Announcing the Add-on Compatibility Reporter

Justin Scott

20

Weeks before every Firefox release comes a huge effort from Mozilla encouraging add-on developers to make sure their extensions and themes are updated to work with the upcoming version. This often results in a last-minute rush of submissions right when the new version of Firefox and Thunderbird are released.

As an experiment in ways to get users and developers involved with this process sooner, we’ve created the Add-on Compatibility Reporter, an add-on for Firefox and Thunderbird that allows testers to report compatibility information to Mozilla.

After installing the add-on, users will be able to use any incompatible add-ons they have installed and report back to us on whether the add-ons still work like they did in previous versions or are having some issues.

Screenshot of the Add-on Compatibility Reporter

Add-on developers can then browse the reports submitted for their add-ons, even if the add-on isn’t hosted on Mozilla Add-ons. We’ll also be monitoring the report submissions and emailing developers when we have information as to whether their add-on might be compatible or incompatible with an upcoming Firefox release.

So, if you’re an alpha or beta tester of Firefox or Thunderbird and want to help make sure your add-ons are compatible for the final release, grab the Add-on Compatibility Reporter now!

20 responses

  1. Tony Mechelynck wrote on ::

    IMHO this addon deserves being made available for other apps than Firefox (SeaMonkey 2, Thunderbird 3, Sunbird 1, …), the way many others (especially among the best ones) already are: out of the top of my head I’m thinking of stuff like Adblock Plus, MR-Tech Toolkit, DOM Inspector, …

  2. Alexander Limi wrote on ::

    Where’s the “This is Awesome” button? Nice job! :)

  3. Norman wrote on :

    It would be helpful to add-on developers if they had had some way of finding out approximately when the latest version of FF (in this case version 3.6) would become available to the public for download. e.g. via a link on;
    http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/
    I have tried to find this out by trawling the web, but even the most informed sites can only speculate…

    I think the vast majority of the public don’t download the latest version of FF until this happens. So if developers knew (to within a week or two) when this would happen, they could update their add-on’s in time.

  4. Ian M wrote on :

    Does this place nicely with Nightly Tester Tools? Does it work if I’ve already overridden compatibility with that?

  5. Ian M wrote on :

    In reply to my earlier question, it seems that the answer is no :(

    How can I report working addons that I’ve already forced to work with Nightly Tester Tools?

  6. alanjstr wrote on :

    What about Addons that have just not been marked as compatible with a release? For example, if a developer stops supporting something but it is still compatible I currently use the Nightly Tester Tools to override that one. And then after the next regular release, I have to repeat the process. I think it would be good to harness the community’s feedback not just for trunk and test builds, but for the final releases, too.

  7. Mark wrote on :

    How about instead of “This addon no longer works” say “This addon no longer works properly” because sometimes addons will continue to work, but not 100% correctly. It could be confusing to users who don’t know which option to choose and they’ll indicate that it still works giving us an inaccurate read on things.

    So either the above suggestion or add a third options that says “This addon does not work at all”

  8. Brian King wrote on ::

    It would be really useful if the reports were integrated into the developer control panel for each add-on instead of hidden away where you actively have to track them down.

  9. fcp wrote on ::

    This is a good idea! Unfortunately, when I installed the Add-on Compatibility Reporter to Firefox 3.6b1, it only showed the dropdown item saying “This add-on no longer works,” and I could not report that any add-ons were compatible with Firefox 3.6b1. My wild guess is that this was probably because I had already overridden the compatibility by using the Nightly Tester Tools (https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/6543). However, disabling the Nightly Tester Tools did not change the situation.

    As Tony Mechelynck says, it would be great if the same mechanism is provided also for other Mozilla applications. I think that most extensions for Firefox will work with SeaMonkey 2.0 with small modifications (Philip Chee told me that this was really the case for my extension). I can incorporate the necessary modifications in a next version of my extension, but I will probably not mark it as compatible with SeaMonkey because I am lazy and I cannot test my extension with SeaMonkey by myself. If the Add-on Compatibility Reporter is available for SeaMonkey, curious users might try it with SeaMonkey and report the result. That would greatly reduce the burden of testing by a developer.

