WebExtensions in Firefox 57

Firefox 57 has reached Beta, and a bevy of new APIs and improvements have landed that will put us in a good place for the Firefox Quantum launch in November.

Legacy add-ons no longer load in Firefox 57, but there is still time to migrate (almost 5,000 have migrated so far!), and you can do so even after it lands in release. Just update your listing with the new code and your users will automatically update to the compatible version. When you do, be sure to tell them about it.

Documentation for the APIs discussed here can be found on MDN Web Docs.

API changes

Tabs and Sessions APIs

Tabs now have a discarded state added to the Tab object. It will be set to true if the tab is not loaded with content, for example when restored from a previous session. This is part of getting ready for a tabs.discard API.

The tabs.opener API has now been implemented which means that openerTabId is available to the update and create methods and on the Tab object. This allows extensions to track the opener of tabs.

Also, the tabs API can now open URLs that are view-source: links and do a “load replace” which changes the page and replaces the current history so that the back button is unaffected.

The session API now has some APIs for setting, getting and removing data on a per tab or per window basis. This allows information about tabs or windows to survive session restores without the data needing to be stored by individual extensions.

webRequest API

The webRequest details object now includes proxy information. This proxy information will let webRequest listeners determine how the request interacted with a proxy.

A major new API for webRequest is now available which allows an extension to filter the HTTP response bodies as they come in. The code below alters the text on example.com. You could do this through a content script, but being able to alter the HTTP response body gives a whole new set of possibilities:

function listener(details) {
 let filter = browser.webRequest.filterResponseData(details.requestId);
 let decoder = new TextDecoder("utf-8");
 let encoder = new TextEncoder();

 filter.ondata = event => {
    let str = decoder.decode(event.data, {stream: true});
    str = str.replace(/Example/g, 'WebExtension Example');
    filter.write(encoder.encode(str));
    filter.disconnect();
 }

 return {};
}

browser.webRequest.onBeforeRequest.addListener(
 listener,
 {urls: ["https://example.com/*"], types: ["main_frame"]},
 ["blocking"]
);

Storage API

A basic implementation of chrome.storage.managed has landed. This allows administrators or other applications to configure extensions for users. In Firefox you can place a JSON file in a directory, just like for native messaging. For example, a file called favourite-colour-examples@mozilla.org.json could be placed in the appropriate place:

{
 "name": "favourite-colour-examples@mozilla.org",
 "description": "ignored",
 "type": "storage",
 "data": {
    "colour": "blue!"
 }
}

Then in the favourite-colour-examples@mozilla.org extension:

 browser.storage.managed.get('colour').then((colour) => {
   console.log(colour);
 });

Would output “blue!”.

Clipboard API

A new clipboard API has been added to allow the copying of images to the clipboard. The clipboard.setImageData allows you to populate the clipboard with image data. This API is compatible with the Chrome apps API, but at this point it should be considered experimental. This API requires the clipboardWrite permission.

Developer Tools API

The developer tools gained the panels.elements.createSidebarPane API and a panels.elements sidebar.setExpression method. This lets extensions create sidebars in the developer tools. Here’s an example extension that parses jQuery variables:

Find API

A find API has landed in Firefox. This allows extensions to call the Firefox find API on a tab and get information about the results. It can then add or remove syntax highlighting from that tab, based on the previous search.

This example extension uses the API to search across multiple tabs and highlights them:

Miscellaneous changes

Android

There have been multiple bugs fixed to ensure that pageActions and browserActions work well on Android. There has been multiple options_ui fixes and some additions. The runtime.openOptionsPage API has been added, and for those pages the activeTab permission takes effect. The browser_action.default_popup manifest property along with setPopup and getPopup has been added.

Firefox for Android now has support for installation permission prompts from the user, closely matching Desktop. When a user installs an add-on, they will be given a permission prompt.

Here’s an example when installing uBlock Origin:

If an extension chooses not to use installation permissions, the optional permission prompts have also been implemented which enable permission prompts at runtime.

Startup check

Firefox has had a brief compatibility check that occurs each time Firefox upgrades a major release. Because there are some extension that might update from legacy extensions sometime after Firefox 57 is released, we wanted to ensure that we could update users to new WebExtensions version when we can.

We took the opportunity to streamline this. The new check is quick and will only occur each time you upgrade to a major version (for example 56 to 57) and have legacy extensions:

User notification

There’s an ongoing project to show Firefox users what changes extensions make to their browser. Often it’s not clear to a user what an extension has done. It can be especially confusing if a user forgets what extensions are installed and finds changes they don’t understand later on.

An API was added that allows extensions to read the home page and new page values so extensions can tell if a user or another extension has changed the values. Along with this API, we’re now surfacing changes through to the about:preferences pages. If an extension uses the provided APIs to change: the home page, the new tab or contextual identities in Firefox 57, then a message will displayed to the user.

Here’s an example where an extension changes the home page:

An example where an extension enables contextual identities:

Long running scripts in an extension will now generate a warning that mentions the extension name, so users can choose what to do with extensions that might be taking a long time.

If an extension changes the new tab through the API, the URL bar will be empty when the new tab page is opened. This allows keyboard users to quickly navigate to new URLs. We’ve also fixed a bug where the identity was not shown in the URL bar for new tabs.

Over the coming releases we plan to add in more information into about:preferences for more and more APIs.

Contributors

Thank you once again to our many contributors for this release, especially our volunteers including: Adam Hillier, angelsl, dw-dev, Jan Henning, Kevin Jones, Lee Bousfield, Tomislav Jovanovic and Tushar Saini. This release marked a record 171 bugs fixed.

