back to article Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY

The idea of a new version of Firefox will sound like a bad joke to some. To others, it’s a yawn – Firefox comes at the blistering pace of one new version every six weeks. How can there be anything significant in the latest edition? Well, Firefox 31, released last week, is a significant update with new tools for web developers …

  1. BlueGreen

    "the latest version of Firefox has some great tools for web developers"

    I'm not a web dev. I just don't like being dicked around. UI stupidity is the problem, clever dev tools won't undo that.

    Edit: Firefox ESR has been good. Palemoon is looking attractive now ESR is up for its annual renewal.

    1. BillG

      Re: "the latest version of Firefox has some great tools for web developers"

      I'm not a web dev. I just don't like being dicked around. UI stupidity is the problem

      I agree. If I wanted a Chrome interface I'd use Chrome. Despite Firefox's loathing and disgust for anyone that chooses to not use their most recent version, I'm still using Firefox 28 because I like the File | Edit | View |... UI.

      "Provided you can overlook some of the organization's exceedingly poor decisions in the last year" trying to make Firefox look like Chrome!

    2. Rob Moir

      Re: "the latest version of Firefox has some great tools for web developers"

      I have to say PaleMoon has been working really well for me. I don't use that many FF plugins and the like, but the ones I do use have worked perfectly.

  2. Pet Peeve


    Um, what? Firebug is nearly without peer as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to see some hard evidence that web designers are abandoning firefox before you start throwing around words like "irrelevant". Obvious linkbait is obvious.

    1. dontstopnow

      Re: Irrelevant?

      I would say Chrome's dev tools are at least as good as Firebug, if not better. Pity both of them soak up your memory like a sponge.

      Firefox's own dev tools aren't bad, but they lack a couple of really nice features (unminify JS in the console - /and/ preserve location of any errors for one), but I'm sticking with FF over Chrome because it doesn't turn all my internal urls into search queries grrrr

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Irrelevant?

      I stopped using it because at around 4pm everyday firefox had grown to use over 3Gb of ram and refused to release it without closing the program completely. Chrome under the exact same conditions consumed around 500Mb, I can't be bothered to confirm that these issues have gone, because chrome is good enough for me at the moment and I have no need to change back (although chrome has started to fall apart at the seams with a few awful implementations of standards lately) .

      The tools available in chrome are not as good as firebug but the included tools in chrome are pretty damn good and are much better than the included tools in firefox. Included tools aren't what most devs would use though and firefox with firebug really is the ultimate website debugging tool if your mind hasn't already been tainted with a poor experience a few years ago.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Irrelevant?

        I've often heard this "Firefox chomps up memory" complaint, but never experienced it. My current FF session has been running since at least Monday, it currently has 13 tabs open across 7 different sites and 4 different logins, and it's using about half a gig. That's typical, in my experience. Mind you, I don't use Facebook or Tumblr.

        And I like Firebug. And I like the thought that not all my browsing history is sent directly to Google. If someone wants to track me across the web, they'll have to put together information from at least 3 or 4 different sources.

        1. vagabondo

          Re: Irrelevant?


          (openSUSE 13.1 4GB RAM)

          Firefox 30.0

          two windows -- 14 + 8 tabs

          up 7 days 3hours

          780 MiB used

          Iron/Chromium 34

          one window 5 tabs

          up 5 minutes

          550 MiB

          Chrome 35

          Iron/Chromium 34

          one window 5 tabs

          up 5 minutes

          580 MiB

          Ghostery and AdBlock(Plus) all round. Firebug and Zotero for FF.

        2. Dapprman

          Re: Irrelevant?

          I've been suffering with Firefox memory slurping for a long time now - even disabled flash in it at one stage (it's amazing just how much online content relies on flash). I don't like the feel of Chrome (yeah I know Firefox are trying to copy them)- actually found the latest versions of Explorer to be faster and more reliable (stop the cat calls) however with no addblock+ available for IE I'm not going to be moving across.

    3. Havin_it

      Re: Irrelevant?

      Firebug is indeed magnificent, but here's the problem IMHO: why must the browser itself weigh itself down further and saddle all its users with such bloat, when such a capable addon exists already for those who'll actually use it?

      Those dev hours would have been better spent on some of the many showstopper bugs that have persisted for years (everyone's got their own pet one by now).

  3. Buzzword

    PDF on Windows?

