Add-on development just got easier

10

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve just launched the Add-on Developer Hub (beta), the one-stop-shop for add-on developers to find out why they’d want to make an add-on, how to make an add-on, and manage their add-on listings.

Developer Hub Logo

Developer Hub

Back in May, we posted about our plans for a developer-focused website in response to feedback we received from add-on developers. The new Developer Hub has something for everyone — whether you’re just getting started or have already made twenty add-ons.

New documentation features of the Hub include:

  • Getting Started – an introduction to add-on development with links to important resources
  • How-to Library – tutorials, articles, videos, and walk-throughs on add-on development topics
  • API & Language Reference – official API and language references
  • Case Studies – stories of successful Firefox add-ons
  • Add-on Policies – all of our add-on policies in one up-to-date location
  • Search – search the best add-on development resources in one place: documentation, forums, newsgroups, reputable blog posts, and more

We’ve also introduced some new tools, with more planned for the coming months:

  • Add-on Builder – auto-generate add-on packaging by entering basic information and picking UI parts
  • Add-on Validator – add-ons can now be validated even if they’re not hosted on AMO

One of the most important goals of the new Hub is to bring the add-ons community closer together. With that in mind, the Hub features:

  • Add-ons Forum – interact with other add-on developers and get help
  • Newsletter – about:addons is our monthly newsletter
  • Developer News & Promos – relevant news and important information is now prominent throughout the Hub
  • Upcoming Events – find out when an add-on event is coming to your area

Developer Tools & News Feed

The tools developers use to submit and manage their add-ons on addons.mozilla.org are now part of the Developer Hub, and we’ve added a cool new way to stay up to date with what’s happening with your add-ons: the add-on news feed.

Any time something of note happens to an add-on, it is recorded in the news feed for the developer to see. This includes developer and editor actions like editing an add-on, submitting a new version, and approving a new version, but also includes user actions such as reviews and collections.

The news feed is available via RSS for one or all of your add-ons.

News feed screenshot

Search Revamp

As part of this release, we’ve also re-worked our AMO search engine from scratch to provide much more accurate results. This is a huge and much anticipated improvement, and will be covered in detail in a separate blog post.

A big thanks goes to everyone who made this release possible, from the developers, testers, and designers to those who helped review documentation and content.

Tags: , ,

Categories: developers, documentation, releases

10 responses

  1. Josh

    This is really great, congratulations!
    You guys do a great job providing tools to build add-ons, this is fantastic, but why don’t you do anything regarding the review process? what’s the point of all these big stuff if add-on developers need to wait 3 (and even more) months(!!!) to have their add-on become public?
    I don’t think you know how frustrated it is to work so hard on an add-on, and see this “experimental” label without knowing your real status.
    It feels like no one cares…you MUST do something about it!

  2. Dave Dash

    Hi Josh,

    We do care and we do feel bad that while we really want to make developing addons easier (hence the developer hub) we also want to speed up the queue and give developers some indication of how long they might wait. In a way we’re making an existing problem harder.

    However, we’ve already implemented a few things, like static analysis that can raise a few red flags so developers find out right away if there’s some simple mistakes rather than months later after a manual review. We’ll continue to build on this and refine it.

    As much as automation has helped, we still need to make sure that whatever we do maintains the quality of the addons available. There’s a certain amount of trust associated with downloading from AMO and we want to maintain that.

    Also, in the last month we’ve been burning down the review queue quite a bit. We’ll try to be more transparent about that, so that developing addons isn’t a frustrating process.

    Cheers,
    -dd

  3. avih

    Gotta join Josh about the transparency issue of the review process. IRC channels are useless in this regard (unfortunately) and people there always seem to revert to “not my responsibility” answers when asking the hard questions.

    I have few suggestions and would like to post them on the new board ( https://forums.addons.mozilla.org/index.php ) but it doesn’t accept my AMO username (full email) /password combination.

    Any help with that?
    thanks in advance.

  4. avih

    P.S. to my previous comment:

    I didn’t set an AMO nickname since I want the full name to appear (setting a nickname there will display it INSTEAD of the full name). May I suggest to also accept the AMO login email/password on the board?

  5. patrickjdempsey

    So where is the developer toolbox or toolkit or whatever it was called? That was a GREAT tool. To have all of my add-ons in a nice sidebar list and above that all of my editing options in a sidebar list, that was good organization and good productivity. I maintain and manage 8 themes. Five of those show up in the main sidebar list on the “Hub” page. I see the Edit option there and that takes me into page after page of old fashioned Web 1.0 layouts. But if I click the “More Add-ons” link, there is no edit option. It does not make things easier to hide them in page after page of old fashioned layouts. The sidebar with all of the edit options was one of the best things about this site and now it’s gone? With the old layout I clicked at the top “Developer Toolkit” and that took me to a page with all of my add-ons listed, with current version listed and number of downloads and links to common tasks for each one. This is important data that allowed me to know at a glance what was being downloaded and what had been updated, and in a few clicks I was in editing descriptions to match a new update. Now where is all of that data and links? How many clicks down different paths do I have to take to get the simple information that I need on a regular basis? This change is not appreciated. I agree that more needs to be done to make things easier, but completely removing the most powerful productivity tool on this website is not that path IMO. Having the Hub may be very useful for many people, but the Hub should not be a replacement for the Toolkit, since they are obviously completely different tools for completely different things. I’m not sure exactly what the Hub is for, but I’m sure it’s good for something, just give me the option to have the old way back please!

  6. Mony

    Firefox whole popularity is highly based on its add ons. If the development of such add ons become such easy then I can predict more add ons will be developed in future right?

  7. SWDict

    Love the tools to make developers work easier. I see a lot of room for more add-ons to make Firefox and other Mozila browsers more productive – more than IE will ever be!

    Thank you!!

  8. Nickolay Ponomarev

    Where should the feedback on the hub’s content go?

    1) “XUL Style Guide” linked from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/developers/docs/reference is an old page migrated from mozilla.org and never updated. It’s confusing and not very useful, except for the part where it recommends to make XUL localizable.
    2) “Gecko CSS Reference” wrongly links to “CSS” on MDC instead of CSS Reference.

    And while everything about the hub is great (congrats!), I disagree that creating yet another forum for add-on developers “bring[s] the add-ons community closer together”, if anything it fragments the community even more.

  9. Johan Bouwer

    Sorry this is the only forum I could find to post a comment. Is it possible for developers to create a small-add on that searches for free and I mean free ebooks? Weather it is for Microsoft Reader, PDF books, or reading tablets.

    Thanks

    JB

  10. Sekizaru

    This is a bit late but I was just looking back over the statistics for my add-ons for the past few months and noticed a big drop off in downloads at the end of September. One add-on went from an average of 230 downloads/day down to 100/day, another from 30/day to 8/day. The drop starts on September 30th which led me to this post.

    I also checked the total download stats and there is a drop in downloads from ~1.6m/day before this release to ~1.3m/day afterwards.

    Do you have any insight into what would have caused this?
    My guess is that it is related to search. The new statistics for download source would solve this but weren’t available at the time.

    Other than that, congratulations on all the improvements made to AMO over the past few months. It’s really making a difference