Update on Extension Signing and New Developer Agreement

Jorge Villalobos

5

If you have an active extension listing on AMO you probably got a message from us already, explaining how we will automatically sign your add-on and provide it to your users via automatic updates. The automatic signing process will run this week, in batches, and we will notify you when your add-on is signed. Please take some time to test the signed version in the current release version of Firefox and either Developer Edition or Nightly (where Firefox already warns about unsigned extensions).

If you’re unfamiliar with extension signing, please read the original announcement for context.

Next week, we will activate two new features on AMO: signing of new add-on versions after they are reviewed, and add-on submission for developers who wish to have their add-ons signed but don’t want them listed on AMO. We will post another update once this happens. When this is done, all extension developers will be able to have their extensions signed, with enough time to update their users before signing becomes a requirement in release versions of Firefox.

New Developer Agreement

Since we will be signing add-ons that won’t be listed on AMO, we have updated the Add-on Distribution Developer Agreement to cover the new ways in which we will handle add-ons. This document hadn’t been touched for years, so we took our time and significantly updated its contents to reflect how we do things now. Hopefully it is also easier to read than its previous version.

Note that the new agreement will go into effect on June 1st. The version that is displayed on AMO when you submit a new add-on will be updated then, and all active developers on AMO will be notified about it.

If you want to stay up to date with changes related to extension signing, you can follow this blog or check in regularly to the wiki page, where I update the timeline information as it becomes clearer.

Add-ons Update – Week of 2015/05/20

Jorge Villalobos

0

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 10 weeks to review.
  • 194 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most updates are being reviewed within 6 weeks.
  • 112 updates in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 9 weeks.
  • 222 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 38 Compatibility

The Firefox 38 compatibility blog post is up. The automatic AMO validation was already run. There’s a second blog post covering the upcoming 38.0.5 release and in-content preferences, which were an oversight in the first post.

Firefox 39 Compatibility

The Firefox 39 compatibility blog post is up. I don’t know when the compatibility validation will be run yet.

As always, we recommend that you test your add-ons on Beta and Firefox Developer Edition (formerly known as Aurora) to make sure that they continue to work correctly. End users can install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter to identify and report any add-ons that aren’t working anymore.

Extension Signing

We announced that we will require extensions to be signed in order for them to continue to work in release and beta versions of Firefox. A followup post was published recently, addressing some of the reasons behind this initiative.

A couple notable things are happening related to signing:

  • Signing will be enabled for AMO-listed add-ons. This means that new versions will be automatically signed, and the latest versions of all listed add-ons will also be signed. Expect this to happen within a week or so (developers will be emailed when this happens). Signing for unlisted (non-AMO) add-ons is still not enabled.
  • The signature verification code is now active on Developer Edition, in case you want to try it out with unsigned extensions. The preference is set to warn about unsigned extensions, but still accept and install them. You can use Developer Edition to test your extensions after we let you know they’ve been signed.
  • A new Developer Agreement will be published on AMO. This is a significant update over the current years-old agreement, covering signing, listed and unlisted add-ons, themes, and other developments that have happened since. Developers will be notified when the new agreement is up.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis, also known as e10s, is the next major compatibility change coming to Firefox. In a nutshell, Firefox will run on multiple processes now, running each content tab in a different one. This should improve responsiveness and overall stability, but it also means many add-ons will need to be updated to support this.

We will be talking more about these changes in this blog in the future. For now we recommend you start looking at the available documentation.

Compatibility update: Firefox 38 and 38.0.5

Jorge Villalobos

7

Following up on my previous post on Firefox 38 compatibility, I wanted to highlight an important change that I missed: in-content preferences. The preferences window is no more, and instead the main preferences UI is shown in a new tab. This only affects add-ons that overlay the preferences window, which should be rare.

Additionally, there’s an out-of-cycle release planned for June 2nd, which will go with version number 38.0.5. This is 38 with a few additions, which you can see in the release notes. These additions shouldn’t conflict with extensions compatible with 38, but it could conflict with complete themes. The new release is now available in the beta channel, so we recommend you test your add-ons on that version.

Add-on Compatibility for Firefox 39

Jorge Villalobos

4

Firefox 39 will be released on June 30th. Here’s the list of changes that went into this version that can affect add-on compatibility. There is more information available in Firefox 39 for Developers, so you should also give it a look.

General

XPCOM

New!

Please let me know in the comments if there’s anything missing or incorrect on these lists. If your add-on breaks on Firefox 39, I’d like to know.