72 responses

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  1. Max England wrote on :

    Oh, how great to see that 4,700 of 25,000 addons have already been migrated. That’s almost 19%.
    Regarding my set of used addons, a total of 33% are already compatible with FF 57 but hey, who to blame? There’s still 1.5 months to go until the remaining 67% will either die forever or be migrated at a desperate last minute attempt.

    I guess it’s all up to the addon developers now. Even with FF 56, they neither have sufficient API capabilities nor stability to adapt their efforts to Web Extensions. We sure don’t have to care for Greasemonkey, Session Manager, Tab Groups, Tab Mix Plus, SSLeuth etc… who uses them anyway, right?

    What’s far more important than sophisticated APIs, stable interfaces, and some lead time for adoption will be the fact that FF 57 will finally be restricted to Web Extensions only! Yay, that’s gonna be awesome! Who needs addon support if we can celebrate an incremented major release number 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong but:
    Breaking things deliberately, scaring off loyal developers with despotism, and still being completely fond of the arrival of Web Extensions… that deserves nothing more than cynicism. If you would seriously look at your bug reports, you’d notice that it’s still technically infeasible to migrate even the most popular addons due to missing API support. Devs are emphatically requesting answers, ETAs, and help but all they get is ignorance. As this is clearly the fault of Mozilla, why not simply shift the transition to a later release? There is no natural need to shut down thousands of working addons deliberately in FF 57.

    Probably, after 56 versions, you might have simply forgotten what makes a great browser. It’s definitely not the fact that a page loads e.g. 0.3 sec faster than with Chrome. What really counts is the convenience in a daily use scenario. In the case of FF, this is greatly provided by a selection of 25,000 addons. By devastating this asset, you demonstrate how much you really value the work of developers and the users relaying on their addons.

    Reply

    1. Jim Kirk wrote on :

      “Breaking things deliberately, scaring off loyal developers with despotism, and still being completely fond of the arrival of Web Extensions… that deserves nothing more than cynicism.”

      Dude, they announced the transition to WebExtensions *two years* ago. That’s hardly “despotism” and add-on developers have had plenty of time. Rants and tantrums don’t contribute anything.

      Reply

      1. Max England wrote on :

        The issues with WebExtensions have nothing to do with their date of announcement. In 2015, Mozilla didn’t provide the APIs WebExtensions are based upon. They just promoted the concept but neglected the fact that implementation was still missing. What I criticize is the fact how this transition is handled. At the one hand, developers are encouraged to migrate ASAP, at the other one they are (still) not given the required APIs.

        In other words, your statement is wrong: Developers did not have enough time to migrate because even for the most popular there are no adequate APIs available yet.

        Reply

        1. Jim Kirk wrote on :

          Max England said: “In 2015, Mozilla didn’t provide the APIs WebExtensions are based upon.”

          WebExtensions have been usable since April, 2016:

          https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2016/04/29/webextensions-in-firefox-48/

          Max England said: “Developers did not have enough time to migrate because even for the most popular there are no adequate APIs available yet”

          If I look at the 10 top add-ons, they either have a WebExtensions version already, a WebExtensions version on the way, an alternative add-on already available, or have been integrated into Firefox itself:

          https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/extensions/?sort=users

          In the end, it’s too late for your complaints. What you should have done is contributed to Firefox’s WebExtensions implementation for the last two years to ensure the add-ons you care about were ready to go today. The add-ons I care about have all been ported to WebExtensions and they’re working fine for me in Firefox 57 beta.

          Reply

          1. Max England wrote on :

            Obviously, you are just able to judge this transition from a user perspective rather than seeing from the developer side.

            To broaden your mind please consider the following:
            – Even if Mozilla considered WebExtensions to be “stable” in FF 48 doesn’t mean developers could migrate their addons. A lot of APIs (supported in Chrome) were and are still missing. If not, we wouldn’t even have that discussion right now.

            – It seems more than shortsighted to argue that the top 10 addons are going to see a WebExtension version. Compared to the amount of addons supported by the current system that’s no more than 0.04%.

            In the end, it doesn’t make sense to argue with someone who is thrilled by WebExtensions due to the fact that all personally used addons have been ported. Let me guess: It’s the glorious top 10 addons.

          2. Jim Kirk wrote on :

            You’re far too emotional, Max England. Try to be pragmatic. *That’s* the developer’s perspective.

          3. Thrawn wrote on :

            > WebExtensions have been usable since April, 2016

            No. It’s been possible to write and install something labelled as a “WebExtension” since that time. That’s not at all the same thing as being “usable”, ie “being able to do whatever you need and expect an extension to do.”

            > the 10 top add-ons

            Funny thing, the #1 addon, Adblock Plus, has had to cut down its functionality in order to meet the deadline (https://adblockplus.org/blog/the-plan-towards-offering-adblock-plus-for-firefox-as-a-web-extension), and #5, NoScript, won’t be able to properly migrate until Firefox 57 actually launches, because the necessary API support will only arrive then (https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2017/08/01/noscripts-migration-to-webextensions-apis/). That is not a sound migration path.

            I’m not sure about the other entries on the top 10, except that I expect uBlock Origin will be fine – because it started on Chrome in the first place, so supporting Chromefox will be easy.

          4. LWChris wrote on :

            > WebExtensions have been usable since April, 2016.

            Technically yes, but the WE API that is useable since then is far too small, so that doesn’t help anyone. The problem is that Mozilla’s WE API covers just a tiny fraction of the functionality that their original API provided. And while they ask the add-on developers to give them feedback which other APIs they need, it is the realtiy that only few are implemented and working.

            Just check https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/WebExtensions/Comparison_with_XUL_XPCOM_extensions#Privileged_APIs to see how few of the old functionality will be supported in FF57. To date, nobody knows how the other APIs’ replacements would look like, so nobody can migrate their extension.

