Hello, add-on developers!

Justin Scott

9

In our recent developer survey, one of the largest pain points identified by respondents was a lack of documentation and resources for extension developers. A contributing factor to this problem is that much of the available documentation and tutorials are spread across the Internet and that there’s no easy way to start developing an add-on from the add-ons website. Here’s our plan to change that.

developer.amo will be a site dedicated to add-on developers, rich with documentation, tutorials, and community involvement. With this site, we hope to:

  • Give new developers a starting point for creating an add-on
  • Give existing developers a place to stay up-to-date on add-on development news, plans, and features
  • Make development easier with documentation, tutorials, and examples all in one place
  • Build a community of add-on developers to promote an exchange of ideas

From this one site, it should be possible for someone brand new to Mozilla add-on development to:

  • find out why they would want to build a Firefox extension by reading case studies
  • see examples of how add-ons work
  • learn how to make a basic extension, and how to build that extension out into what they want
  • get support when they have questions
  • upload their add-on to AMO and have it accepted the first time (because policies will be readily accessible and easy to understand)

We’ve come up with an initial featureset we think will go a long way towards improving the developer experience, but would like input from the community before we get started. You can see our list of initial ideas on our wiki.

If you have thoughts on these features or other ideas, please let us know on the AMO newsgroup.

Edit: There seems to be some confusion about the relationship of this proposed site to MDC. As described in the wiki page above, there will be no new documentation hosted on this site. Rather, it will aggregate/link to existing documentation available on MDC and other resources. Any new documentation written as part of this site will still be hosted on MDC. developer.AMO will serve as a portal between AMO and add-on documentation, of which many articles are available on MDC.

9 responses

  1. Robert Kaiser wrote on ::

    Why add another disconnected documentation site while everyone else is trying to use MDC as much as possible (where BTW all the interfaces etc. that add-on devs need are already described)?

  2. Sevenspade wrote on :

    I just came here from planet.mozilla.org to say something similar. Please do not do this. Devmo is exactly where this type of thing should be taking place, and encouraging the fragmentation of the already small group of those with the attributes necessary to generate this kind of content is detrimental.

  3. Reinis I. wrote on ::

    Indeed, what is wrong with using devmo? I see the disconnect as well: first you say that fragmented docs are a problem, and then you suggest adding a new site to the mix. Is this a NIH syndrome showing itself? The time required to launch a new site would be much better invested in improving devmo.

  4. eric wrote on :

    Completely agree with Robert Kaiser. This should be a sub-section of MDC, not a new website.

  5. Mossop wrote on ::

    I agree. I can’t see how the response to “much of the available documentation and tutorials are spread across the Internet” is to start adding documentation to a new place on the internet.

    Why don’t we use the time and energy to focus on getting the content you talk about onto MDC pages (it could certainly use the help I’m sure) and then provide good linking through from AMO?

  6. Justin Scott (fligtar) wrote on ::

    @Mossop that’s exactly what we are proposing. As described on the wiki page, there won’t be any documentation hosted on this site — it will all be content that is already on MDC and just aggregated here. Any new documentation as part of this will be written on MDC.

  7. Matt wrote on :

    Glad to see all of the time and attention to the developer survey thusfar.

    When can we expect something done in regards to the timeliness of approving addons by editors. This is a real issue.

  8. Reinis I. wrote on ::

    So it’s going to be a directory? Sorry to be so whiny, but that makes the project make even less sense. The fact that it’s not clearly explained in the article also makes you look confused.

    I think I’m like most people in that I never use directories anymore. It’s an outdated concept. There is Google and there are links in already useful resources. Like devmo, for instance.

  9. Hranto wrote on ::

    Why don’t we use the time and energy to focus on getting the content you talk about onto MDC pages (it could certainly use the help I’m sure) and then provide good linking through from AMO?