Last week Firefox 62 moved into the Beta channel. This version has fewer additions and changes to the WebExtensions API than the last several releases. Part of that is due to the maturing nature of the API as we get farther away from the WebExtension API cutover back in release 57, now over seven months ago. Part of it was a focus on cleaning up some internal features — code changes that increase the maintainability of Firefox but are not visible to external developers. And, let’s be honest, part of it is the arrival of summer in the Northern hemisphere, resulting in happy people taking time to enjoy life outside of browser development.
User Interface Improvements
Extensions with a toolbar button (browser action) can now be managed directly from the context menu of the button. This is very similar to the behavior with page actions – simply right click on the toolbar button for an extension and select Manage Extension from the context menu. This will take you to the extension’s page in about:addons.
You can now manage hidden tabs, introduced in Firefox 61, via a down-arrow that is added to the end of the tab strip. When clicked, this icon will show all of your tabs, hidden and visible. Firefox 62 introduces a new way get to that same menu via the History item on the menu bar. If you have hidden tabs and select the History menu, it will display a submenu item called “Hidden Tabs.” Selecting that will take you to the normal hidden tabs menu panel.
A few enhancements to the WebExtensions API are now available in Firefox 62, including:
- An optional keyword, open_at_install, was added to sidebar actions. Extensions can now opt out of having the sidebar automatically shown when the extension is installed. If omitted, this parameter defaults to true to preserve existing behavior.
- Extensions can now get details about a TLS channel and certificates with the webRequest API. This enhancement provides a lot more information to security and privacy extensions.
- Browser action items such as the title, badge text, icon, background color and popup can now be specified on a per-window basis.
A couple of changes to the WebExtensions theme API landed in this release:
- Themes can now set tab_background_separator to specify the color of the separator between tabs.
- Usage of theme.getCurrent() no longer requires the `theme` permission. This means extensions that use the API to style themselves to match the current theme need fewer permissions. Extensions that set the theme, however, using theme.update() still require the theme permission.
A few noticeable bug fixes landed in Firefox release 62, including:
- Extensions that send a message to a background script at document_start now work correctly during browser startup.
- A number of bugs involving moving tabs between windows were fixed.
- The menus.onShown event now works properly in popups.
- A rare but extremely annoying painting issue with browser action popups was finally tracked down and fixed.
- browser.cookies.getall() was fixed for cases where the domain argument is set and firstPartyDomain is null.
- If you don’t include browser_style in your extension, the browser_style warnings were removed.
- Fixed the values of tabs.Tab.active and tabs.Tab.highlighted in Android popups
A total of 48 features and improvements landed as part of Firefox 62. As always, a sincere thank you to every contributor for this release, especially our community volunteers including Tim Nguyen, Jörg Knobloch, Oriol Brufau, and Tomislav Jovanovic. It is only through the combined efforts of Mozilla and our amazing community that we can ensure continued access to the open web. If you are interested in contributing to the WebExtensions ecosystem, please take a look at our wiki.