It was a typical day. 24 Firefox tabs open, 14 applications open, code compilers compiling, dev servers serving, system fan humming away. I was cruising along, getting it done, as they say.
It was about that time that, for whatever reason, one of my Firefox tabs froze. We all know what happens now. The entire browser crashes…because of one tab. Thankfully, Firefox often will let you restore all of your tabs when you restart Firefox (often after ending the Firefox process), but it is still a huge pain because you have to re-authenticate into email, lose anything you were typing, etc.
For years this has been a problem in every single major browser. Then Google came out last year with Chromium. The browser introduced a new concept, running each tab as a separate process. This effectively creates a new instance of the browser for every tab. That way, even if one of your tabs crashes, you won’t lose all of them. This is truly a stroke of genius.
Then Microsoft came out with Internet Explorer 8, which included the same feature. While I don’t personally have IE8 (I tried the Beta, but uninstalled it due to compatibility issues), I have heard that it is really good.
Now, Mozilla Firefox is jumping on the multi-process bandwagon by talking about introducing this feature. You can read all about it on their wiki at two locations:
You will see from the first link that they are talking about borrowing code from Chrome to make it happen. That is one of the thing about open-source…expect your code to be re-used if it’s good.
I look forward to seeing what Mozilla puts out. It will be awhile, as they are still in initial development (phase two/four is scheduled to be done on the first of November), so for now…I guess I’ll have to deal with the ever so rare crashes.