    Hasn't that already been there for a couple of years? I think it uses PDF.js, but I don't care about that. It doesn't require the hell-spawn that is Adobe, and it works fine most of the time.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: PDF on Windows?

      Firefox uses a JS based PDF viewer:

      It renders into a canvas (with a text layer on top). It means it's okay for previews but not so good for printing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PDF on Windows?

        PDF through Javascript... Is that a holy combination?

  4. MooJohn

    Incremental versions?

    Gotta love their decision that each minor revision = a new major version number. After all, the browser with the highest number is the newest, right? Take that, IE 11 - they're 20 versions ahead of you!

    Next week they'll fix a typo and we'll be on version 32.

    1. John Gamble

      Re: Incremental versions?

      You do realize that that's a Google Chrome "innovation", right?

      I grant you that doesn't excuse Mozilla from copying such a blatantly bad idea -- it smell of marketing hype.

      1. Fatman

        Re: Incremental versions?

        I grant you that doesn't excuse Mozilla from copying such a blatantly bad idea -- it smell reeks of marketing hype.


  5. DrStrangeLug

    You really love developers

    Prove it - stop putting out versions that stop working with Selenium.

    Real developers have have integration tests you know.

  6. John Sanders

    I'm scared...

    Of what they could have removed this time... they always remove something.

  7. dickiedyce
    Thumb Up

    Mitchell Gant would approve....

    ... as ISTR that the FireFox was a MiG 31 in the film?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its up there with Java and Flash for the most annoying software that sysadmins might need to support.

  9. AMBxx Silver badge

    Makes IE more attractive every day

    I've used FF for years, but getting fed up with the constant updating. Chrome is just as bad. Every minor update manages to break some small thing.

    At least with IE it's just security updates that don't break stuff, then a major release that breaks everything. By the time IE12 is out, maybe more sites will work with IE11?!

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: Makes IE more attractive every day

      AMBxx, have you looked into the Firefox ESR stream? It resynchronizes with the main stream every seventh version (10, 17, 24, 31, …), and only gets security updates in between.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ESR, heh

        If only end-users used ESR... like back In the good old days -- of 2012 -- when ESR was "release", 25-28 would've been would've been 5.0-beta, and 29-31 would've been 5.0-rc1, rc2, rc3... and end-users were not auto-upgraded to a new release which breaks everything.

        I remember there being some "move the web forward" rationale for this, having to do with HTML5 and security patches. Time to rethink that. Yes, Microsoft is actually setting a good example, problem is nobody trusts them, for good reason.

  10. Len Goddard

    Too much change

    I gave up on firefox with the major UI changes in version 30(?). Moved to Palemoon.

    When will UI designers catch on to the idea that just because a new look/approach is theoretically more efficient it is still a total PITA for someone who has been using the existing UI for longer than they have been coding interfaces. By all means offer a new interface as an option but don't close off the old one or you risk alienating long-term users.

    I abandoned Ubuntu for the same reason (Unity) and I won't be upgrading from Win 7 any time soon. Actually, the interface to Win7 on my PC looks more like Win2K but that's another story.

    1. Cameron Colley

      Re: Too much change

      I, too, tend to dislike change but when set up carefully the changes I have seen in Firefox have been fairly minimal I currently use version 34 bjt till vae my menus nd the toolbar pretty muh as it was 10 versions ago. I did move to XFCE a wjile back though as i was sick of the shenanigans with KDE and Gnome and I hate Uniy

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too much change

        I think you should tell us which browser you used to make that post - I for one would like to avoid it, as it seems to lack any proof-reading tools whatsoever.

        1. Cameron Colley

          Re: Too much change

          The browser I used to make that post is classed as "experimental" and was displayed using e-ink. So, you are right, there was no proof reading whatsoever. In fact, I wasn't even sure it posted.

    2. oiseau Silver badge

      Re: Too much change

      Indeed ...

      Far too much change, far too much unwarranted/unneeded change and far too much memory and cpu cycle use slowing the use of FF to a crawl.

      I did not know about PaleMoon and have just installed it (thanks).

      The migration tool was a breeze and up to now it's a charm.

      - Hey, you !!!

      - FF developers/programmers/coders/etc.!

      - Listen up !!!

      - STOP screwing around with your decade+ old loyal user base!



