What do devs think of Mozilla's quickfire release schedule?
Firefox 6 has been officially launched today, just eight weeks after Firefox 5 was unveiled. Just like its predecessor, an early-bird version snuck out a few days ahead of schedule and has been unofficially available for download on Mozilla's FTP servers since Saturday.
The newest version is reported to be 20 per cent faster than FF5, and domain names will now be highlighted in the address bar.
Mozilla's rapid release development cycle has been underway for a few months now, and has received a mixed response from developers and users. Some developers find the rapid sequence of new releases makes testing sites more time consuming, others enjoy having new things to explore. Users may be displeased about the extra bother of all the upgrading.
Developer Mike Woloszynowicz tweeted: "Given that #Firefox 5 just came out and now 6 is out on Tuesday, I take it that major version numbers are just a marketing tool for Mozilla". This expresses a common sentiment among users: bewilderment at why they're being prompted to upgrade yet again.
Aaron Gustafson, author of "Adaptive Web Design" told us: "In talking with end users I have found that the accelerated release cycle of Firefox is causing confusion. Many people are surprised when they are asked to upgrade because they feel that they just upgraded to Firefox 5 (or 4 in some cases). I am somewhat concerned that this shift may hurt the Firefox brand in terms of perceived reliability and stability because of the way they engage users in the upgrade process. With Chrome it's behind the scenes, so most users don’t know they’ve been upgraded, but Firefox asks you to download and install the new version. I think they need to find a way to ease the transition for non-geek users in order to retain their good reputation."
For his own purposes, however, the faster release cycle is a plus: "As a developer, I think the accelerated release cycle is good because it gives me new stuff to play with, but I think there are risks. Chrome, for instance, releases new versions at a crazy pace and often introduces new bugs in the process. They usually clear them up pretty quickly, but it makes browser testing fairly complicated as you can’t be sure an error is yours rather than the browser’s. I’m hopeful Firefox doesn’t have the same problem."
How are you enjoying the accelerated release cycle? Let us know in the comments.