AMO has grown a lot as a product over the last few years, and we’re starting to look more closely at its features to make sure they’re pulling their weight and are enjoyed by our users. As we continue our rewrite of the site, we’re going to be removing or not re-implementing a number of features that aren’t performing as well as we’d like.
This post lists the first batch of these features that will be removed in the coming months.
Ending Self-hosted Pilot Program
In November of last year we announced a pilot program allowing developers to create listings on addons.mozilla.org for their add-ons without requiring the add-ons to be hosted or reviewed by us. We hoped this would create a more comprehensive directory of add-ons where users could find any Firefox add-on they were looking for, even if it wasn’t hosted by us.
It’s been almost a year, and after reviewing the results of the program, we have decided to end it. We haven’t seen the kind of adoption we were looking for and still find that many of the best add-ons that aren’t hosted on AMO did not participate. Instead, add-ons that were already listed on AMO switched to self-hosted to avoid complying with certain review policies.
Self-hosted add-ons are difficult to maintain in our code base, as they require exceptions to almost everything we implement. We’re starting work on our new Developer Tools area of the site and could not justify re-implementing them in our new framework given their usage and maintenance cost. Finally, as announced earlier this year, we’ll soon be moving to a review model where every add-on available in our gallery must be reviewed for security. As self-hosted add-ons are not reviewed or hosted by us, they don’t quite fit in with our new standards.
Support for self-hosted add-ons will end with the launch of our revamped Developer Tools, likely in November. Developers of affected add-ons will receive an email prior to this time. We recommend converting your self-hosted add-on into a fully hosted add-on at least 2 weeks before that time period to allow for editor review and post-review modification. Once support is removed, all remaining self-hosted add-ons will be disabled.
We implemented the ability to share add-ons and collections via email last year, but haven’t seen it used much at all. Requiring users to log in is likely a huge barrier to this feature’s usage, but for now we’ll be removing the feature until that and other issues can be resolved at a later time.
Currently, any registered user can tag an add-on to help classify and group similar add-ons. We’re going to simplify this by only allowing developers to tag their add-ons. Add-ons will have a maximum of 20 tags, and the migration to the new format will prioritize the developer’s tags and fill remaining slots with user tags. Once this process is finished, developers can delete any migrated tags they don’t wish to keep.