The automatic compatibility validation and upgrade for add-ons on AMO will happen in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on your email if you have an add-on listed on our site with its compatibility set to Firefox 38.

Friend of AMO: Zitronella

Andreas Wagner

1

Congratulations to Astrid (Zitronella), our newest friend of AMO! Astrid dedicates her spare time to supporting German-speaking Firefox users in forums and chat rooms. She also helps to keep Firefox safe by finding and reporting potentially unsafe add-ons and bringing them to the attention of the AMO team.

“I have been contributing to Mozilla since 2010. Taking each and every one seriously, and providing support within computer literacy beyond the project is very important to me. Having the community at my back, exchanging experiences and working with them means a lot to me and is a huge enrichment.”

Thank you, Astrid! We’re glad to have you!

Thanks also to everyone who contributed to Marketplace and AMO last month–your contributions are reallly appreciated.

The new contribution wiki for May is now available. Please check it for projects that might interest you, and to report any of your contributions.

Dropping support for binary components in extensions

Jorge Villalobos

10

Starting with Firefox 40, scheduled to be released in August this year, binary XPCOM support for extensions will be dropped.

Binary XPCOM is an old and fairly unstable technology that a small number of add-on developers have used to integrate binary libraries into their add-ons, sometimes to tap into Firefox internals (hence the unstable part). Better technologies have become available to replace binary XPCOM and we have encouraged developers to switch to them. From the original post:

Extension authors that need to use native binaries are encouraged to do
so using the addon SDK “system/child_process” pipe mechanism:
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/SDK/Low-Level_APIs/system_child_process

If this is not sufficient, JS-ctypes may be an alternative mechanism to
use shared libraries, but this API is much more fragile and it’s easy to
write unsafe code.

Developers who rely on binary XPCOM should update their code as soon as possible to prevent compatibility issues. If you have any questions or comments about this move, please do so in the mozilla.dev.extensions newsgroup.

May 2015 Featured Add-ons

Amy Tsay

4

Pick of the Month: Save Text To File

by Robert Byrne

Save highlighted text to a file in the directory of your choice.

“One of a kind, save snippets as you surf with a single click including URL. Most important — excellent support.”

Featured: Adblock Plus Pop-up Addon

by Jesse Hakanen
Adblock Plus Pop-up Addon extends the blocking functionality of Adblock Plus to those annoying pop-up windows that open on mouse clicks and other user actions.

Featured: gTranslate

by Pau Tomàs, Pierre Bertet, Éric Lemoine
With gTranslate, you can translate any text in a webpage just by selecting and right-clicking over it. The extension uses the Google translation services to translate the text.

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. The deadline to apply for the next community board is May 10, 2015!

Each quarter, the board also selects a featured complete theme and featured mobile add-on.

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.

Join the Featured Add-ons Community Board

Amy Tsay

1

Want to have a voice in which add-ons are featured on addons.mozilla.org (AMO)? If so, we invite you to apply for the featured add-ons board. Board members are responsible for deciding which add-ons are featured on AMO in the next six months. Featured add-ons help users discover what’s new and useful, and downloads increase drastically in the months they are featured, so your participation really makes an impact!

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 Sunday, May 10, 2015 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 2015/04/29

Jorge Villalobos

3

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 9 weeks to review.
  • 126 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most updates are being reviewed within 6 weeks.
  • 48 updates in the queue awaiting review.
  • Most preliminary reviews are being reviewed within 9 weeks.
  • 127 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 38 Compatibility

The Firefox 38 compatibility blog post is up. The automatic AMO validation will be run soon.

Expect a compatibility post soon about a special 38.0.5 Firefox release that will follow 38.0. I don’t think this will break any extensions, but it might affect themes and it’s a heads up so you can test on beta in advance of the release.

Firefox 39 Compatibility

I expect to publish the Firefox 39 compatibility blog post this week.

As always, we recommend that you test your add-ons on Beta and Firefox Developer Edition (formerly known as Aurora) to make sure that they continue to work correctly. End users can install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter to identify and report any add-ons that aren’t working anymore.

Extension Signing

We announced that we will require extensions to be signed in order for them to continue to work in release and beta versions of Firefox. If you’re an extension developer, please read the post and participate in the discussions. A followup post was published recently, addressing some of the reasons behind this initiative.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis, also known as e10s, is the next major compatibility change coming to Firefox. In a nutshell, Firefox will run on multiple processes now, running each content tab in a different one. This should improve responsiveness and overall stability, but it also means many add-ons will need to be updated to support this.

We will be talking more about these changes in this blog in the future. For now we recommend you start looking at the available documentation.