Upcoming Changes in Compatibility Features

Firefox 57 is now on the Nightly channel (along with a shiny new logo!). And while it isn’t disabling legacy add-ons just yet, it will soon. There should be no expectation of legacy add-on support on this or later versions. In preparation for Firefox 57, a number of compatibility changes are being implemented on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) to support this transition.

Upcoming Compatibility Changes

  • All legacy add-ons will have strict compatibility set, with a maximum version of 56.*. This is the end of the line for legacy add-on compatibility. They can still be installed on Nightly with some preference changes, but may break due to other changes happening in Firefox.
  • Related to this, you won’t be able to upload legacy add-ons that have a maximum version set higher than 56.*.
  • It will be easier to find older versions of add-ons when the latest one isn’t compatible. Some developers will be submitting ports to the WebExtensions API that depend on very recent API developments, so they may need to set a minimum version of 56.0 or 57.0. That can make it difficult for users of older versions of Firefox to find a compatible version. To address this, compatibility filters on search will be off by default. Also, we will give more prominence to the All Versions page, where older versions of the add-on are available.
  • Add-ons built with WebExtensions APIs will eventually show up higher on search rankings. This is meant to reduce instances of users installing add-ons that will break within a few weeks.

We will be rolling out these changes in the coming weeks.

Add-on compatibility is one of the most complex AMO features, so it’s possible that some things won’t work exactly right at first. If you run into any compatibility issues, please file them here.

31 responses

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  1. Anders wrote on :

    I am currently on version 56. If i look in the Add-ons Manager there is 1 out of 12 enabled add-ons that is *not* marked Legacy (1 out out 21 if I include disabled add-ons).
    – Will all Legacy add-ons be disabled in 57?
    – Is it possible that some of them have a version ready for 57 and above, and if so is there an easy way to see which? Are you going to add this information to the Add-ons Manager?
    – Are you going to add a “find alternative” feature to the add-ons manager, such that it will be easy to get suggestions for alternatives for add-ons that is not going to get updated?

    Reply

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      > – Will all Legacy add-ons be disabled in 57?

      Yes. There will be a preference to turn them back on, but it will only work on Nightly.

      > – Is it possible that some of them have a version ready for 57 and above, and if so is there an easy way to see which?

      If they have a listing page on AMO, you could look now, though it’s likely that versions that only work on 57 and above won’t be submitted at least for a few weeks. There’s a green “Compatible with Firefox 57+” tag for all add-ons that use the new APIs.

      > Are you going to add this information to the Add-ons Manager?

      No, the Add-ons Manager won’t show this.

      > – Are you going to add a “find alternative” feature to the add-ons manager, such that it will be easy to get suggestions for alternatives for add-ons that is not going to get updated?

      Yes, it should be activated soon on Nightly. However, since the alternatives are hand-picked, they will be limited to very popular add-ons and a limited number of other cases.

      Reply

      1. Anders wrote on :

        > There’s a green “Compatible with Firefox 57+” tag for all add-ons that use the new APIs.

        Getting to amo from the add-ons manager doesn’t seem to be easy (I think you have to double click the add-on, click the ratings, and click the add-ons name in the right column). I tried to spot check some of what I think is high-profile add-ons (greasemonkey, stylish, noscript), but didn’t see any with such a label.

        > No, the Add-ons Manager won’t show this.
        To bad.

        > Yes, it should be activated soon on Nightly
        Nice.

        > they will be limited to very popular add-ons and a limited number of other cases.
        To bad.

        Thanks for your response.

        Reply

        1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

          We expect NoScript and GreaseMonkey to be ported, but I don’t know their timeline. Not sure about Stylish (though there’s a Chrome version that could be ported).

          Reply

          1. Aidan wrote on :

            Stylus https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/styl-us/ is a possible alternative (and is apparently based on a fork of Chrome Stylish)

    2. Well… guess what. wrote on :

      That temporary userbase increase will be short lived with the current state of API’s, most won’t even be implemented & most big addon dev’s have already decided to permanently pull the plug on Firefox. A simple thing like making the font size for the sidebar a little bigger ain’t even possible.

      Reply

      1. Ulf3000 wrote on :

        lets just all stay on nightly until someone forks firefox … looking at teh cource code there aren´t even big changes anyways , at this point its just politics

        Reply

        1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

          Nightly is the active development version, so that’s where the changes will happen in the next few weeks.

          Reply

      2. Andreas wrote on :

        > most big addon dev’s have already decided to permanently pull the plug on Firefox.

        I’d like to see the data you based this statement on.

        In fact https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gA_Nj8SJ6ykhrqJNJqIoge2H-_CGHQc8uK5K3LYr5As/ shows that most developers of popular add-ons have already ported, are currently porting or are at least likely to port based on feedback we got from the developer.

        Reply

        1. Sören Hentzschel wrote on :

          @Andreas: you can update the “WebExtension Status” of New Tab Override in this spreadsheed to “Done”. Waiting for review, but it’s done. 🙂

          Reply

        2. mgol wrote on :

          1Password is already a WebExtension, that version is shipped at least to Firefox 55+. You can update the spreadsheet.

