Categories: end users releases

Feedback on the recent AMO release

Since the release of AMO 3.2, the AMO Team has been actively reviewing the variety of feedback from my blog, the webdev blog, madhava’s blog, the effervescent MozillaZine Forums and most noteably the reports coming into the AMO component in Bugzilla. Thank you so much for all the input and feedback. It’s refreshing to see so much care and attention being paid to AMO.

Morgamic posted an explanation of the rationale and trade-offs that we were trying to make with the new design. It has been a challenge for us to cater to the various audiences that AMO has – from first-time user to seasoned expert users to add-on authors/publishers.

To summarize the top concerns that we’ve heard:

  • You removed valuable information that we had previously“- application compatibility information, add-on modication dates, download counts (in selected views). This was far and away, the most pressing problem.
  • The new Smart Install button is dumb!” – advanced users were frustrated by the limitation that AMO placed and its inability to allow downloads of any version for testing purposes, etc..  This combined with the above issue along with some nasty bugs exacerbated the issue.
  • You removed two important add-on lists” – Bring back the New Add-ons and Recently Updated add-ons views
  • You combined some views in a way that makes it impossible to find Themes & Search Engines“. In an attempt to simplify the navigation and put everything into categories, we combined Themes with Apperance-related add-ons and Search Engines with Search-related add-ons. This was probably an oversimplification that caused grief to many.
  • Restore the discussions“. We opted to remove add-on discussions from the site but it was hasty. We’ll be adding them back in a way that allows flexibility for authors who want to host their own forums.

The community also reiterated some previously mentioned feature requests:

  • Add an advanced search that lets me search by app max/min version range, platform, add-on type, etc…
  • How to deal with the use case of “Should I upgrade to Fx 3 now – are my favorite add-ons compatible?”

One of the common misperceptions is that the AMO site now requires users to login to be able to install and download add-ons. This is certainly not the case for public add-ons. With this design, we surfaced sandbox’ed or experimental add-ons – those are the only ones requiring login since they are meant for users who know what they are getting into.

Note: There is certainly more feedback and requests and they are all been tracked in Bugzilla.

To address these, we will be publishing some updates to AMO which you’ll be able to see shortly at our preview site. The next iteration (AMO v3.2.1) is a minor bug fix release that we’ll roll out next week addressing some of the most critical bugs as well as easier access to download any version of an add-on. It’ll look something like this:

Download any version of Firebug

We’ll be following this AMO v3.2.1 bug fix release with a set of smaller scoped, milestone releases that address the top issues on our AMO v3.4 bug backlog.

8 comments on “Feedback on the recent AMO release”

  1. morgamic wrote on

    Great post Basil, this explains a lot of the UI feedback better than I could. 🙂

  2. Ken Barbalace wrote on


    Thank you for this post. It is very good to see that the issues introduced by the new AMO are getting addressed. It has been a rough couple of weeks, but I think what we are starting to see now is promising.

  3. The Guru wrote on

    Thanks for the info and the update. Good to see y’all are going to make it easier for those of us of who use the developmental builds now.

    Now I found the “You removed two important add-on lists” complaint rather interesting, not something that I really use. I suppose I might use the ‘new’ add-ons one, but not the recently updated since I would get an automatic update on the add-on.

    Again, I’ll add my voice/vote for getting an advanced search feature, sure would make things easier for the end-user but I suppose it would be a pain for the programmers.

  4. Jacques wrote on

    Thank you Basil. Looking forward to test the preview version.

    For those interested, in AMO 3.2, I found out how to display all new/modified modules and all new/modified themes by modifying the URL and bookmarking them.



    I’m sure alternative URL can be derived from the UI, like removing the “exp=on” part, etc.

  5. Michael Lefevre wrote on

    Great that you can look at and amongst the angry flames and harsh words about you and your work and take from it useful feedback and a positive expression of interest. Given how this internet community works, I’m sure it’s the right way to take it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for you.

    Hope you can figure out a good way of handling the add-on discussions on AMO. FWIW, they are an element I didn’t think was much good before, and I found a lot of stuff posted there was unhelpful or irrelevant, and just cluttering things up…

  6. Todd Lohenry wrote on

    What I would like to see is a way to keep a list of MY firefox addons so that when I go to a new computer, I can install them all with one click!

  7. Andrew wrote on

    AMO is lovely except two things:
    1. I don’t see a way to contact the people in charge
    2. I can’t submit a search engine

  8. Mime Cuvalo wrote on

    ““The new Smart Install button is dumb!” – advanced users were frustrated by the limitation that AMO placed …”

    This has probably been said, but I don’t think the advanced users are the problem. The average user or even the slightly more tech savvy user using Firefox 2 is what I’m concerned with.

    Extension developers are feeling the pressure, and rightly so, to upgrade their extensions/themes for FF3. For extensions, and especially themes that are not backwards compatible with FF2 it leaves the user in a state of confusion.

    Take the example of IE Tab, which recently upgraded to be FF3 only ( ). Browsing the reviews you’ll see a lot of similar complaints. For example, cindler2000 writes:

    “im trying to download the IE tab for firefox but the IE tab is not clickable to download all i see that you can download is uprade firefox which I already have the latest version.this is so frustrating not being able to download a link when you cant even click on it…….HELP PLEASE”

    My extension FireFTP has been FF3 ready since December and with FF3 not being released until June-ish, I don’t dare release the new version on AMO for fear of this.

    So, in conclusion, you guys have a bit of a conflict of interest. There’s a big push to authors to update their extensions but if you do it’ll screw your users, at least until June… From what I see on the new mocks on this blog post, the revised button could help alleviate these issues. But I think if you’re going to lead users to the Version History page like this then the versions on that page should say their FF compatibility somewhere and the warning at the top should be reworked to mention something about browser compatibility – instead of basically trying to scare the users off back to the main page. I feel that you’re going to literally get a flood of updates the day of the actual FF3 release and it won’t be good for anyone. It’s certainly what I will be doing.

    As a postscript, I know this is probably unlikely to happen but what would be really awesome was if the Smart Install button really was smart and grabbed the appropriate version of an extension depending on the version of Firefox I’m using but also made a note of telling me this was an older version but that “that’s ok” b/c the new version of Firefox isn’t out anyway. Whereas a Firefox 1 user would get a message saying “please upgrade”. There’s no use in asking a FF2 user to upgrade to something that does not exist yet.

    Whoa, long post – really got me goin 🙂
    I hope you can hear me out. Feel free to email me ( mimecuvalo at gmail ) if I’m missing some aspects of this. Cheers, and great work, nonetheless, guys 🙂