Add-ons Update – Week of 2014/06/23

Jorge Villalobos

4

I post these updates every 3 weeks to inform add-on developers about the status of the review queues, add-on compatibility, and other happenings in the add-ons world.

The Review Queues

  • Most nominations for full review are taking less than 6 weeks to review.
  • 165 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most updates are being reviewed within 3 weeks.
  • 96 updates in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 3 weeks.
  • 136 preliminary review submissions in the queue awaiting review.

If you’re an add-on developer and would like to see add-ons reviewed faster, please consider joining us. Add-on reviewers get invited to Mozilla events and earn cool gear with their work. Visit our wiki page for more information.

Firefox 29 Compatibility

This is a big one. The Firefox 29 compatibility update is here, and there are some additional posts explaining some of what’s new:

As usual we recommend using the Aurora and Beta branches to test your add-ons ahead of time.

Firefox 30 Compatibility

The Firefox 30 compatibility update is here. The automatic compatibility validations were run before the release.

How to develop a Firefox extension

Jorge Villalobos

26

It’s been a while since we published a guide on extension development in this blog, and we recently discovered that many of you are hitting a very old blog post about it. There’s plenty of documentation out there, but it can be hard to find, so here’s an overview of what you need to know about extension development.

As with everything Mozilla, the first place you should look for developer documentation is the Mozilla Developer Network. There’s an add-ons section there where you will find everything you need to know about how to develop Firefox extensions, as well as other add-on types.

There are a couple different ways to go about creating an extension for Firefox, so I covered each in the sections below.

Add-ons SDK extensions

The Add-ons SDK is a set of simple APIs you can use to quickly build good Firefox extensions. It’s what we recommend for new developers. It should be easy to work with, especially if you’re familiar with Google Chrome extensions or userscripts. It abstracts away most of the XUL / XPCOM infractrusture in Firefox, giving you a more familiar HTML and JS environment to work with.

The current approach to building an SDK extension is to download and set up the SDK, code locally,  then package your extension (an XPI file) using the cfx tool included with the SDK. The SDK team is working on making this process much easier by integrating it into Firefox developer tools. Soon you’ll be able to build your extensions very quickly, right from Firefox.

You can learn more about the SDK and get help here:

Bootstrapped extensions

Bootstrapped extensions don’t require a restart to be installed, like SDK extensions, but they don’t have the easy access to SDK APIs or sandboxing. You’re basically doing everything manually, like tracking windows to add or remove your UI. However, there are various great tools available to you via existing JavaScript Modules, like CustomizableUI.jsm for toolbar UI and Services.jsm for frequently used Firefox components.

Compared to the old way of making extensions (see Overlay extensions below), the only notable loss are overlays. Bootstrapped extensions have the bootstrap.js file instead, which is what serves as the starting point for your code. Otherwise, everything should be familiar to you: install.rdf, chrome.manifest and code files, all packed in a ZIP file with a .xpi extension.

Other than Bootstrapped extensions on MDN and the pages they link to, all the available developer resources are the same for overlay extensions (see below).

Firefox for Android extensions

Extensions in Firefox for Android are slightly different. Since the UI is native instead of XUL, the way extensions can modify it is different and a bit more limited. This also means overlay extensions are not supported, so your options are the SDK and bootstrapped extensions.

Since mobile applications have very limited screen real estate, browsers need to maximize the content area, meaning extensions can’t add buttons or toolbars to the browser. However, the Firefox for Android team recently developed the Firefox Hub API that lets extensions add their content to the home page. This is a smart place to put your extension UI if you need it.

You can learn more about Firefox for Android extensions and get help here:

Overlay extensions

Overlay extensions are the old way of making add-ons. It might still make sense for you to use this approach if you need to create a very complex overlay or have other specific needs. However, having to restart Firefox to install this kind of extension is annoying because it breaks the user’s workflow, so you should definitely consider using the SDK or bootstrapped extensions first.

You can get help about extension development in general here:

June Featured Add-ons

Amy Tsay

Pick of the Month: Download Status Bar

Download Status Bar manages every aspect of your downloads (Launch, Show, Scan, Rename, Checksum, Pause, Resume, Cancel, Clean, Delete), generates statistics from your download actions, keeps a record of your downloads, and much more.

Thanks a lot for this excellent add-on. I especially love the feature of setting an audio file for notification after all downloads are completed.”