    2. tommi_p wrote on :

      Couldn’t agree more, Max England.

      Having used Firefox/Mozilla/Communicator/Navigator/Mosaic in some shape or form since October 1994 and version 0.9, it seems that our common story will now come to an end.

      After 23 years, that seems a bit sad, but if the developers of the platform that has supported most of my internet activities in my whole adult life, and created so much value and joy over the decades, have decided to butcher it, there’s really no options but to use a working solution instead.

      I think I am one of the many loyal fans who are dependent on their favourite add-ons: half skeptical, half hopeful, but getting ready to be bitterly disappointed. Once those “this add-on is not supported in version 57” messages starts popping you’ll realize what it means when your most devoted users leave the camp.

      I have a test environment with Firefox beta and Chrome current version installed side by side already. Let’s see how long that testing cycle will be.

      Reply

      1. Thrawn wrote on :

        Up until now, segments of the community have occasionally grumbled about the direction Mozilla is going, but the general response is, Well, we’re going to do it anyway, but if you want to do things differently, you can write an extension for that.

        With WebExtensions, however, that route is closing. Radically restructuring the interface is not allowed, by design. If an extension will not match Mozilla’s direction going forward, then they don’t want it to exist. So…why hang around?

        Reply

      2. Michael T wrote on :

        I agree 100% with you! From the 7 Add-Ons I have installed, 6 are marked with “LEGACY”.
        “DownloadThemAll” is not working in the legacy mode (extensions.legacy.enabled = true).

        What to do now? Just look for a new Add-On or better switch to a whole new browser (I already have Safari and Chrome installed).

        From a users point of view the deployment strategy of the new Firefox API is a catastrophe (the point in time and missing functionality in the new API) and you will lose your reputation.

        Maybe you have announced the API change to the developers, but you rendered _my_ user Firefox installation unusable without having asked me! This should not be done by automatic updates!!!

        Reply

    3. Lurtz wrote on :

      What do you need 25,000 add-ons for? A lot of them not even working correctly anymore for some time now.
      Don’t you think 4,700 add-ons could be enough to satisfy most users needs?

      I manage a lot of Firefox installations from not so tech savvy users and the most anybody uses is uBlock Origin (which I installed myself). Get out of your filter bubble.

      Fortunately Mozilla haven’t forgotten that a great browser isn’t defined by add-ons, but foremost by performance, stability and security. It was about time and Firefox 57 delivers on every front.

      Reply

      1. Max England wrote on :

        It’s clearly not about the number of working addons that satisfy most users needs. The point is that even the most popular legacy addons still cannot be ported to WebExtensions due to missing APIs.

        Frankly, I’m quite uncertain who sees things through a filter bubble here. If you limit yourself to saying that you actually need only uBlock Origin for “not so tech savvy users” you ignore that other users might have other needs.

        Of course, it’s nice if a browser excels in terms of performance, stability, etc. Still, these things are also achievable without breaking support for a majority of addons. Even though this might be unavoidable in some cases, developers could expect mature API support and enough time in advance for migration.

        Reply

        1. Lurtz wrote on :

          I won’t deny that there are loyal Firefox users who really need their add-ons and will suffer a huge loss with Firefox 57.

          I don’t, however, believe that add-ons are nearly as important as this small but vocal group often suggests. Or else Chrome with its still much more limited options would never have gotten that far ahead.

          Most user’s needs can and will be served with WebExtensions and the effects of sharing most APIs with Chrome are already showing on AMO. In the long run and combined with all the technical improvements it was the only sensible thing to do.

          Reply

          1. NYB wrote on :

            What puzzles me, is that some can have the incredibly dumb idea that Chrome users are the same than FF ones. Users are not a cake that dev teams have to share. FF, Chrome, Edge; etc. are tools. Chrome do things well to be fast to lauch, easy to use, “fast easy surf”. Firefox is not for this, it is for “powerusers” surf and work. Who needs another Chrome ???
            Moz lost many users with Chrome, but they will NOT get them back. And now they do the ONLY thing to lose the rest : try to maje another Chrome. If I use FF everyday, it is ONLY for the plugins, and most of them will not (NOT, NEVER) work with webextensions.

            Also, if a “normal” user can soon find the same plugins on FF and Chrome, why would he chose FF (even if FF is faster and better and kuuuul) as Google advertise so much ???

            So what can I do ? Well, I will not upgrade to 57, and I’m looking for forks to see which one to choose. Also allready told my clients not to make the upgrade. And my friends & familly, too.
            (sorry for my english)

          2. Thrawn wrote on :

            > I don’t, however, believe that add-ons are nearly as important as this small but vocal group often suggests. Or else Chrome with its still much more limited options would never have gotten that far ahead.

            Think of it from this point of view: Yes, there is a very substantial userbase that doesn’t care about addons, only about usability and speed. But Chrome, with development powered by Google, has already pretty much taken this userbase away from Mozilla, and there just isn’t a way that Firefox can compete in the long term. Because Mozilla will never ever have Google’s development budget. No coincidence that Firefox’s market share has massively shrunk; all those Joe Users are leaving or already left.

            So that leaves Firefox basically targeting a more niche market segment. Which often consists more of the power users, those who care about things like openness and customisability, those who are more likely to personalise a browser. Chrome isn’t good enough for those people, specifically because its extension system is too limited.

            And now Mozilla kicks all these people in the gut by not only discarding all their existing working customisations, but also declaring that their brave new world explicitly will not support radical customisation, that they don’t want to allow anything that might have to be rewritten with future Firefox, and basically they’re imposing the same limitations as Chrome.

            So all the power users will do what the Joe Users did, and leave, because Firefox no longer offers them anything.