  11. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    and another thing …

    One relatively unheralded feature of Firefox 31.0 (and more importantly, of Firefox 31.0 ESR, for those of us in the slow lane) is the improved MathML support.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought Firebug was amazing back in the glory days of Firefox 3.5. I jumped ship to Chrome back when Mozilla started their update treadmill and it started breaking extensions like Firebug, ABP, NoScript, etc. because they wouldn't work for about a week while/if the developer pushed a new version to AMO with a newer em:maxVersion.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's useless

    without the Classic Theme Restorer. I hate the new UI.

  14. Alan Denman

    Completely pointless !

    A couple of MB of fixes for versions X is fine every now and again.

    But I just refuse to start again, and again, and again, and again........................

    The idiots really don't want you to have it!

  15. Mike G

    Have they fixed the "crash entire app because of one tab and recover in 5 minutes" feature yet

    1. Pet Peeve

      Firefox still doesn't run each tab in a seperate process, but they put a stop to the various memory bloat and tab deadlocks quite a while ago. On my mac, the same instance of firefox stays running until I reboot (which is weeks or months apart), and it seems to always release the memory that a closed tab was using.

      I think one of the early 20s (24 maybe?) was all about stability stuff like this.

      1. DropBear

        they put a stop to the various memory bloat and tab deadlocks quite a while ago

        Nope. Still seeing all that in all its glory on 27.0 (beyond which I shall never budge unless to move to Chrome - F. U., FF UI designers...)

  16. pip25

    I'm a web developer

    And I'd prefer if they fixed some bugs instead. I'm at the end of a project right now, and do you know which browser I had the most problems with during development? No, not IE... Firefox! (I guess IE's issues are quite well known already and most frameworks take them into account.) Firefox keeps crashing like there's no tomorrow, has some absurd kind of memory leak which makes large images impossible to load after some time, and so on and so forth... I use Firefox as my default browser and I knew it had problems, but this experience was really disheartening. :(

    1. LeeH

      Re: I'm a web developer

      I've experienced none of those problems. Firefox has been very stable for many years. Maybe a browser plugin causes your Firefox to crash or prevents loading of large images?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they fixed the "switch focus back" problem?

    Click a link to open a page with embedded Flash, like YouTube. New page takes focus. Firefox often (but not always or consistently) then switches focus back to the previous page, requiring you to reselect the new page. Reported repeatedly, never fixed, not a Firefox problem, they say. Well it only happens in your browser, Moz devs.

    1. AlexV

      Re: Have they fixed the "switch focus back" problem?

      Yes, in flash beta Took adobe years to do it, but they finally fixed it.

  18. MJI Silver badge

    Fix the UI FIRST

    Make it look like it used to the new GUI is terrible

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. batfastad


    Actually I've found Firebug has become almost unusable with the last few versions, taking 10s+ to show the panel. And since then I've discovered that the Firefox dev tools are perfectly adequate for my needs these days. I've also had a colour picker extension for a number of years.

    The problem I see is that the browser is becoming lumbered with more and more tools that actually only enhance the experience for a small percent of its potential userbase. And all of those tools being built-in surely come with a performance or maintainability cost somewhere down the line.

    Firefox's big benefit to me all those years ago was its extensibility and the fact that it wasn't tied in to doing a Windows Service Pack upgrade or some other insanity. Now they seem hell-bent on incorporating loads of code into the core which should be modular and stripped out as extensions: sync (weave), developer tools, PDF viewer (pdfjs). I'm not saying they're not worthy additions, well apart from the PDF viewer which got disabled* straight away as it kept barfing over relatively small ~10MB PDFs. But they are additions and should be official addons authored by the core development teams.

    With the new Fisher Price version I noticed massive memory ballooning happening after a few days of leaving the browser open. I keep my machine on all the time with roughly the same profile of tabs/windows open and was finding that with v29 after a few days it was chomping 2GB+ memory and almost unusable until I re-opened. Switched back to v28 and not had a single occurrence of that in 3+ weeks now. Not particularly scientific but there was definitely something bad happening there.

    * about:config > pdfjs.disabled = true. You're welcome :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firebuggered?

      If they wanted to do it right, they could show a "recommended extensions" dialog after installation, also available from Addons. Want pdfjs and sync? Want our devtools and/or firebug? Various ad blockers? Check the boxes.

