now we have more interactive and bandwidth intensive web experiences, including video, GIF, pop-up ads, flash among others. Thus, we are now in need of faster, less memory hogging web standards to meet these requirements.

And who better understands these needs than the non-profit organization Mozilla, who’s constantly working to make its browser Firefox less complex and more user-friendly. It is currently completing work on its ongoing Electrolysis project that’ll help deliver a multi-process secure browsing experience to users. Mozilla plans to roll out the first stage of this multi-process code to Firefox desktop users in coming months.

In a Medium blog post, David Bryant, Head of Platform Engineering at Mozilla says that working on this project has given them more clarity for the future of Firefox. The team will now work on further improving the performance and security of its browser to take on the wildly popular Google Chrome.

Electrolysis has just set us up to do something we think will be really big. We’re calling it Project Quantum.

According to Mozilla, Quantum will be a next-generation web rendering engine that’ll power a fast and smooth user experience on both mobile and desktop operating systems. This would be ubiquitous to creating a ‘quantum leap’ in web technology and performance but it will require extensive use of parallelism and complete exploitation of modern hardware.

For those unaware, web browser engine is the core component of the browser that runs all the content you browse on the interwebs. Today’s browsers all operate on different underlying technologies. Chrome’s web browser engine is called Blink, whereas Firefox operates on Gecko. This definition, thus, guides us into how Mozilla will use Quantum to power Firefox and content browsing experience faster, interactive and more intuitive.

In Project Quantum, Mozilla will start by replacing parts of age-old Gecko code with ground-breaking components of Servo, an independent, community-based web engine. Servo is a project sponsored by the Mozilla foundation, thus it will work on the amalgamation of its best features with Gecko. Mozilla will start slow but plans to expand the use of Servo when it becomes stable.

Quantum is an ambitious project, but users won’t have to wait long to start seeing improvements roll out. We’re going to ship major improvements next year, and we’ll iterate from there,

reads the blog post.

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And it is damn true! Mozilla needs to take baby steps with this integration because Servo is exceptionally crazy fast as compared to current generation web engines. It is capable of rendering a graphics-heavy page at 60FPS. Mozilla most likely plans to integrate this component into Firefox and release an initial build in 2017. It will be available on all major platforms Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux, expect iOS.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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