      2. B.O.f.H wrote on :

        Well we have 3 Points here:

        #1 Addons Need
        Sorry but no, its not enough what is currently Supported.
        Example would be Passlfox which cant work on current API
        Issue is, not only is Firefoy password manager pretty unsecure, on larger lists Firefox becomes unstable and unuseable. I was forced to use Keepass but the only working solution on Firefox is now phased out by droppin XUL.

        Just one example out of many for many users. For me personally this is not an Argument, without any working solution to use keepass i have to drop firefox without a choice.

        #2 The Way Mozilla treats the Dec Community is a nono. Its true that theres an outcry for a long time and absolute ignorance ever since. Even in this threat we can see that.
        At least a proper explanation why this has to be done and why i need to be as is.
        A Delayed XUL Phase out until ALL needed APIs are translated would be nice too, addons are the thing that make the biggest difference to other browser from a useability perspective, ur addon devs are important for your product, treat em with respect and partners not as “users” you dont wanna support

        #3 switch to webextensions, well in essence this is ofc a good thing.
        in theory with streamlined extensions working everywhere a lot of headaches should be gone. its long time overdue to streamline everything. however without google in the boat it aint be the real thing.

        so bottom line is you piss off a good junk of your dev base, even big ass projects like adblock are hopeless. all for a half baked solution that isnt fully implemented and not the real deal anyway that it is supposed to be.

        so basically youre switching apis but trow out 3/4s of your addons for good.
        not a smart move in times where firefox is loosing its userbase

        why cant you work on something useful like finally let us cleanup domstorage and friends

        Reply

  2. Kees wrote on :

    While it is good to have a number of new API’s for Firefox 57, it would be helpful if the product managers, developers and other people involved started listening to suggestions from the community.

    Basically the all active top 10 add-ons (minus obvious legacy ones like Firebug) should be working on Firefox 57 (and preferably earlier) while the top 50 add-ons should be working before switching off the clasiscal XPCOM/XUL based add-ons. Why? For the simple reason that these add-ons are popular for a reason so not only is it in Mozilla’s interest to ensure continued support for these add-ons there is also a kind of moral obligation to do so.

    It would also be helpful if there is a clear analysis done BY MOZILLA (people) to check what features the top 10, 25,100 and possibly even the top 500 and top 1000 add-ons are using and to provide proper API’s in WebExtensions to do these tasks. I know that this will cost time, but by providing these API’s (again preferably before pulling the plug on the legacy add ons) the add-on developers have a possibility to make their add-ons work with the new WebExtension API – when the API’s they use at the moment is not provided then the unique customization Firefox has (which is an unique selling point compared to other browsers) is gone…

    As I (and others) have advocated already, this would at least remove the pain of not being able to implement the features in the add-ons.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the need to get rid of the XPCOM/XUL based structure in the future, BUT there Has To Be a replacement for the features used by the popular add-ons. And it would help if the top 10-100 (somewhere here) of the classical add-ons can be ported relatively easily (it should have been a part of the planning to take this into consideration). Unfortunately the communication about the migration to the new WebExtensions never have indicated that Mozilla is investing in analysis of the legacy add-ons and a pro-active look at what is used never seems to be the case.

    AND it is still not to late (although it is VERY, VERY late) to ensure that both the new logic (render engine changes) and the need of the add-on developers and users are met. But it does require willingness on the Mozilla side to acknowledge this need and acting on it…

    Reply

  3. k wrote on :

    Max England, you do realize you’re very much a minority? The majority of users are using WebExtensions (or no extensions), simply because the majority are using Chrome (or IE/Safari). If Firefox is to have any chance of increasing market share, they have to look at how most people using their browser, not the vocal minority. https://xkcd.com/1172/ says it better than me. And there’s still Firefox ESR for those who want security updates to legacy Firefox.

    Reply

    1. Max England wrote on :

      I’m fully aware that it’s all just about market share and money. Probably, I am a part of a minority compared to those who don’t use addons at all. Nevertheless, I think it’s naive to sacrifice a working addon system in favor of a small percentage of Chrome users that switch to FF.

      Again, I’m not against WebExtensions at all. They ARE a progress towards the right direction as they simplify a lot of tasks that were cumbersome with XPCOM/XUL. This transition is good from a security perspective as well as from a performance view. No doubts here. The thing I call irresponsible is that legacy addons are set EOL without providing developers with mature APIs and enough time to migrate.

      Mozilla obviously underestimated the amount of efforts it takes to change the addon system. Alright then, we are all humans, mistakes can happen but instead of admitting, they simply ignore this integral issue and focus on performance benchmarks. What a pity…

      Btw, using Firefox 52 ESR is just a compromise until updates are stopped in June 2018. So this not really a cure either…

      Reply

      1. Lurtz wrote on :

        First and foremost it’s about relevance. It doesn’t help anyone if Firefox becomes even more irrelevant.

        It never was a goal to replicate the legacy add-on system, as stated here: http://www.agmweb.ca/2016-04-17-addons-old/

        What you consider ‘mature APIs’ are probably mostly even non goals for the whole WebExtensions project in Firefox.

        Reply

    2. Marius Rickenbacher wrote on :

      I don’t get your point, you want to gain market share by adjusting your product to the one that is leading the market? honestly? Ever heard something about unique selling proposition? It’s what every great product made great. And it’s what FF has a lot. Really don’t get the point in sacrificing one of them.

      Reply

      1. Tahorg wrote on :

        So let me rephase that, they’re losing 10%/15% market share per year and you suggest to keep the same strategy because it’s convenient for you ?
        FFx value proposition for me has always been the performance first and privacy. Unfortunately, during the last 3 years, the first aspect has been put on the backburner and it made me switch to google’s offer.
        I switched back to 57. From my point of view, Mozilla is doing all of the right things.