      But I guess the extension architecture might be inadequate somehow, and the recommendations might be unfair or "whatever's most popular".

  21. LeeH

    I Use Web Developer and Firefox Developer Tools

    Tried Firebug. Prefer the Web Developer plugin. Firebug didn't suit my preference for editing CSS and HTML freestyle as though using a text editor. Maybe I just couldn't be bothered to learn how to do that with Firebug; is it possible to do with Firebug? It can be done with Web Developer.

    Love the Firefox inbuilt developer tools, especially the 3D cube and the CSS viewer. I would drop Web Developer altogether if I could use the inbuilt FF developer tools to edit HTML without needing to double-click and right-click the editor in order to make edits.


    Just noticed I can 'Edit as HTML' with FF Developer Tools but this is still not as free as scrolling through the HTML and editing the HTML as though using a text editor.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Jamie Jones Silver badge


    "Now that's what I call Firefox 31"

  24. bguss72


    A "fox" is known to be quick, smart and resourceful. The browser in it's last versions since 4.x.x, has been a far cry from that. It's still, to this day, a memory hog. I've done every conceivable troubleshooting forwarded to me from Mozilla. NADA. Firefox still shoots itself to the top of the list in CPU usage and real memory usage. It's been no surprise to see it get to 90% CPU usage, and 1.9GB of memory. And this is only after constant use of 3 days. The same usage for Chrome and Safari (I've had to switch to other browsers when Firefox becomes Firemolasses), they never get pass 1% CPU usage, and 140MB of memory. The only reason why I still use Fire"fox", is because of the 3 browsers, it's still the most customizable. But that gets overshadowed by it's own major flaws. I've actually been using Chrome more frequently, more and more of the extensions/add-ons from Fire"fox" is being ported for Chrome.

  25. Asok Asus

    Forget Firefox, Get Pale Moon!

    Give Pale Moon a try: it's a fork of Firefox 24 that is everything that Firefox ought to be, but isn't!

    I’ve just been FED UP with FF because of the horrific memory leaks, sluggishness, constant pointless UI changes, arrogance of online "help", etc. I've been running v16 forever because whenever I’ve tried to upgrade to newer versions, they’d all pretty much just crash after 30 minutes of heavy use, and not a single version of FF that I’ve ever used has ever fixed the memory leak problems. Not a single one.

    I actually installed a tiny batch file on quicklaunch so I could quickly kill FF at the point it’s consumed all of my RAM so I could then start over with “Restore Session” to automatically reload all of my previous tabs. After trying every “solution” to the leak problem, that’s the only one that ever did in any good for me. Apparently the arrogant tards at mozilla would rather tweak the UI to death rather than make a browser that actually works. They’re worse than even Microsoft because Microsoft has to listen to their customers sooner or later or go broke. Nonprofits can just drift along forever.

    At any rate, I just finished installing PM, including importing everything from FF with their little importer program, and everything went flawlessly, including all settings and the plethora of add-ons I use. The only difficulty was getting roboform attached, which I can’t live without. I did finally dumb around and got the roboform taskbar program to attach roboform to PM, which then worked flawlessly. It is, however, necessary for the roboform taskbar program to run all the time for roboform to continue to work on PM, but this is a very small price to pay to ditch FF forever.

    I've used PM for several months now, opening/closing/keeping hundreds of tabs a day, and I’ve been stunned at how much faster PM is than FF, as well as the VERY small memory footprint occupied by PM vs FF. Even after a week's HEAVY usage, PM has not grown beyond 1 GB, and even better, when I close tabs, ALL of the RAM is given back.

    Basically, PM is what FF ought to be. Even better, the genius behind Pale Moon, Mark Straver, has committed to keeping the PM UI fundamentally unmolested. I’ll be installing PM instead of FF on all of my client’s computers in the future as well!

    (BTW, ALL of the "recommended fixes" for the firefox memory leak problems are a sick joke. Not one of them works. And plugins DO NOT cause the memory leaks! Firefox does! How do I know? Because I switched to Pale Moon, importing everything EXACTLY like it was in Firefox and guess what? No memory leaks in Pale Moon! Oh, and I use Adblock Plus, Flash, Java, DoNotTrackMe, BetterPrivacy CookieCuller, DownloadHelper, Element Hiding Helper, IE View, ViewAbout, Visited, and roboform. So NONE of those is causing the firefox memory leak problems!)

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