Introducing Firefox

When we started Cleanfeed, web-based audio was very much in its infancy. As early adopters we had to focus on very limited browsers to provide a reliable Cleanfeed experience while they matured. A lot has changed in those years, so it’s time to spread our wings a little: starting right now, a guest can join with Firefox!

Inviting a guest using Firefox

It’s easy. Just invite the guest in the usual way, either via email or a link. Clicking the link normally opens the default browser on PC, Mac or Linux; and if that browser is Firefox you’ll now be taken straight through!

As before, if someone joins with an unsupported browser, they’ll be directed to use one of the supported ones.

Is it beta?

No. The ‘beta’ introduction screen (like we do with iPhone) can be a little disorientating for guests, so we want to do that sparingly. Firefox has, for a while, had greater audio support than Safari on iOS, and that means things progressed much more quickly to the point where we were happier with them for all the guest functionality.

What you will need is a recent version of Firefox; as of today that means version 85 or 86.

What about running a studio in Firefox?

We’re considering this a completely separate thing, so today’s announcment is independent of supporting Firefox on the studio side. Though it probably won’t suprise you that we hope this can be a stepping stone in that direction. The studio side of Cleanfeed is more complex, with some quite sophisticated audio routing and data handling.

So, right now, Firefox continued to be available for studios on a “best efforts” basis. That means you can close the warning, and continue. But we just don’t do the level of certification and testing that we do with Chrome. If you find problems when using Firefox as your studio then we’d like to know, but we might ask you to switch to the Chrome browser if you are experiencing problems.

Why is Firefox important?

One of the cornerstones of the web has been open standards; you should be able to use your chosen software to use the web, not one particular browser by one browser vendor. It was very reluctantly that the early Cleanfeed was “Chrome only”, but at the time it simply couldn’t have existed otherwise.

These days, taking steps to embrace Firefox where we can is a commercial decision for us, but not in the way you might expect.

For a long time it’s been possible to use the open source “Chromium” browser with Cleanfeed and, in fact, we use that for a lot of our development. This may satisfy the open source enthusiasts, but only goes some way towards the solution.

A standard is only truly a standard when there are multiple, independent implementations of it. Chromium is the core of the Google Chrome browser (and others). It is, in a sense, the same browser.

Right now Firefox is used by fewer than 10% of Cleanfeed guests. That number is low and, whilst hope it will grow, Firefox serves a greater significance than just a percentage suggests. We depend highly on both WebAudio and WebRTC standards, both of which are strenghthened by the existence of Firefox, and significant contributions of the Firefox developers to the overall community that we’re a part of.

As we broaden our interest in different browsers, tell us which ones you’d like to see.