        Reply

        1. Thrawn wrote on :

          > they’re losing 10%/15% market share per year and you suggest to keep the same strategy because it’s convenient for you ?

          They’re losing that market share because they’re competing against Google, and Google is better at it.

          The only way to remain in the game is to offer something that Google won’t or can’t. Adjusting your strategy to become even more of a head-to-head fight against someone stronger than you is a losing proposition.

          I would, however, agree that Mozilla should change its strategy, because it has been doing things for years that irritate and alienate power users, the very market segment that Mozilla can and ought to win over from Google. Limiting UI customisation with Australis. Bundling inane services like Hello and Pocket. Constantly shifting the goalposts for extensions, with the SDK and Jetpack and Electrolysis and now WebExtensions. Compelling addon signing. Over and over Mozilla has shown its disregard for addon developers. That is an approach that is hurting it, and that ought to change.

          Reply

  4. Mick wrote on :

    I’ve observed the introduction of Web Extensions since the very beginning. I’ve remained calm since then, convinced myself that Mozilla is going to leverage their proficiency to enable support for (at least) the 500 most popular addons. You know what? I couldn’t be more disappointed!

    It is now less than two months until pulling the plug on legacy addons. Renovation is good, things often get better by reinventing them. However, in this case something is completely flawed: You are throwing away working functionality without providing a proper substitute! This is clearly indicated by all the unresolved bug reports on missing WebExtension support. It’s not that addon developers do not WANT to migrate their addons – they mostly CANNOT!

    This blog post is the best proof to show that Web Extensions aren’t ready yet. You are still changing APIs, providing new features, renaming things, and changing the behavior of existing methods. How do you expect developers to align to all that in no time? In addition, documentation is incomplete and samples you find in bug reports might already be deprecated again.

    As a longtime addon developer (since Firefox 3.5) and Firefox enthusiast ever since I really ask myself: Why should I expose myself to such a kindergarten? I have spent countless hours on making Firefox richer in terms of features and usability. Voluntarily! How do you dare to ignore support for legacy addons that significantly contributed to the success and market share of Firefox?

    With Firefox 57, I’m going to switch web browsers despite knowing Chrome is no better alternative. At least, it will be my way to express the same level of appreciation Firefox attributes to their addon developers.

    Reply

    1. Lurtz wrote on :

      Please read Andy McKays post about the goals of the WebExtension migration: http://www.agmweb.ca/2016-04-17-addons-old/

      There are specific non goals for WebExtensions in Firefox that make a lot of sense but mean that not every add-on type can be built with WebExtensions. You don’t have to like it but it makes sense to WONTFIX suggestions that go in this direction.

      I have respect for everybody that contributed to Firefox in the past, but announcing to switch browsers just out of spite doesn’t make your arguments much more than ‘kindergarten’.

      Reply

      1. Thrawn wrote on :

        > announcing to switch browsers just out of spite

        The thing is, at that point, why *not* switch to Chrome?

        If Firefox isn’t going to offer a more powerful extension system than Chrome, then you may as well just go with Chrome, which has a much more mature and battle-tested system than WebExtensions does. As well as a much bigger development budget.

        If you’re concerned about phoning home to Google, you can use Chromium.

        If Mozilla throws away its extension community, then what’s its competitive edge? What does its browser offer to distinguish it from others? As far as I can see, nothing meaningful.

        Mozilla and Firefox are supposed to be about openness, community participation, etc. That’s supposed to be their edge. Which is why ending XUL, especially when the majority of developers aren’t ready yet, is a serious mistake.

        Reply

  5. Idiot wrote on :

    Any news about toolbar API?

    Reply

  6. Nick wrote on :

    Even if all missing APIs would be available and perfect today this is a ridiculous short time frame to port a (legacy) extension.

    Reply

  7. Michael Buckley wrote on :

    I would not be so hard on Mozilla. I think now is a good time to make this move. They finally hit the kill switch in 55 on extensions that are not multi process so doing this as well at a similar time is a good idea.

    As to Mozilla not listening enough, I think they are. If developers post feature requests trying to get new things added to support what is needed for their extensions, they have acted upon it.

    As an extension developer myself I am happy with the move. One it is going to make it easier to create extensions that work on multiple browsers. Also as someone that does it as a hobby, one of the things I have found hard is keeping up with changes, every time I came back to my extensions after a break I found them broken due to changes. Hopefully this will be the last time, and from here on I can just focus on improvements and new features each time I come back to them.

    Mozilla, what you are doing is at least appreciated by me. I also love the new review times 😉

    Reply

    1. Kees wrote on :

      I do not like to be hard on Mozilla, but actually they deserve it a little. Let me explain why: Firstly they make a transition to multi-process and announce that add-on developers have to update their code. Until know this is no real problem as basically everybody wants multi-process. So add-on developers start migrating their code, however about 2 years later (and still working on multi-process both at the Mozilla end and the add-on developers end) Mozilla announces that WebExtensions are the way forward – WITHOUT a clear deprecation path at that time. A short time later a clear deprecation path is announced.

      At that moment something goes wrong, as the deprecation is not done to be at the moment just after another Long Term Release – but the release is Fx 57 (to me this seems arbitrary choosen). When Mozilla would have ensured that the legacy add-ons kept working until the next Long Term Release (or make Fx 56 an LTS) then this would give the option to have a parallel path for the people not using extensions and those who use extensions without a proper replacement.

      Above way of working has been suggested multiple times by me but somehow this falls on deaf ears at the Mozilla side. So the users and developers have some right to be hard on Mozilla, as Mozilla didn’t take every step possible to make the transition smooth. Having another year would have been nice for the add-on developers and also for Mozilla itself as it would basically mean that they could “support”* the heavy add-on users and also move to the new WebExtensions on the normal Firefox releases.

