Coming Up for AMO

Justin Scott

7

We launched Collections in June, Contributions in July, and the response to both has been amazing. What’s next for AMO? Here are some summaries of our upcoming projects.

Collections Phase II

Screenshot of recommended add-ons boxWe’ve had over 27,000 collections created and 6.5 million add-on downloads from those collections since the launch on June 10. We want to add a number of new collection features to the website and Add-on Collector extension, including:

  • collection ratings
  • statistics dashboard for collection creators
  • add-on recommendations based on collection data
  • recently viewed collections
  • Thunderbird & Fennec support for the Add-on Collector

Check out this spec for all the details planned for this second phase. If you have feedback on this, please post it in this newsgroup thread. The website features above are included in AMO 5.0.9, which should be released at the end of next week.

Add-on Developer Hub

Developer Hub Homepage Mock-upIn May, we posted about our plans for a new one-stop-shop for add-on developers. Whether you’re someone new to Firefox and not sure if you want to write an extension, a long-time developer looking to stay up-to-date on add-on news and documentation, or an add-on author wanting to update your AMO listings, the Add-on Developer Hub at AMO will be the place to go.

Among the features of the new developer area are:

  • add-on case studies
  • AMO policies
  • how-to library/portal
  • API/Language reference links
  • add-on builder (extension skeletons with working UI components)
  • add-on validator

You can see some mock-ups of what the new site will look like here, or view the spec for all the details. Please post any feedback in this newsgroup thread. We’re planning this for AMO 5.1, which should be released in late September.

Disclosure of Add-on Practices

Disclosure of Add-on Practices checkboxesMany add-on authors, individuals and companies alike, invest large amounts of time and effort into their add-ons, and wish to be compensated for their work. Although we have launched the Contributions feature for authors to accept donations from users, some authors have partnered with companies to support the continued development of their add-on in exchange for the add-on making certain changes to Firefox. We enacted a No Surprises policy in an effort to protect user choice, but unfortunately continue to find surprises.

We feel it is necessary for users to know about certain add-on practices that an add-on employs prior to installation. These practices must be disclosed in a clear and consistent way across AMO. Our plan for this is described in this spec. Please post any feedback in this newsgroup thread.

Add-on Compatibility Reporter

Compatibility Reporter Mock-upNew versions of Firefox are always in the works, and the lead-up to a final release can be hectic for both add-on developers and the AMO team as we try to encourage everyone to test and update their add-ons in the new version. We’ve come up with an idea for an Add-on Compatibility Reporter extension that would be bundled with alpha and beta builds of Firefox and facilitate add-on testing and reporting.

If you have add-ons installed that don’t work, you can report that to AMO. If you have incompatible add-ons installed that work fine, you can report that to us too. We’ll look at all the submitted reports and email developers when we think we know whether the add-on is compatible with that Firefox version, or if it’s not compatible and what problems users are having.

For all the details, you can read the spec. If you have feedback, please post in this newsgroup thread.

As you can see, we have a lot going on, including several projects not mentioned here. Stay tuned to the newsgroup and this blog for the latest on add-ons.

7 responses

  1. Ken Saunders wrote on ::

    Collections Phase II
    “Thunderbird & Fennec support for the Add-on Collector” – Awesome!

    Add-on Developer Hub
    “Add-on Builder – A tool to generate skeletons for extensions” – Well that’s cool
    “Code Search” – Also cool

    Disclosure of Add-on Practices – AMEN!

    Add-on Compatibility Reporter – Have I said cool yet? Ok, how ’bout awesome? I did? Ok, awesomely cool?
    The chances would be pretty good that an alpha or beta Firefox user would actually take the time to add details to the “field to describe the problems” of an add-on considering that they’re helping to test out software to begin with.

    Great work on all! I can’t wait to see everything come together.
    But I guess that I’m going to have to aren’t I? :|

  2. Standard8 wrote on ::

    How about a version update mailing list or something? e.g. TB 3.xb4 has now been added to the compatibility flags – time to update your extensions.

    Or maybe an auto-update facility for some things – mainly dictionaries – “this dictionary is compatible with all versions of gecko until someone changes the API. Auto-update the compatibility flag for me and email me when the API update is broken”.

  3. Michael Kaply wrote on ::

    > We enacted a No Surprises policy in an effort to protect user choice, but unfortunately continue to find surprises.

    No you didn’t. You posted to a blog and said, and I quote:

    “The text of our proposal is below.”

    A proposal is not a policy. There was never another post indicated that the proposal was now policy.

    Where is this document that has AMO policies?

  4. Goolic wrote on :

    Why haven’t you guys talked at all about making an add-on store??? Sure i like my free add-ons but i’m certain that there would be some seriously wicked for-pay addons:)

    Not to say that the current free model haven’t put out some incredible works but i’m incredible curious on the range and quality off the paid addons would have to put so they can compete with free or ad-sponsored

  5. Ken Saunders wrote on ::

    Ever hear of Windows Marketplace?

    PLEASE DON’T EVER CREATE AN ADD-ONS STORE!!!!!

    I’m fine with developers offering pro versions of their add-ons as long as they make it clear and the ones on AMO are NOT demos and/or have disabled functionality, but I don’t want to see AMO or Mozilla ever take that road.

    The most popular add-on for Firefox is free, and from what I’ve read, will remain so despite the developer getting offers to write it for other another browser. He could make bucket loads of cash doing so, but has chosen not to as have the majority of add-on developers.

    They always have the choice of writing add-ons to be sold on Windows Marketplace.

  6. Archaeopteryx wrote on :

    Sound very promising except the Add-on Compatibility Reporter. Users usually will not check if the whole add-on works as expected and immediately label it as compatible after they checked the first feature of it (or even only if the UI is present).

  7. avih wrote on ::

    This is nice and all (no complaints) BUT, in practice there are more urgent issues, i.e.:

    1. I know my extension (SmoothWheel v0.44.18) doesn’t work with the trunk builds. This is due to a change that causes Firefox to reject chrome registrations the “old” way (contents.rdf) and only accepts the “new” way (chrome.manifest). Firefox (trunk) behaves badly in such cases by installing the extension but it locks up when trying to invoke the extensions GUI. So I quickly “fix” my extension, test it for few days and upload it to AMO.

    Now I wait. Almost a month already. For a minor bug fix to be approved. For a relatively high profile extension (rated top 10, downloaded top 5%). And no word from anyone even when I ask. So what does it help if we (developers) get all this info but new versions are just stuck at the queue?

    Which brings me to:

    1. We (developers) need a way to know the position of our extensions in the approval queue. I know it isn’t linear or too consistent but there must be SOMETHING that will give us some indication about where it currently stands. If it’s completely unorganized then this should be fixed. Set “buckets” of status, and a position or other indication within each such bucket.