Years ago, every time we were releasing a new version of Firefox and bumped the version number for all Firefox channels, nightly builds were also getting a “What’s New” page displayed at restart after that major version number change (this old page is still available on the WayBack Machine and you can even see a video with ex-QA team lead Juan Becerra).
Then, at some point (Bug 748503), the call to that What’s New page was redirected to the First Run page. It made sense at the time as nobody was actively maintaining that content and it had not been updated in years, but it was also shutting down one of the few direct communication channels with our Nightly users.
Kohei Yoshino and myself worked on resurrecting that page and turn it into a simple yet effective communication channel with our Nightly users where they can get news about what’s new in the Nightly world.
Unlike the old page we had, this new updated version is integrated correctly into mozilla.org framework (bedrock) which means that we inherit from the nice templates they create and have a workflow which allows localization of that page (see the French and Japanese version of the page) and we might even be able to provide conditional content based on geolocation in the future.
We have created this page with the objective of increasing participation and communication with our core technical users and we intend to update it periodically and make it useful not only to Mozilla with calls to feedback and testing of recently landed features but also to Nightly users (how about having a monthly power-user tip there for example?).
If you have ideas on what information could be part of this What’s New page, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the blog or to reach out to me directly (pascal At mozilla Dot com)!
Many thanks to Kohei for his great work on the design and the quality of his code. Thanks to the rest of the Release Management team and in particular to Liz Henry and Marcia Knous for helping fix my English! Many thanks to the mozilla.org webdev team for helping with reviews and suggesting nice visual tricks such as the responsive multi-column layout and improved typography tips for readability. Finally, thanks to the localizers that took the time to translate that page in a couple of days before we shipped it even though the expected audience is very small!
We were asked via our @FirefoxNightly Twitter account if we could provide the nice background on the What’s New page as a wallpaper for desktop. Instead of providing the file, I am showing you in the following video tutorial how you can do it by yourself with Firefox Nightly Developer Tools, enjoy hacking with your browser and the Web, that’s what Nightly is for!