Get Download Status Bar »

Also Featured

Greasemonkey
Customize the way a web page displays or behaves, by using small bits of JavaScript. Get it now »

YouTube ALL HTML5
Play all videos on youtube without flash in your preferred size using only HTML5. Get it now »

Nominate your favorite add-ons!

Featured add-ons are selected by a community board made up of add-on developers, users, and fans. Board members change every six months, so there’s always an opportunity to participate. If you’d like to join, keep an eye on this blog for the next application cycle.

If you’d like to nominate an add-on for featuring, please send it to amo-featured@mozilla.org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

Add-ons Update – Week of 2014/05/28

Jorge Villalobos

5

I post these updates every 3 weeks to inform add-on developers about the status of the review queues, add-on compatibility, and other happenings in the add-ons world.

The Review Queues

  • Most nominations for full review are taking less than 4 weeks to review.
  • 120 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most updates are being reviewed within 2 weeks.
  • 90 updates in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 2 weeks.
  • 92 preliminary review submissions in the queue awaiting review.

If you’re an add-on developer and would like to see add-ons reviewed faster, please consider joining us. Add-on reviewers get invited to Mozilla events and earn cool gear with their work. Visit our wiki page for more information.

Firefox 29 Compatibility

This is a big one. The Firefox 29 compatibility update is here, and there are some additional posts explaining some of what’s new:

As usual we recommend using the Aurora and Beta branches to test your add-ons ahead of time.

Firefox 30 Compatibility

The Firefox 30 compatibility update is here. The automatic compatibility validations will be run shortly, so if you have an add-on that is marked as compatible with Firefox up to version 29.*, expect some messaging from us soon.

Add-on Compatibility for Firefox 30

Jorge Villalobos

10

Firefox 30 will be released on June 10th. Here’s the list of changes that went into this version that can affect add-on compatibility. There is more information available in Firefox 30 for Developers, so you should read that too.

General

XPCOM

Plugins

  • Implement plugin whitelist. This shouldn’t have an effect for extensions in general, but it’s worth pointing out. As it was announced a while ago, most plugins will require action from the user’s side in order to be activated, and developers have the option to request being added to the plugin whitelist. Major plugins like Adobe Flash are already whitelisted. If you use plugins as part of your add-on, we strongly recommend that you move to other alternatives as soon as possible.

SDK

New!

These aren’t really new developer features, but they’re a couple of bug fixed that don’t break compatibility and you might find useful.

Please let me know in the comments if there’s anything missing or incorrect on these lists. If your add-on breaks on Firefox 30, I’d like to know.

The automatic compatibility validation and upgrade for add-ons on AMO will happen soon, so keep an eye on your email if you have an add-on listed on our site with its compatibility set to Firefox 29.

Add-ons for Australis Contest Winners

Amy Tsay

28

The results are in for the Add-ons for Australis contest. The judges have selected the add-on entries that best capture Firefox 29′s new design and customization features, so check them out for yourselves! Congratulations to the winners!

Best Overall

1st Place – The Fox, Only Better

by quicksaver
Maximizes browser viewing space while keeping it user-friendly.

Absolutely magnificent. This add-on works like a charm and will not only give you back maximum browser screen space, it does it in very cool style.

2nd Place – Classic Theme Restorer

by Aris
Restore squared tabs, appmenu, add-ons bar, small button view and more in Firefox 29.

3rd Place – Profilist

by Noitidart
Inlays a simple and quick access profile manager into the new panel-based main menu. Designed for the Australis update to Firefox.

Best Bookmark

1st Place – QuickMark

by Martijn
QuickMark provides a lightning-fast way for creating bookmarks and keeping them organized. Create and place them in a folder in one mouse sweep or use the shortcuts so your hands won’t need to leave the keyboard.

I do a lot of Internet research reviewing and returning to specific web pages under changing topics – often bookmarking 20 out of 200 pages. I’ve gotten so tired of the normal process of getting to the bookmark dialog. Thank you so much for this simple, elegant and quick bookmarking tool.

2nd Place – Feed Sidebar

by Chris
The Feed Sidebar is an extension for Firefox that displays the items from your Live Bookmarks in the sidebar.

3rd Place – What about:

by petzichen
Type in “What about:” in your awesome bar to see a list of “About:” Firefox URLs.

Best Complete Theme

1st Place – Noia Fox

by David
An old favorite, completely updated for Firefox 29.

