For some time now, Mozilla's Firefox has been the choice for a lot of users on the web, and while the browser doesn't quite have the same sort of market share as Google Chrome does, it's still an excellent alternative no matter the platform you're using it on. What makes a browser such as Firefox so special is that the team behind it develop their own rendering engine, which is effectively the beating heart of the web browser. These rendering engines chew through all of the code and assets that a web page is made up of to make sure it looks as the designer intend it to. The Firefox team have been hard at work bringing multi-threaded processing to the rendering engine of Firefox for some time, but now they'e looking ahead to something even bigger; Quantum.
Writing at Medium, David Bryant, Mozilla's Head of Platform Engineering, outlines Project Quantum as something "really big" and says that it'll be ready for consumers this time next year. The team working on Project Quantum is "striving for performance gains from Quantum that will be so noticeable that your entire web experience will feel different. Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth." The way that the team will make this happen is to further leverage the multiple cores and powerful GPUs that our devices have in abundance these days. With devices shipping with quad-core CPUs as standard, and octa-core CPUs becoming more common, the idea behind Quantum is to make sure that Firefox will leverage these cores even better than before, and process even single web pages with multiple threads to ensure that performance is silky smooth and web pages load noticeably faster.
Project Quantum will be built from the existing Gecko engine at the heart of Firefox, and the team will be replacing huge parts of the engine with more modern code, that leverages the multiple cores of practically every device. Firefox, with the Quantum engine, will run on Linux, MacOS, Windows and of course Android and iOS. For users of Firefox, as well as perhaps the web in general, this move to Quantum is going to be a big deal. With drastic improvements to the underlying code, Firefox could give Google and the rest of the market something to worry about.