Mozilla will turn the Firefox crank faster in 2020, releasing a new version of its web browser every four weeks instead of every six. If you’re using the browser, the change should deliver new features to you faster since there will be less waiting between when developers build them and when they arrive.
“In recent quarters, we’ve had many requests to take features to market sooner. Feature teams are increasingly working in sprints that align better with shorter release cycles. Considering these factors, it is time we changed our release cadence,” Firefox team members Ritu Kothari and Yan Or said in a blog post Tuesday. “Shorter release cycles provide greater flexibility to support product planning and priority changes due to business or market requirements.”
The faster release cadence means there’s less time to test changes in the raw Nightly and more mature beta versions before they arrive with the main Firefox release. But Mozilla has been comfortable with shorter test times, eliminating an entire version two years ago. And it’ll monitor for problems more closely and try to resolve them faster.
Software once was developed with big-bang releases that combined many new features and often significant changes to its user interface. But with the spread of broadband and mobile networks, software increasingly is released more often with smaller, less dramatic changes. That means problems can be fixed faster and change takes place continuously instead of with jarring disconnects.
To help catch and fix bugs faster, Mozilla will release beta versions more frequently than today’s twice weekly pace, too.