      *: I put support between quotes as LTS releases are only mantained for security and the users still would have to go to either the next LTS or the normal releases when the XUL/XPCOM-supporting Firefox LTS is finally going out of support.

      Related to the featureset: When Mozilla has implemented the features used by the top-100 add-ons then complaining that it is incomplete could be treated as “hard on Mozilla” but as far I can see Mozilla hasn’t yet implemented the/all features of the top-100 add-ons. (Based on the legacy count of course) – And excluding obvious legacy add-ons like Firebox is something which I can live with…

      A little better planning related to which release after Fx56/57 is deprecating the legacy add-ons would really be very very helpful for us and would make everybodies live easier…

      (And this isn’t the first time I noticed that planning at Mozilla is not thinking about aligning major steps around an LTS release – deprecating Firefox voor OS X 10.4 (I know this is some years ago already 🙂 ) was also not aligned to happen around an LTS – doing this would make some people still on OS X 10.4 at that time very happy…)

      Reply

  8. Trevor Olsson wrote on :

    Why are you at Mozilla never/rarely using Linux in your screenshots, but always just using the same Windows or Mac? You are FOSS, why not fully embrace your identity? 🙂

    Reply

  9. Beavis and Butthead wrote on :

    Thank you Firefox team for all the excellent work you are doing! The new Quantum engine and all the enhancements you have made are just brilliant! It’s also awesome that Extension version submissions are now approved really quickly!

    It’s good to remember that many people respond negatively to change. No matter what the change is, there’s always going to be a bunch of people who start crying and whining. That’s normal. The question is how long does that crying and whining last? And if it passes reasonably quickly, you have done superb job.

    Keep up the good work! It’s appreciated.

    Reply

  10. Henry R wrote on :

    Firegestures doesn’t work and you didn’t fix the bugs and implement features to allow its functionality to be migrated to webextensions. You lost me as a user after, Jesus, like 15 years. I’m moving to Vivaldi.

    Reply

  11. Bob wrote on :

    Sadly, 56 will almost certainly be the last version of FF I use.

    I’ve used FF since the very early days and loved it then. As stability began to suffer (due to memory issues mostly), shifting to the 64 bit version on my 32GB desktop made it tolerably stable (now I just restart it every few days when its virtual memory reaches about 8GB – a big improvement over restarting the 32 bit version every few hours of usage).

    However, of the seven extensions I use every day, every one is ‘legacy’.

    Perhaps if I search hard enough, I will find suitable substitutes for some, but I probably will just switch to Chrome as FF is clearly in a market share decline (Chrome @ 69%, FF @ 12%). Disabling some of the major reasons that users adopted it will surely steepen the decline of FF so the investment in searching for and trying out new versions of those extensions I can find substitutes for is just a bad investment — I might as well spend that time on the long term solution – Chrome.

    If the improvement made possible by eliminating legacy extensions are so wonderful that FF eventually is head and shoulders above Chrome in performance and functionality, perhaps I will return to FF (perhaps FF 93 in three years?). But, it’s hard to see how that will all be funded and tested with the continuing decline of FF market share.

    Reply

  12. David Hopkins wrote on :

    I agree with Max England and other users disappointed with this radical shift in Mozilla’s Firefox development standards. To me and most users I know FF is all about customization and empowerment. By using Session Manager to save different sessions, ScrapBook to collect offline web pages, Personal Menu to streamline my menus, and FEBE to backup my configurations I have made FF my own browser. I see the point of giving priority to performance, which in this case has killed a huge extension developing community and alienated all of us heavy users. But let me point out the real world usage of FF revamped with plugins: I have much better performance gains with multiple tabs (I mean a lotta tabs!) cutting down the fat by combining Adblock, Noscript and Noflash extensions to make my navigation smoother, safer and less cpu demanding, so yea, I am probably in a minority that expects more from a browser… but maybe that’s the point: to make us clients be all the same and wish less from our browser right? If you get to be just like Chrome, than so sorry, I might as well shift to Chrome – Mozilla might not have nothing to offer me and other geeks anymore… so all I can say is good luck!

    Reply

  13. Mandingo wrote on :

    Keep up the good work guys. If making the browser more stable and faster involves some addons not working, I am fine with that. Above all else, thank you for making the tabs square again!

    Reply

  14. Mad Mike wrote on :

    Loving the speed of Firefox quantum guys. Please keep up the good work. I am willing to sacrifice a few addons if it means a browser will be slick fast and responsive. It was time for an addon refresh for me anyway. Most of the addons are overrated cause the browser to crash anyway. Change will always annoy some people. You have made the interface better in my opinion (I am using beta and cannot wait for 57 to move into the stable stream).

    Reply

  15. Pete wrote on :

    this engineering programmer explanation talk may turn all your brains on fire but it doesn’t do diddly squat compated to how upset I am that you have squashed tabs 0- tab plus – session manager etcetera which I used extensively in research of significant value – and you don’t offer apologies, warnings, excuses or much I can read in english or a promiss that something like session manager will come back and be just the same to use as it was – I NEED that functionality in an addon and you screwed me out of it because I was stupid an naive enough to set my updates to automatic.

    Reply

  16. Piro / YUKI Hiroshi wrote on :

    The description about sotrage.managed seems wrong. Actual usage is:

    var allValues = await browser.storage.managed.get();
    // values == { “colour”: “blue!”, “other1”: true, “other2”: false }
    var filteredValuesWithSingleKey = await browser.storage.managed.get(‘colour’);
    // values == { “colour”: “blue!” }
    var filteredValuesWithMultipleKeys = await browser.storage.managed.get([‘colour’, ‘other1’]);
    // values == { “colour”: “blue!”, “other1”: true }

    Reply

  17. daniel wilianto wrote on :

    Have it not occured to soem whiners that some legacy api functionality are bit available in new web extensions because they have security and performance issue?

