Experimental Add-ons, Logins, and You

One of the pieces of feedback in our recent survey was that add-on developers really wanted to remove the login requirement for experimental add-ons. So we did it.

Experimental opt-in

Now users who are logged out can install an experimental add-on by clicking a checkbox.  We felt this solution was simple while still getting users to take a moment to ponder their decision to live on the cutting edge.  Nothing else changes- only public add-ons will get automatically updated from AMO, but we feel this change will help add-on developers get feedback and reviews from the greater community before deciding to nominate their add-ons.

We’ve also retired the old developer tools for good.  The new developer tools are far more user friendly and powerful, and now they’re localized so everyone can take advantage of them.  Hopefully you’ll agree- but if there’s something about the old tools that you missed, please let us know.

Finally, our ratings based sort now takes the number of ratings into account.  So if you have 1,000 ratings and your average is 4.5, your add-on will now show up above someone with one five star review from a family member. 🙂

As always, please let us know what you think.  We made quite a few more changes and fixes in this release, so if you’re interested, take a peek!

14 comments on “Experimental Add-ons, Logins, and You”

  1. Jay Meattle wrote on

    awesome! hopefully (likely) more people will try experimental add-ons now.

  2. Myk Melez wrote on

    Another thing you could do is color the button yellow instead of green, to give people the sense that they should “proceed with caution.”

  3. Dom wrote on

    Great! Also, agree with the “proceed with caution” idea 🙂

  4. anca wrote on

    that’s a good idea, it’s a warning alright and not staying in the way of users installing what they want.

    But I just tried to do that a few minutes ago for this extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10531 and it doesn’t work as intended (maybe because of the license page?), when it’s downloading the xpi, it redirects to login therefore browser reports corrupted archive.

  5. another_sam wrote on

    “we feel this change will help add-on developers get feedback and reviews”

    and me too!

    lovely changes guys.

  6. guions wrote on

    Big problem with this new feature with my addon.

    With SeaMonkey the user is redirected to the “User login” page before installation. (every thing is OK).

    But with Firefox, there is no redirection to the auth page, the download/install starts and the download ends with the message.

    Firefox could not install the file at
    because: Invalid file hash (possible download corruption)

    It seems that the package is not downloaded at all.

    The donwload/install is OK when I am authenticated.

    As it seems that all my users use the “let me install …” checkbox, and don’t register, all the installations are failed.
    Did I do something wrong ?

  7. guions wrote on

    It seems that the download problem occurs also with :
    Go2 proxy 0.1.0
    gWebs MailCloak 1.0.0b39
    Herdict Web 0.8.0
    In fact, the common point of all these addons is the accepting of the “End-User License Agreement”,
    The “Accept and Install” button downloads the authentication form instead of the xpi, but with the ‘addon’.xpi name (and mime-type), so the navigator try to install and HTML page ….
    Hope It helps.

  8. Phil wrote on

    I think this change is a good idea. However, are there any plans to allow Firefox to automatically pick up upgrades for experimental extensions?

    Judging by the statistics for my extension, the majority of users have an out of date version installed and will not therefore be getting the best user experience. Unless they manually go back and check the addons page, they won’t know that there is an update available.

  9. jim wrote on

    this is great, it was annoying to login just for a quick download. I’ll login when I actually have useful feedback. They do color experimentals red for a warning, but maybe there could be a yellow for like “works well enough so far” and red would be like “who knows ? this is so new it might eat you in your sleep and kill your whole family!” and green comes about when your addon is one of the “generally recognized as safe and awsome” set. heck, there are plenty of addons that I can’t use firefox without. Could give them a special star for, say, “if it weren’t for this I’d be using Opera”.

  10. Frank Angus wrote on

    Does anyone know the add on that looks up the meaning of a word you alt + right click?

  11. Dominic wrote on

    Great idea!

    Too bad I still have to login to download “incompatible” add-ons though :p

  12. jgabios wrote on

    As Phil pointed out very well, automatically updates are not working with experimental addons. can you please enable it. the users running it trust it, that is why they have it installed, and I also think they want to keep up with the latest version. you could also alert them when they update it with a message “beware, experimental addon update…!!!” or something.


  13. vivek wrote on

    why my addon https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/13826 is still in experimental phase???

  14. TJ wrote on

    Note: don’t know if this is exactly the right place to make this comment, but…

    It appears that when you try to sort the Thunderbird themes (website above) with the “experimental” box checked, it will not sort correctly. (At least if you use the date “updated xxx xx, xxxx” shown beneath each theme.) I have several screenshots, but can’t send them over this messaging system. Maybe this can be fixed ??

    – TJ