Mozilla engineers are preparing to remove one of the Firefox browser's oldest features —its built-in support for RSS and Atom feeds, and inherently, the "Live Bookmarks" feature.
All Firefox users are probably well accustomed to this feature, albeit not many have ever used it.
This feature powers the browser's ability to detect when users are accessing an RSS/Atom feed and then show a special page that lets them subscribe to the feed with a custom feed reader or the browser's built-in "Live Bookmarks" feature.
All Live Bookmarks are also stored in the browser's Bookmarks section and can be added to the Bookmarks Toolbar (like in the image below).
They work by showing the latest ten articles published on a site's RSS/Atom feed and letting the user access them with a click.
But in a recent discussion on the company's bug tracker, Mozilla engineers said they plan to remove feed support sometime later this year, with the release of Firefox 63 or Firefox 64 —scheduled for October and December, respectively.
"After careful consideration of various options (which also included doing nothing, or investing heavily in updating the code), we've decided to go ahead and remove builtin feed support from Firefox," said Gijs Kruitbosch, an engineer on the Firefox browser.
The Mozilla team is already set in its decision and has even drafted a blog post for the official announcement. In this unpublished document, engineers share more of the reasons that led to the decision to remove Firefox's built-in feed support and Live Bookmarks utility.
"These features had an outsized maintenance and security impact relative to their usage," the draft announcement said. "Making these features as well-tested, modern and secure as the rest of Firefox would have cost significant time and effort, and the usage of these features doesn’t justify such an investment.
Mozilla says that when it will remove feed support and Live Bookmarks from Firefox, the browser will export the user's RSS/Atom feeds as an OPML file that users can later import into a specialized desktop or web-based feed reader.
Firefox engineers didn't volunteer to port the Live Bookmarks feature as a WebExtension-compatible add-on, but don't be surprised if the Firefox community does this instead.