Home Mobile News Developers of Firefox Focus set to replace Android’s WebView with GeckoView

Developers of Firefox Focus set to replace Android’s WebView with GeckoView

2 min read

Yesterday, Mozilla announced that they will be releasing a new version of Firefox Focus for Android next week. This version will be powered by Gecko, which is a browser engine developed by Mozilla and is also used in Firefox Quantum.

Firefox Focus enables you to stay “focused” by automatically blocking ads and trackers. Once you are done browsing, you can delete your search history completely using its erase button. It provides a faster browsing experience and you do not have to worry about the retargeted ads.

Why Firefox Focus needs Gecko?

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Since the beginning, Focus has been using Android’s built-in WebView, but it has some limitations. WebView is not designed for building browsers. It only supports a subset of web standards, as Google expects developers to use native Android APIs, and not the Web, for advanced standards.

To add next-generation privacy features to Focus, its developers require deep access to the browser internals. This is why, they decided to use their own engine, Gecko. Firefox for Android already uses Gecko, but not in a way that’s easy to reuse in other applications.

To make Gecko reusable they built GeckoView. To allow the use of GeckoView in other applications, the developers have decoupled the engine from its user interface and packaged it as a reusable Android library.

In a nutshell, GeckoView will help them leverage all of their Firefox expertise in building more compelling, safe, and robust online experiences.

They are also planning to use GeckoView in entirely new products like Firefox Reality, a browser designed for virtual and augmented reality headsets. You will hear more about Firefox Reality later this year promises the Mozilla blog.

You can currently download Focus Beta and report issues, if any. If you are an Android developer, you can give this library a try or directly contribute on GitHub.

To read more about GeckoView, check out the announcement on Mozilla’s official website.

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