    Reply

    1. Santi wrote on :

      Make them optional or loose performance.
      Obviously don’t loose functionality.

      Reply

      1. Tahorg wrote on :

        As a product manager, this is the mentality that leads to your product death. Of course you need to find the right balance but you *need* to avoid feature hoarding.

        Reply

    2. Richard Paul wrote on :

      If they were worried so much about security they wouldn’t have a browser anymore. There’s a reason why Chrome has had pledge support built into it in OpenBSD (in a week apparently) and Firefox hasn’t and most likely never will (and so is not recommended for running on a secure system.)

      Reply

  18. Duven wrote on :

    Firefox is already my secondary browser (chrome is now primary but I HATE it), previous changes had already stripped many of the reasons I stayed (UI mostly) but without the legacy extensions I have no more reason to whatsoever. Hopefully there will be another browser I can use in the future but for now I weep for the loss of functionality.

    May we all find new things to hack functionality into beyond the wildest nightmares of developers and good deals on 6K displays.

    Reply

  19. Mirgran wrote on :

    when my addons stop work i just will delete firefox, good luck mozilla, lose users alot with useless changes

    Reply

  20. slumbergod wrote on :

    As a consequence of the poor way you have pushed webextensions some of the biggest addons are now effectively dead. You should have made sure all the APIs were in place before you forced this on us. Pretty piss poor effort really. You can blow your trumpets about how wonderful 57 will be but you killed some addons unnecessary. Very undemocratic of Mozilla

    Reply

  21. torenson wrote on :

    I kept using Mozilla only for the 50 or so add ons that are not available on other browsers. Take them away and I’ll use Chrome.

    Reply

  22. Jan van Diemen wrote on :

    If it turns out that all the framing of the people who warned you as a “vocal minority”, is in fact the other way round and this was pushed by an arrogant vocal minority who didn’t care about developers and users and gave them the middle finger, will these people like Andy McKay finally go away? Market share is now 12%, it will take a big hit. What will this market share need to become so they go away? Will they finally see the failure when it hits 6%? Will they be sorry for their arrogance and ignorance? I bet not, and they will only be sorry for themselves. They will probably blame the “vocal minority” who went away.

    Reply

    1. Richard Paul wrote on :

      I see a broad swathe of visitor traffic in the UK and FF usage is below 3%. I know statcounter says that it’s more like 12% but trust me, amongst normal non-tech savvy users it’s under 3%.

      Reply

  23. Rami Nagrobis wrote on :

    – Who needs another Chrome ? Mozilla lost many users when Chrome was launched. They will NOT get them back. Now they do the ONLY thing to lose the rest : remove what makes Firefox so different.

    – If a “normal” user can soon find the same plugins on FF and Chrome, why would he chose FF (even if FF is faster and better and so koooool) as Google advertise so much ???

    (sorry for my english)

    Reply

  24. Upset wrote on :

    So now my critical add-ons no longer work because of some idealistic goal of turning off support.

    Well guess I am off to one of the forker firefox browsers.

    See ya, and nice knowing you

    Reply

  25. Santi wrote on :

    I need, I really need, I absolutely need greasemonkey.
    I need, I really need easy-xdebug.
    I also want collorzilla and several others.

    I had Firefox Developer Edition until two days ago. Release date is on november. I doubt my extensions will be ready.

    I will switch to chrome, obviously, if extensions are not ready. I don’t give a damm about several miliseconds. I need what those extensions provide.

    Reply

    1. Caitlin Neiman wrote on :

      Greasemonkey is currently working on its migration to WebExtensions APIs. ColorZilla recently migrated and is available as a WebExtension.

      It’s worth reaching out to the developer of easy-xdebug and to ask about their migration plans. It should be possible to update it to the new APIs.

      Can you let me know what other extensions you’d like to see migrate?

      Reply

      1. sciuro wrote on :

        Please, please, please, can you migrate the LiveClick also?

        Reply

        1. Caitlin Neiman wrote on :

          Let’s reach out to the developer and ask about their migration plans!

          Edited to add: According to their listing on AMO, it looks like they are discontinuing developmental work on LiveClick. What were some of your favorite features of the extension? I’d like to see if we can recommend a good alternative.

          Reply

      2. torenson wrote on :

        Here’s a few I use that will be gone forever —— Flagfox, Extension Options Menu, Https Everywhere, Restart, Slim Add-ons, Element Hiding for Adblock Plus, Cleanest Add-on Manager, Colorful Tabs

        Reply

  26. Alex wrote on :

    Well guys/girls/ I’m just an end user and used FF as my goto for 10yrs. The only question I have is will the changes make it safer and better. If the answer is yes, then should I really care about these changes and the probles expressed by so many of you here. Now the reason I’m here is because I need an add-on to some web testing. I see from listing that some of the ones I could have used no longer work. Do I care, NO!. I’ m simply going to look for the first new tool that is on the compatible list. I’m not heartless, just pragmatic, knowing that in the world of programming tools it is always a matter of change, change, change and if you don’t change you die.

    Reply

  27. p1nky wrote on :

    Hello, there has been quite some discussion above and there have been arguments from all sides.

    However for me it simply comes down to this: either I have TabMixPlus or some alternative that works the same and allows multiple tab rows with Firefox 57 or I will simply stop using FireFox.
    I don’t care why it’s not there and who’s fault that is, all that will matter is that if it’s not there I will stop using FireFox.