          Reply

    3. Graham Perrin wrote on :

      > … add a “find alternative” feature to the add-ons manager …

      Please join the discussion at https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/-/17087/15?u=grahamperrin

      Reply

      1. Anders wrote on :

        You have got to be joking. If I read the thread correctly, there is a link to a spreadsheet, that lists 180 webextensions and points out that some of them can replace 16 add-ons, and a suggestion that people post recommendations in the thread so someone can presumably add it to the sheet (double the work) “because programming for the recommendations will be done manually”. Currently there is about 9904 add-ons on amo. It is not a huge number, but it does take a serious and coordinated effort if you are going to make it.

        Reply

        1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

          We won’t offer recommendations for all legacy add-ons, of course.

          Reply

          1. Anders wrote on :

            > … of course
            Well, it seems like the very least you can do,
            Better would be if you made a serious (as in “launch of FF3”-serious) push to get legacy add-ons converted by authors, staff and, through hackathons and prices, get volunteers to help out on abandoned and would-be-abandoned add-ons. A nice way to start would perhaps be to host all add-ons on amo in its git-repo and encourage contributions (also directly from in-product devtools), not just reviews and comments.
            But it seems like you (as a company) just don’t give a fuck, of course.

          2. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

            You don’t seem to understand how software works, how open source works, or how much work we’ve put into this for the past 2 years.

            Sorry.

  2. Lukasz Polowczyk wrote on :

    The only rescue is in WebExtensions Experiments. https://webextensions-experiments.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html

    This gives you access to the full XPCOM, I hope this access will stay ALWAYS.
    I just do not know how it will be with distributing Experiments? Will they be hosted on AMO?

    Reply

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      Experiments aren’t meant to be distributed to a wide audience. They will not be hosted on AMO.

      Reply

      1. Lukasz Polowczyk wrote on :

        I will keep them “in the underground”.
        Sad times have come. ;(

        Reply

  3. Idiot wrote on :

    Will it be possible to enable legacy addons in Nightly 58+?
    I guess all legacy addons will be broken by the time Nightly 58 is released?

    Reply

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      Yes, and quite possibly yes.

      Reply

  4. rh2unx wrote on :

    Thank you, Mozilla. The recent Firefox with the broken and disabled addons, the browser I can’t customize, the one with unpolished and caustic UI, is the browser I always dreamed about. I want to thank you for that I can’t use my favorite Ubiquity anymore, for that some other addons are broken permanently and no one will fix them because this is impossible, so, I’ll stay on FF54 forever. Thank you, Mozilla for your incessant care about us, users.

    Reply

  5. Aris wrote on :

    @Jorge

    It is possible to achieve many visual changes to main ui by adding custom css to userChrome.css. WEs do not allow any of them.

    http://i.imgur.com/ejPeWU3.png

    Will userChrome.css survive Firefox 57+ (beta/release)? Or will its support be dropped too?

    Reply

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      There are no plans to drop userChrome.css that I’m aware of.

      Reply

    2. custom.firefox.lady wrote on :

      Apparently there are people who would like to see it gone:
      https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=332529#c14

      Reply

  6. Tomo wrote on :

    Mozilla, welcome to the Kodak Club.

    People don’t choose a browser, they’re pushed away from their old one.
    Once people switch browsers, they are very unlikely to try anything else at all until their new browser does something they don’t like – and can’t easily restore.

    This is that something.

    Today I found out that all of my extensions will stop working in three months time, and it seems that none of them can ever have viable replacements. Mozilla has even explicitly rejected any hope of future compatibility.

    Mozilla, you are on the verge of corporate suicide.
    I am neither a shareholder, employee or contributor – but I urge you to reconsider this course.

    I for one will be sad to see you go. It’s been a good decade.

    Reply

    1. Weboh wrote on :

      Pale Moon, a Firefox fork, still works with most “legacy” Firefox extensions. It has a better UI and just about everything else too.

      Reply

  7. elena wrote on :

    I returned from holidays and linux suggested a gazillion software updates. Among them, FF. I authorized them and BAM! now most of my addons don’t work anymore. The address bar simply disappeared, for instance…
    The extensions’ developers say they won’t rewrite them. Some even say that going back to a older FF won’t fix it unless one has a backup of the profile, because the new FF permanently screws the previous profile, addon-wise.
    Congratulations for the genial idea you had. Really, congratulations. You erased the one advantage you had over all other browser, the possibility to do everything you wanted with the browser, and forever. You threw away years of programming and user experience from thousands of people just like that. Don’t expect it to be an harmless move. I, for one, will start testing other browsers immediately. Netscape really didn’t teach you anything, eh?

    Reply

    1. Weboh wrote on :

      Pale Moon is a good one to start on. It’s a Firefox fork that will work with most of your extensions (and doesn’t have Australis!).

      Reply

      1. SH wrote on :

        > Pale Moon is a good one to start on. It’s a Firefox fork that will work with most of your extensions

        Nonsense. Pale Moon does neither support WebExtensions or SDK based add-ons. This means thousands of add-on was never supported by Pale Moon. Pale Moon is no alternative and Pale Moon is a browser with a totally outdated code base…

        Reply

  8. Sean wrote on :

    Anyone know a good web browser comparison site? I’m leaving firefox for good. It’s a relic.

    Reply

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