I use multiple Firefox profiles to organize my work as a coder. David Vincent’s Noia Fox theme + Noia Fox options is an integral part of that setup: I can skin each profile with a different persona while keeping the same basic look and feel.

2nd Place – MX3

by dkgo
Compact and elegant theme for Firefox 29.

3rd Place – Walnut for Firefox

by Alfred
Walnut for a wooden look and feel. Walnut is a complete skin redesign so that all windows, widgets, panels, and many extensions have a wooden look and feel.

Add-ons Update – Week of 2014/05/09

Jorge Villalobos

4

I post these updates every 3 weeks to inform add-on developers about the status of the review queues, add-on compatibility, and other happenings in the add-ons world.

The Review Queues

  • Most nominations for full review are taking less than 4 weeks to review.
  • 91 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most updates are being reviewed within 1 week.
  • 62 updates in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 10 days.
  • 73 preliminary review submissions in the queue awaiting review.

If you’re an add-on developer and would like to see add-ons reviewed faster, please consider joining us. Add-on reviewers get invited to Mozilla events and earn cool gear with their work. Visit our wiki page for more information.

Firefox 29 Compatibility (Australis!)

This is a big one. The Firefox 29 compatibility update is here, and there are some additional posts explaining some of what’s new:

As usual we recommend using the Aurora and Beta branches to test your add-ons ahead of time.

Contest

The Add-ons for Australis contest went very well, and we already chose the winners! Expect the announcement on this blog early next week.

May Featured Add-ons

Amy Tsay

Pick of the Month: Easy Copy

Copy page details such as its title, URL and HTML source with one click and paste it anywhere, such as emails, blogs and forums. Copy a single page, all open tabs or all links on a page. Format text as plain text or HTML.

This is an excellent add-on, bringing in unlimited possibilities. It can be used for all sorts of clippings, and it brings value to other add-ons in the Firefox universe. For instance you can select some text and save it as a Zotero or Scrapbook note, all source info retained without the need to save the entire page.”

Get Easy Copy »

Also Featured

Lightweight Themes Manager
Manage your installed personas (lightweight themes). Get it now »

CookieKeeper
Extended Cookie Manager—keep only wanted cookies. Get it now »

Ecosia – The search engine that plants trees!
Ecosia is a search engine that donates 80% of its income to a tree-planting program in Brazil. By searching with Ecosia, you can help the environment for free. Get it now »

Nominate your favorite add-ons!

Featured add-ons are selected by a community board made up of add-on developers, users, and fans. Board members change every six months, so there’s always an opportunity to participate. If you’re interested, please apply by Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 23:59 PDT. More details >

If you’d like to nominate an add-on for featuring, please send it to amo-featured@mozilla.org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

Apply to be on the next Featured Add-ons Board

Amy Tsay

1

It’s time to choose new members for the featured add-ons board! Board members are responsible for deciding which add-ons are featured on AMO in the next six months. Downloads of featured add-ons grow exponentially in the months they are featured, so your participation really makes an impact. Also, featured add-ons help users discover what’s new and useful.

Anyone from the add-ons community is welcome to apply: power users, theme designers, developers, and evangelists. Priority will be given to applicants who have not served on the board before, followed by those from previous boards, and finally from the outgoing board. This page provides more information on the duties of a board member.

To be considered, please email us at amo-featured@mozilla.org with your name, and tell us how you’re involved with AMO. The deadline is Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 23:59 PDT. The new board will be announced about a week after.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Add-ons Update – Week of 2014/04/16

Jorge Villalobos

12

I post these updates every 3 weeks to inform add-on developers about the status of the review queues, add-on compatibility, and other happenings in the add-ons world.

The Review Queues

  • Most nominations for full review are taking less than 3 weeks to review.
  • 148 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most updates are being reviewed within 2 weeks.
  • 118 updates in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 2 weeks.
  • 142 preliminary review submissions in the queue awaiting review.

If you’re an add-on developer and would like to see add-ons reviewed faster, please consider joining us. Add-on reviewers get invited to Mozilla events and earn cool gear with their work. Visit our wiki page for more information.

Firefox 29 Compatibility (Australis!)

This is a big one. The Firefox 29 compatibility update is here, and there are some additional posts explaining some of what’s new:

As usual we recommend using the Aurora and Beta branches to test your add-ons ahead of time.

The Add-ons for Australis contest is now closed, and we have begun the judging phase. We will announce the winners on this blog in a couple of weeks. Good luck!