Add-on SDK 2013 Roadmap

Jeff Griffiths

During December I worked with the rest of the SDK team as well as other stakeholders to develop a product road-map for the SDK for the next year. This road-map planning is critical as 2013 promises to be a very eventful year for both the Jetpack team and the SDK, and I think a very, very positive one.

The entire road-map is available here on the public Mozilla wiki, but I would also like to take the to briefly highlight three significant points here.

Landing the SDK’s APIs in Firefox

A lot of work went into achieving this goal during 2012 starting with Myk’s Jetpack Features meetings and eventually a major re-factoring the SDK to better fit into the Firefox code-base. As 2013 opens we already have experimental builds available on the larch branch and are working with Release Engineering to ensure that the SDK’s tests behave more like the rest of the Firefox test suite ( and also that we don’t set the tree on fire! ).

The next step is to merge from larch to mozilla-inbound on January 15th, one week from now. The SDK’s APIs will then ride the release trains to be released in May as part of Firefox 21. There are a number of moving parts regarding this move to built-in APIs including add-on re-packs that are detailed on the wiki here.

Amazing UI integration for add-ons

There have been some proposals around for some time to provide better UI integration APIs for add-ons, and in particular I am a huge fan of Stephen Horlanders mock-ups from early last year. We plan to implement an initial cut of this work with some simpler widgets available to start. We also want to ensure that developers are able to either enhance existing widgets or create their own as third-party modules.

Awesome Developer tools for add-on developers

The developer tools now shipped with Firefox are, in a word, splendid, so much so that we are really excited about working with the rest of the developer tools teams to leverage these new capabilities to benefit add-on developers. In particular we think it should be just as easy to debug JS running in your add-on as it currently is to debug a web page. There is a lot of enthusiasm for this idea on the team, but the scope is poorly defined currently. Expect much more detail from me about this once the dust settles and we’ve had some more serious discussions with the rest of the dev tools team.

Aside

I carefully worded the second and third points to not specifically mention the SDK but instead to purposefully target these features ‘for add-ons’ or ‘for add-on developers’. As Dave Townsend declared in his post from last October, “Jetpack makes it easier to develop features for Firefox”. While we will continue to provide packaging tools and other useful bits for people who are used to developing for the SDK, the SDK is no longer a walled garden that add-on developers have to commit to in order to benefit from what we have built.

Got feedback?

As I sometimes do with these posts, I have disabled comments and would like to encourage you instead to join the conversation in this thread in the Jetpack Google Group. Thanks for understanding!