Mixing Listed and Unlisted Add-ons on addons.mozilla.org

Firefox add-on developers are free to distribute their add-ons as they see fit, as long as they aren’t forced on users. This comes down to two distribution methods: list it on addons.mozilla.org (AMO), or distribute it themselves via a Web page or application installer.

The implementation of add-on signing on AMO added some unwanted restrictions to these options, essentially making developers choose one distribution channel or the other for all versions of an add-on. Switching between one channel and the other is possible, but complicated.

Today we’re removing these restrictions and enabling mixed listed and unlisted versions for add-ons on AMO. When submitting a new version of an add-on, developers will be able to choose if they want to host it on AMO or on their own. This makes it possible to quickly sign an add-on file for user-testing, create a self-distributed pre-release channel, and more. The only limitation is that version numbers need to be unique across both channels.

Part of this feature has been active on AMO for a while. You may have noticed the new add-on and version submission flows, which were the first set of changes we pushed out.

New add-on submissionToday we’ll enable the distribution channel choice for new version uploads, as well as changes to the Developer Hub to make it easier to manage mixed versions.

New version submission

This is the result of many months of engineering work. The add-on lifecycle, signing, reviews, and various add-on/version/file status combinations are at the core of AMO and are surprisingly complex. I’d like to thank Andrew Williamson and Mathieu Pillard for taking on the bulk of this monumental task, and Bram Pitoyo for doing the UX work.

Please report any AMO issues on GitHub.

5 responses

  1. RIP Firefox wrote on :

    I’m truly stunned to discover Firefox ‘rulers'(?) are going to void the current Firefox add-ons!
    Surely the point of a browser is to serve the needs of the users?

    The Tab Group feature was a must have, and Firefox has only continued to be useful because a developer created an equivalent add-on when the Firefox ‘rulers’ decided to remove the feature ( they could have let the user decide). I quick search shows I’m not alone in this:

    It hurts to see Firefox is being turned into a Chrome clone and removing Firefox’s unique attributes! If Firefox is the same as Chrome, then Firefox becomes superfluous software to me.

    I’ve been using, and advocating the use of, the browser since Netscape Alpha.
    I wish Mozilla the best in it’s new direction.
    Bye Mozilla it was fun while it lasted.

  2. Charles wrote on :

    Thanks for it.

  3. Sally M. wrote on :

    Hi Jorge,

    I have an off-topic question, I hope that’s okay: is there a way to find out if an add-on is compatible with the latest version of Firefox if you haven’t installed it yet? For example, I currently have version 47.0.2 installed, and would like to know if all my add-ons will keep working if I update to version 51.0.1.

    If I check https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/expire-history-by-days/ for example, it says “Last Updated: September 8, 2016” in the sidebar and “Works with Firefox 38.0 and later” under “Version information”, which I find pretty vague. I tried downloading the XPI, and in the install.rdf, I read the following:
    em:minVersion 38.0
    em:maxVersion 46.0
    Except it still seems to be working in my version 47… (But maybe I’m misunderstanding those lines, I’m a complete noob)
    Anyway… Am I missing something? Where could I find the info about each individual add-on? Or is there an updated masterlist somewhere?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. chacha wrote on :

      Ignore the maxVersion data, it is a dummy entry in the big mayority of cases.

      In short: you can’t, at least in a reliable way. All of them are “expected” to work, sort of, probably, in newer Fx versions. Try looking the review section or homepage of each add-on to find recent bug reports. Your best shot is try Firefox 51 *portable* (it will not touch your system) and install there your addons to test them.

    2. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      There are many variables involved, so it’s hard to tell by just looking at the page. If you visit it using the target version of the browser, you’ll see on the page if the add-on is compatible or not.