Asif Youssuff

r/firefox Monthly Wrap-Up - August 2022: A new Chief Product Officer

There are a lot of fun things posted on r/firefox, but if you don’t visit often, you might miss some things.

This is the fourth post of an ideally monthly post that distills the best of r/firefox over the last month. I’m open to feedback, so please let me know what you think!

After a slow month in July, we saw an uptick in activity in August, along with a big announcement.


Steve Teixeira, Mozilla’s new Chief Product Officer

On August 15, Mozilla announced that Steve Teixeira (ex Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft) was named Chief Product Officer. Steve came by and commented:

I have to say, the best theory in this thread is how I was sent from Microsoft several years ago as a sleeper agent at Mozilla today. It has a Terminator vibe that I kind of love, ngl.

And yes, I am the same Steve Teixeira that wrote Delphi books in the Paleozoic era.

BubiBalboa asked Steve to write a blog post introducing himself and his goals for Firefox. Steve agreed – watch this space for a follow up!

Mozilla Accessibility: Cache the World

Asa Dotzler announced a revamped accessibility engine for Firefox called “Cache the World”. The new engine automatically sends information from web content processes to a cache in the browser’s main process for consumption by assistive technologies.

If you’re a Windows screen reader user, and you’re interested in testing Firefox Nightly builds, visit the announcement for instructions on how to enable the feature, along with instructions on how to report issues.

SpiderMonkey Improvements in Firefox 104-105

Even generally observant members of the Firefox community are often ignorant about what is happening in the JavaScript realm in Firefox. caspy7 shared the SpiderMonkey newsletter, which details a lot of ongoing work and improvements, including:

  • shipping the findLast and findLastIndex functions
  • modernizing JS modules, by supporting modules in Workers, adding support for Import Maps, and ESMification (replacing the JSM module system for Firefox internal JS code with standard ECMAScript modules).
  • working on better (in-memory) caching of JS scripts based on the new Stencil format, which will let SpiderMonkey integrate better with other resource caches used in Gecko, hit the cache in more cases, and open the door to potentially cache JIT-related hints
  • a whole host of performance improvements, including: optimizing object allocation code, making the JSON parsing benchmark more than 30% faster.

🧩 Add-ons

  • snf3210 shared an open source, Mozilla recommended new tab page with greater customization potential than the default new tab page. Tabliss lets people choose from millions of background photos, various widgets, a to-do list, notepad, a “speed dial” of sites, and a search box.
  • th3luck shared their open source extension that recommends related GitHub repositories on repository pages. Mike also wrote a post introducing GitHub Recommender and its development process.
  • lawrencehook shared an update to their sticky note extension, WebStickies. The extension debuted 8 months ago, and the new update includes a major new feature - accessibility via the context menu on web pages. People can now add new notes, change sticky colors, pin notes (to a location on a page), update text size, and more. The update also adds keyboard shortcuts.
  • angheloc wrote a mini-player for Spotify. Spopupfy is an open source extension that acts like a picture in picture window for Spotify.
  • Madd0g asked for an add-on recommendation to replicate Chrome’s AppleScript support in Firefox. AppleScript support in Firefox is a 21 year old request, and while there seems to be a prototype, it is currently stuck in review. Madd0g solved their own request by stumbling upon BroTab, an open source extension, native app and client that alllows people to access browser functionality via a command line app. This ought to be very useful for people who want to add a browser to their existing scripts, or if they want to add some quick automation to their browser. Unlike AppleScript, BroTab has the advantage of being cross-platform, as the client apps will run anywhere that pip runs.

✊ Take Back the Web 🌐

🙌 Uplifting Posts

phtdacosta posted thanking Firefox developers for keeping browser competition alive by maintaining Gecko and by “being an alternative at a market that is saturated with decoys” reliant on Chromium.

As a developer and tech entrepreneur I value that, I pray for you to keep your mission, and I NEVER give up on letting my friends know how good is my experience using Firefox myself, everyday, to develop and also surf.

💡 Ideas

🐛 Bugs and Issues




🌃 Nightly

Nightly users experienced one of those rare tab crashing bugs last month in bug 1787584 – reported on both reddit and Bugzilla by Fanolian (🙌). I ran into this issue when editing on OpenStreetMap - thankfully, the bug was fixed within a day or so.

Feel free to give me feedback on this post on reddit.

This project is maintained by yoasif