As maybe you all know, Mozilla is non-profit organization who fights for open and free web, privacy and encryption and many other things. You can say that the whole Mozilla is based on volunteering communities from all around the world, that means that there are thousands of volunteers who contribute on Mozilla’s projects every day. Some of them localize, some of them are doing QA and fix the bugs, some of the translate support articles and many more.
Mozilla’s most popular projects are Firefox and Thunderbird, but did you know that there are five different versions (or someone would prefer to call them builds) of Firefox, for both Desktop and Android devices? Yes, that’s right, there are five different versions of Firefox and each version has it’s own purpose.
Firefox builds (sorted in order of purposes):
- Firefox Nightly - New features comes here first before they are released to the next builds.
- Firefox Developer Edition - Built for developers with many tools for easier web development and debugging.
- Firefox Beta - This version is for testing about-to-be-released features in the most stable pre-release build.
- Firefox - After features pass all tests and prove that they are stable, they are released with final Firefox version.
- Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) - This is a community-led project for organizations, and it’s basically every seventh release of Firefox, so in some way it comes on the last place.
Today I wanna talk to you about Nightly. Nightly is a Firefox build where every new feature comes first and pass many cycles of testing before it come to the final Firefox version. Many features never even passed Nightly because they were not stable, couldn’t been fixed or something else. Nightly was a build only for a testing purposes. Now is so much more.
I’m using Nightly as my default browser for more than a year I think, but I used it a couple of months more two years ago, while I was Windows user. Back then Nightly had its own moments. Most of the days it would be very unstable, there were lots of bugs, crashing, it just wasn’t at all for daily using. After some time I stopped using it and switched to Aurora (today called Developer Edition) which was much stable version. I think I was never really interested in just Firefox, I wanted more than basic browser and that’s why I struggled with those experimental builds. To be honest Aurora was a real deal when it came to choosing the right browser, how fast and stable it was for my work, and when Developer Edition came, it simple changed a lot for me. But then again, I wanted to contribute more to global Mozilla community, not just my local, and I gave another try to Nightly.
So what happened with Nightly since last time I used it?
Apparently a lot of things happened.
I was surprised to see that Nightly is in a much better shape now than back then. It is really fast a stable, I don’t even remember when was the last time I had any mayor crash. All add-ons that I use works well on Nightly too and everyday Mozilla employers together with volunteers around the world, work on fixing bugs and testing new experimental features.
What about Nightly community?
Nightly community got bigger (and it’s still growing). People from around the world communities collaborate on fixing bugs and helping others (especially newcomers) to get deeper into Nightly. For communication we use Telegram group and #nightly channel on IRC. Both groups are pretty active and there is always someone there to help you if you need any help, or answer on your question if you have one.
Nightly has changed a lot in the last couple of years and I mean that in a good way, but I think there is more work to do. It is essential for future releases of Firefox and it’s features, it is very stable and fast, always gets first new features to try and community is very active so if you want to involve more find us on Telegram or #nightly IRC channel.
So, does Firefox Nightly deserve another chance? Yes it does. I recommend everyone to try it and I’m sure you won’t regret.