- These bi-weekly posts explain the current state of add-on reviews and other information relevant to add-on developers. There’s a lengthy overview of the Add-on Review Process posted in this blog that should be read as a general guide about the review process.
- Most nominations are being reviewed within 3 weeks.
- Almost every update is being reviewed within 1 week.
- The Mozilla Summit and the Firefox 4 beta launches have delayed reviews noticeably. Major version releases trigger an unusually large number of new submissions and updates. We’re catching up at the moment, but things will be slow for the time being.
The Review Queues
- The stats are taken from the latest queue report from last Friday.
- 170 nominations in the queue awaiting review.
- 98 updates in the queue awaiting review.
- 835 reviews were performed by the AMO Editors in the month of July.
See the Add-on Review Process and You for information on how to check your add-on status.
Firefox 4 Compatibility
Firefox 4 is coming later this year, and beta 2 is currently available for download. This will likely be the most difficult upgrade path for add-on developers in the history of Firefox, so everybody should keep an eye on beta updates and all the documentation that will be published around them. At the moment these are the most useful documentation resources:
- Firefox 4 for developers at MDC.
- Firefox 4 Compatibility blog post.
- Firefox 4 Compatibility discussion at the Add-ons Forum. This is the best place to post any feedback, bugs or insight surrounding Firefox 4 and add-on development.
I’ll do my best to keep everybody up to date with breaking changes in Firefox 4, but I don’t want to bombard you with information. I might post a new extensive update in the beta 3 or beta 4 timeline. In the interim I’ll use these reports to post all the new (sometimes unconfirmed) feedback I’ve received, with as much information I have at hand. Here are the notes I have so far:
- Toolbar buttons are (for now?) a different size. Toolbar buttons now have a different look and a different size at least on Mac and Windows, but it is unclear if they will remain this way. Michael Kaply filed a bug about it and there’s an ongoing discussion happening over there. Like I mention in the Firefox 4 Compatibility blog post, the UI is the most volatile part in the 4.0 update, so it is not a good idea to rely on how it is in its current state. If you want your toolbar icons to look right in current betas without spending too much time, you’ll need some CSS trickery. Chrome manifest flags are very useful for these kinds of hack.
- Mr. Kaply also contacted me recently about the toolbar button changes and asked me if I thought this should be stopped because it would place a bigger burden on add-on developers. I don’t think it should. This is a major update, and I don’t think it’s all that surprising that it comes with a revamped user interface. This should be done with minimal breakage if possible, but I don’t think that changing toolbar icon sizes is such a dramatic change as others already listed in the documentation. I guess he interpreted my answer as an “I don’t care” and wrote this blog post accusing us of not voicing the concerns of add-on developers. I may be wrong about the magnitude of this situation, though, and I’d like to hear from the community about how difficult it would be to maintain a new set of icons with different sizes, how many of you actually hire graphic designers to do your icon work, and how many of you don’t use vector graphics to generate your icons (I mean GIMP and Photoshops projects and the like, not SVG).
- Toolbar customization. There’s a bug in toolbar customization that can revert changes performed by users. There’s also a weird bar that appears under the toolbars after customization at least on Mac OS. Note that the bug can be triggered by add-ons that access certain browser features before the onload event is fired. If this is the case for your add-on, please read the comments carefully.
- From Mook: How do I override a contract ID dynamically, and forwarding things to the old implementation (essentially wrapping it) so only behaviour I specifically care about get modified? Is this something that the new XPCOM registration method won’t support?
- From Christopher Finke: app tabs can be toggled using gBrowser.pinTab(tab);
- The new Gecko SDK is still not available in the MDC page. Developers that use binary XPCOM have to build it themselves from source (bad).
- From Matthew Wilson: after being deprecated for a while, the nsIPref interface has been removed.
- From Jason Barnabe: command line options on the new XPCOM registration system are currently undocumented.
- From Raphael: the content context menu is broken.
Notes for Developers
- How to Improve Extension Startup Performance. All extension developers should read this blog post. It explains how extensions can have a significant impact in startup performance and, some very simple steps you can follow to minimize this impact. There’s also a link to some tools that can be used to easily measure startup.
- New Proposal for Review Process and Delightful Add-ons. This is a new and different approach to resolve the issue of add-on safety in the sandbox and code reviews. All add-on developers should read this and give feedback. It’s been a long process to try to find the right balance of the many elements involved, and we think this is it.
- The AMO Editor Guide. This new page in the wiki is a comprehensive guide to the work performed by AMO Editors. It will serve as an introductory guide for new editors, and is a step forward in being as transparent as possible with our review process.
- AMO is currently being migrated to a new code base, some of which is already live in production. If you notice any strange behavior on the site , please make sure to file a bug (see note below about AMO bug reporting).
- Useful Information for Add-on Authors. How to improve review times for your add-on, information about the review process, etc.
- Bugzilla information for editors. How to file AMO bugs, how to flag bugs relevant for editors, and information on current and future AMO version releases. Let me know if you want to help fixing AMO bugs.
Add-ons Developer Relations Lead, Mozilla