    I have been using Chrome mostly anyway, but I never stopped using FireFox because Chrome never allowed multiple tab rows. If FireFox now ends TabMixPlus and multiple tab rows for whatever reason then there is no reason to use it anymore at all.

    If I want extremely restricted addon support then I can just use Chrome.

    Reply

    1. Sara wrote on :

      Same reason why I never stopped using Firefox: the tab rows. If we can’t have this anymore I’m afraid there is no longer any reason to stay. I rather have an easy way to organize and quickly find a tab than more engine speed. Speed won’t do anything for me if I can’t quickly locate a tab.

      Reply

    2. Mitu wrote on :

      Yea, this is also a potential deal breaker for me. Nowdays when so many people use their computers for the sole purpose of browsing the internet I just can’t figure out why some of the features for easier “multitasking” the internet, like tab rows, are not already implemented in ALL browsers ages ago. To me this just seems so stupid.
      Especially if you, like me, use a second vertical monitor for browsing which is in my opinion the go to option for surfing the net that I’ve been using for a decade and would never switch back. I have plenty of room on top and bottom of the screen that can be utilized in various ways. But even on wide screens IMHO browsers and web pages are just not optimized for such viewing and thus browsers need to adapt to it (the only exception being the video). I didn’t see any progress there for a long time.

      Reply

  28. Niobe S wrote on :

    No DownThemAll, AddThis, Better Gmail 2, Classic Theme Restore, FlashGot, Less Spam, please, LinkChecker, Pocket… Without these add-ons I’m done. Going to Chrome.

    Reply

  29. Alex W wrote on :

    Many congratulations and thanks for the new build. Fast, stylish and cool!

    Please note, however, that I loyally stayed with Firefox over the years principally because of tabs on bottom and RSS menus – the former was the reason I never moved to Chrome. RSS drop-downs still work, I see, but I fear the tabs on bottom option will go the way of all flesh in 57+.

    I am also disappointed that my two most productive addons (ABC Tajpu *with context menus, not just a keyboard* and Google Shortcuts) will no longer function; and sorry to see that even ForecastFox looks ugly in the new setup. Hope the developers of these extensions will be able to fix…

    Reply

  30. Keiya wrote on :

    There’s still time to migrate? How? Features that are *necessary* for proper implementation of Gopher are missing. You can’t even open a socket! Will these features be added before Firefox 57 releases, or will you be breaking your promise that Gopher support through an extension would always be an option?

    Reply

  31. Dave C wrote on :

    Like the NFL you’ve managed to drive me (and the faithful) away….If I wanted Chrome, I would have downloaded it YEARS ago…loved my add-ons…FF now doesn’t TOTALLY suck…it just sorta sucks..time to move on….sad

    Reply

  32. Steve S wrote on :

    Classic Theme Restorer with tabs on the bottom is why I use Firefox. I hate tabs on Chrome and Edge. I understand the author of Classic Theme Restorer can not use the new method. This means what I like about Firefox dies and so Firefox gets uninstalled. If I have to have Chrome tabs then I might as well use Chrome. Also Last Pass is buggy in Firefox, not in Chrome.

    Reply

  33. Brad M wrote on :

    So from the user side, what I’m hearing is: “for the love of god, dont update until after 57 comes out, and developers have had time to update extensions you feel are necessary(E.x.: No-Script)”

    Warning messaging might be nice… there’s a good chance people might ragequit, as they try to troubleshoot. Depending on the extension, there might be something that’s considered a core part of the user experience that stops working.

    Reply

  34. Michael T wrote on :

    Now that FireFox lost its USP to support good plugins, I switched to Chrome.

    Goodbye FireFox

    Reply

  35. Mike Diack wrote on :

    Request: Defer the forced migration to WebExtensions for at least another 3-6 months.

    I totally agree with Max England and others. It is clear now at 57 beta 8, that the infrastructure to allow mass migration to WebExtensions is just not ready for primetime. When 57 goes live, most of the extensions I and many other users will die.

    And for what? Firefox 57 beta is currently quick in bench marks, but in real world use it’s not much quicker and currently has a horrendous bug with the “loading page moving ball” animation (apng), which on my machine and many others, can frequently peg a single core and overall CPU load of 35% while the system is doing nothing but waiting for a server to send the page… That bug is still outstanding as of 14 Oct 2017 or later.

    Firefox 57 and web extensions are not ready for primetime. For goodness sake have the humility to accept that, and make a deferal plan – perhaps for Firefox 59/60?

    Reply

  36. Bogdan wrote on :

    This comment is written from Chrome. ALL my addons are now “legacy”. I left Firefox. Why am I here? I guess… nostalgia?
    I resisted in migrating to Chrome just because Firefox’s functionality was enhanced by add-ons in a way so special that it made me laugh when looking to Chrome users. Sure, Firefox wasn’t the fastest, but it was surely the best with addons.
    Multi-row tabs? No problem! Restoring sessions, tabs and easily organizations of bookmarks? You bet! The best download manager of all… on Firefox, of course! Anyway… you get the idea. Being tightly coupled with Firefox, the add-ons were very very powerful.
    Now, the “standardization” destroyed this bound. Seriously… someone expects Firefox to be equal to Microsoft Edge and vice versa by using “standard” add-ons?
    The future doesn’t look good at all…

    Reply

    1. Michael T wrote on :

      correct! FireFox now gets almost as good as Chrome, so why use FireFox?

      Reply

  37. Nate Edel wrote on :

    Count me among the MANY users who are reconsidering Firefox over this move; in the end this has taken me from 11 extensions down to 2 — although at least two of the three critical privacy and security ones (were already supported… also two I can get on Chrome.)

    Right now, there’s no compelling reason to move to Chrome, but not really any compelling reason other than distrusting Google to stay with Firefox.

    Reply

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