Extensions in Firefox 65

In lieu of the normal, detailed review of WebExtensions API coming out in Firefox 65, I’d like to simply say thank you to everyone for choosing Firefox. Now, more than ever, the web needs people who consciously decide to support an open, private, and safe online ecosystem.

Two weeks ago, nearly every Mozilla employee gathered in Orlando, Florida for the semi-annual all-hands meeting.  It was an opportunity to connect with remote teammates, reflect on the past year and begin sharing ideas for the upcoming year. One of the highlights was the plenary talk by Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation. If you have not seen it, it is well worth 15 minutes of your time.

Mitchell talks about Firefox continually adapting to a changing internet, shifting its engagement model over time to remain relevant while staying true to its original mission. Near the end, she notes that it is time, once again, for Mozilla and Firefox to evolve, to shift from being merely a gateway to the internet to being an advocate for users on the internet.

Extensions will need to be part of this movement. We started when Firefox migrated to the WebExtensions API (only a short year ago), ensuring that extensions operated with explicit user permissions within a well-defined sandbox. In 2018, we made a concerted effort to not just add new API, but to also highlight when an extension was using those API to control parts of the browser. In 2019, expect to see us sharpen our focus on user privacy, user security, and user agency.

Thank you again for choosing Firefox, you have our deepest gratitude and appreciation. As a famous Mozillian once said, keep on rockin’ the free web.

-Mike Conca

Highlights of new features and fixes in Firefox 65:

A huge thank you to the community contributors in this release, including: Ben Armstrong, Oriol Brufau, Tim Nguyen, Ryan Hendrickson, Sean Burke, Yuki “Piro” Hiroshi, Diego Pino, Jan Henning, Arshad Kazmi, Nicklas Boman.

 

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  1. Kees wrote on :

    When will WebExtensions support the majority of the features that were actually used in the top-100 of the classis XUL/XPCOM based Firefox add-ons? Please provide a plan to ensure proper WebExension API’s are created to get to this kind of feature set.

    And I wouldn’t mind if Mozilla would start with features from the top 25 of the classic(!) add-ons only, as long as the feature set of the top 100 would follow.

    For me personally I would like to have proper TCP (and UDP?) support so that extensions like FireFTP could rematerialize and also please ensure that there is going to be a proper way to implement TileTabs, the WE-version is not really a proper experience if you ask me…

    Of course it is a good thing to put control back in the hand of the user again, however this should not mean that popular extensions (from the XUL-era) should never be possible again.

    On a second note: What about having global preferences related to features like the current location of a user? Either provide the possibility to return a nonsense location or provide a way to return an undefined object when a location is asked. I.e. that would mean that an add-on can ask for 5 privileges but would only get 4 as one is revoked either via a general configuration of via about:add-ons and related details…

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  2. Michael wrote on :

    Are there any plans to add back support for adding acceptations to certificates Firefox doesn’t like? I installed a new certificate on my firewall and now I’m locked out because Firefox refuses to accept the cert even though its valid. In the old days Firefox could be trusted to allow you to do things IE would not. I’ve already spent hours pouring over options in about:config trying to force Firefox to visit my firewall’s URL. At this point I’ll be lucky if I can undo the Certificate via command line. I can’t speak for the rest of the community, but a large number of my co-workers and I use Firefox because it could do stuff like Ignore Certs. Is it time to create a New variation of Firefox that gives FULL control back to its user community instead of trying to coddle em like babies and protect them?

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    1. jinger wrote on :

      i agree with Michael about giving full control back to us. why can’t we have the older versions of Firefox that we so loved? also all the addons that actually were very helpful and easy to use. They let me roam all over the net easily and I’m hitting 70 years old. So what if they are never updated, almost all the ones I used never got updated and they worked fine. You HAD the best browser on the net until someone decided to fix it the way they thought we wanted it, well guess what, the majority of the users, loved it just fine the way it was. Why can’t you just let us take the chance with the old system. So what if it doesn’t go faster or smoother. I loved it as the way it was and its results were always great for many of us. Would be nice if you would have 2 choices of what type firefox browser we could download.

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      1. Chuck Baker wrote on :

        I’ve switched to Pale Moon where all the ‘legacy’ extensions are still supported.

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  3. aecreations wrote on :

    I’m an author of two WebExtensions, and have noticed in Firefox 65 beta that the popup extension pages from my add-on no longer respond to key presses (e.g. ESC to dismiss, CTRL+Z to undo, F1 to show user help, etc.). This is working fine in Firefox 64. I’m getting annoyed that my valuable time is increasingly spent on keeping up with workarounds for breaking changes that seem to be introduced with each new “rapid” release, which means less time dedicated to new features/improvements for the benefit of my users.

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    1. Mike Conca wrote on :

      Please file a bug for this on https://bugzilla.mozilla.org.

      Reply

  4. kjemmo wrote on :

    I can only agree with those who are disappointed with the pace of API development for WebExtensions.

    A toolbar API was originally planned for version 57. It did not make it to the final release. Now more than 8 releases and more than a year later it is still not available. It has been on the road map and mentioned several times, this let users like me to believe that it would be available at some point. Now the public road map for planned APIs has been removed from the Mozilla wiki page and planning is now ad hoc on a release to release basis (this is confirmed by the staff).

    No one knows and can tell when or if any feature or API will be available. That is the answer Mozilla have for us. I only keep hoping for a more clear plan and execution because i have developed an add on that some thousand users rely on for there work. They are still using version 56. But the patience is soon gone and I will have to drop the project entirely giving them a major disappointment.

    Mozilla, your market share is dropping every month and it will continue to do so unless you give all us developers a chance to let Firefox stand out. If not, me and the users I have brought to Firefox will be on Chrome or Pale Moon.

    I find it hard to believe that you can ignore and neglect the feedback you get for every “Extensions in Firefox **” post. The critique is not as massive now as it was. I guess many developers has moved on and has left Firefox behind. What a shame.

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