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Mozilla speeds Firefox development

Mozilla speeds Firefox development

The development team behind the popular Firefox browser hopes that their 'sprint cycle' development will bring new features to users more quickly.

The browser development team at the Mozilla Foundation have switched to a new method of working which means new features for the popular Firefox browser should find their way into users' hands faster than ever before.

According to an article over on InfoWorld, Firefox architect Vlad Vukecevic has described the new practice as "'sprint' development," a system whereby "[Mozilla has] a bunch of projects [new features] that we assign to one or two people, who then have two to three weeks to maybe finish [it] or at least get some data on it."

Vukecevic explains that the sprint development cycle method will hopefully make the development team "more nimble" and allow the team to work on "a lot of great improvements we want to do every week and every month."

While the development team might be working on getting new features to users as soon as possible, the release schedule for future versions is still somewhat tentative with Vukecevic stating that the company will "do at least one release a year from now on, but whether there's a second release this year [...] that's up in the air."

The current release roadmap shows Firefox 3.6 due for release in October-November this year, with Firefox 3.7 following around March next year. Firefox 4.0 - the next major revision - should be due October-November 2010. Vukecevic has been tight-lipped on whether the new sprint-cycle development will affect these dates.

Hopefully the new development techniques at Mozilla will help the company stay on track for release dates: Firefox 3.5 was plagued with delays as more and more features were added to what was originally planned to be an incremental update.

Are there any major features missing from Firefox that you think the development team should be 'sprinting' with, or are you just excited to see what version 4.0 will bring? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

12 Comments

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mi1ez 18th September 2009, 14:25 Quote
A bit early to be getting excited about 4.0 I feel... Besides, I can't think of anything I want from my browser that 3.5 can't do and websites try to implement.
Denis_iii 18th September 2009, 15:34 Quote
i dumped firefox yesterday for chrome 3 and no turning back. I am loving Chrome!
Bookmarks are waaaay better, the history is simply awesome and download manager sweet and simple.
Mozilla is going to need to do alot to get me back!
Google has done to the browser what Apple did to the smartphone.

Its not all perfect, chrome maximised bleeds a vertical blue bar over to my 2nd monitor and logmein throws up errors but thats logmeins fault i assume.
l3v1ck 18th September 2009, 16:39 Quote
I heard FF4 is based on FF2, not FF3. This can only be a good thing. In my experience FF3 is less stable than FF2 and has had an annoying feature added. If they hadn't stopped patching FF2 I'd have stuck with it.
isaac12345 18th September 2009, 16:42 Quote
i like the fact that these guys leaned from their mistake and have come up with a solution. we need more people like these , ESPECIALLY IN THE FINANCE INDUSTRY!!!
raGe82 18th September 2009, 18:07 Quote
I hope this won't be 'sprint' development methodology I know from my company... At first it looked pretty good - big set of task split in a bunch of small independent ones, which were assigned to single developer (sometimes two or even three) for about 5-10 work days.

After first month it was obvious that:
- these small tasks aren't independent,
- giving one task to team no. 1, then giving their results to team no. 2 isn't a good idea, because every developer has his way of solving issues,
- in the end we got way beyond schedule.

Yeah, I know - everyone has to learn his own way, but hey! Why we are the ones that will be punished? :P
perplekks45 18th September 2009, 19:36 Quote
Taken from "Extreme Programming for Dummies"? :|
ssj12 19th September 2009, 01:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis_iii
i dumped firefox yesterday for chrome 3 and no turning back. I am loving Chrome!
Bookmarks are waaaay better, the history is simply awesome and download manager sweet and simple.
Mozilla is going to need to do alot to get me back!
Google has done to the browser what Apple did to the smartphone.

Its not all perfect, chrome maximised bleeds a vertical blue bar over to my 2nd monitor and logmein throws up errors but thats logmeins fault i assume.

Apple did virtually nothing for the smartphone market... Google has done more for smartphones.
perplekks45 19th September 2009, 13:20 Quote
Depends of whether you classify the iPhone a smartphone or not.
And what did Google do for smartphones? Android? :|
tank_rider 20th September 2009, 10:58 Quote
Good to hear of another company adopting agile methods, however most don't feel the need to announce it to the world! I've in a team doing this for about 18 months (all my time as a developer) and the company I work for (Xerox) have been doing this in places for the best part of 3 years.

In theory it works really well but it all comes down to how it's managed and how good the product owner and the developers have to be disciplined and keep to the plan. In a product I'm currently doing integration for we have managed to cut the development ccle time for a new UI down by more than half, whilst improving on regression and bugs that get into the baseline.
perplekks45 20th September 2009, 14:47 Quote
Agile methods and XP especially are great in theory but in 90% of all cases they suck due to bad management, true. But if done correctly you are just that much faster and practically bug free.

Let's hope Mozilla did their homework.
Chocobollz 20th September 2009, 17:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
I heard FF4 is based on FF2, not FF3. This can only be a good thing. In my experience FF3 is less stable than FF2 and has had an annoying feature added. If they hadn't stopped patching FF2 I'd have stuck with it.

If FF2 was more stable than FF3, then why Mozilla keeps patching it? In my experience, FF2 isn't very stable, I could never able to use it for a few days without it crashing, and that while I'm not using any addons or opening a lot tabs (like I usually do in Opera). With Opera, I could open 1400 tabs (in 40+ windows) at the same time and it will stay stable for weeks! FF2 is the single reason I've switched to Opera for these 2 years. FF3 doesn't change that for me because IMO, Opera UI is so much more intuitive. I haven't tried Google Chrome but I don't think they will make me switch haha.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dennis_iii
Bookmarks are waaaay better, the history is simply awesome and download manager sweet and simple.

Can they store the bookmarks online so I can access it anywhere (even from my mobile phones) like Opera Link? If so, I might be interested in trying it.
perplekks45 20th September 2009, 18:27 Quote
Fanboyism is great, ain't it?
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