  10. Justin Scott (fligtar) wrote on ::

    @fcp If the add-on has already been marked as compatible with the version you’re using, the only option is to say it’s not compatible. You only get the “it’s compatible” option if the add-on is marked as incompatible.

    As for other app compatibility, it was tested in Firefox and Thunderbird and is listed as compatible with those apps. I haven’t tested SeaMonkey but we have a number of reports from SeaMonkey so there’s a good chance it works and I’ll update compatibility.

  11. fcp wrote on ::

    Justin, thanks for the reply.

    > If the add-on has already been marked as compatible with the version you’re using,
    No, the add-on has not been marked as compatible with 3.6b1. I had overridden the compatibility by using the Nightly Tester Tools (before installing the Add-on Compatibility Reporter), and I wanted to report that the add-on was working with 3.6b1. I think that this is a common situation for users who have used 3.6a1. However, I do not know if it is possible for the Add-on Compatibility Reporter to detect whether the add-on is really marked as compatible or the compatibility is overridden by the Nightly Tester Tools.

    > we have a number of reports from SeaMonkey so there’s a good chance it works
    Wow, that’s great!

  12. Eckoman wrote on :

    I have a problem with this add-on. I installed it on Firefox 3.5, then upgraded to 3.6b1. After the first launch of 3.6b1 it worked, I could use all add-ons and report if they are compatible or not. After another restart, all add-ons were disabled b/c they are not supporting 3.6b1. I tried to uninstall and reinstall the compatibility reporter add-on but had no luck.

    How do I regain the possibility to run all my add-ons again?

  13. Glen wrote on :

    When I install this on 3.6b1, half of my Add-ons are marked as Incompatible, with Options and Enable greyed-out. There is no way of testing these Add-ons.
    I have uninstalled and re-installed – No difference.

    I have not used Nightly Tester tools or similar, simply a pre-existing 3.5.

  14. Eckoman wrote on :

    Same deal here but obviously no solution. *sigh* :(

  15. Ian M wrote on :

    @glen @eckoman – same here :(

  16. Holly wrote on :

    After upgrading to Fx3.6b3, my addons for previous versions were all disabled, including the ones I had already marked as working in Fx3.6b2. I had used the MRTech extension for some time (but disabled it now). Could it be that MRTech set some pref that keeps the Reporter from enabling addons? Can I do anything to get them working again, short of bumping them manually (which would break the Reporter functionality)?

  17. Brian wrote on :

    It seems to work okay in Fx3.6b3 after a slight adjustment. I had the same problem with it not working, but I was able to fix it. Just follow these few steps:

    0: Upgrade to Fx3.6b3
    1: Open the about:config page
    2: Find the preference “extensions.acr.firstrun”
    3: Change the value from “false” to “true”
    4: Restart Firefox

    After restarting, ACR did whatever magic it does to override compatibility, and wanted a second restart. Do that, and everything should work after.

  18. Eckoman wrote on :

    @Brian:

    THANKS!!! It worked, yay! :)

  19. Michael A. Pasek wrote on :

    Compatibility Reporter doesn’t allow me to use “Incompatible” extensions with Thunderbird 3.1a1pre. For extensions that are “Not compatible with Shredder 3.1a1pre”, the “Enable” button is greyed out. ‘extensions.acr.firstrun’ is already set to ‘true’ in about:config.

    Never having dealt with the “Add-ons” window/preferences before, I’ll also note that the “Preferences” buttons for both working and non-working extensions are also greyed out. It’s possible that this is normal — if, for example, the extension has no preferences (but I’d think the button shouldn’t even be displayed if it doesn’t).

  20. Lee wrote on ::

    Using Nightly Tools Tester with the build listed below, I was able to enable over 36 extensions -or at it least it seems so far. I’ve noticed though Add-on Compatibility Reporter is not allowing me to report what works or/ what doesn’t.

    I’m listing this here as I cannot find a version of NTT for the newest version of Firefox -would be great if this was included in future builds a testing tool.

    Just learning my way though, so I’m probably not doing this right; also just learning how to do the litmus tests.

    ( Build identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.3a3pre) Gecko/20100302 Minefield/3.7a3pre (.NET CLR 3.5.30729) )