Juha-Matti Santala

Hello from the new developer advocate

Hello extension developers, I’m Juhis, it’s a pleasure to meet you all. In the beginning of August I joined Mozilla and the Firefox add-ons team as a developer advocate. I expect us to see each other quite a lot in the future. My mom taught me to always introduce myself to new people so here we go!

My goal is to help all of you to learn from each other, to build great add-ons and to make that journey an enjoyable experience. Also, I want to be your voice to the teams building Firefox and add-ons tooling.

My journey into the world of software

I’m originally from Finland and grew up in a rather small town in the southwest. I got excited about computers from a very young age. I vividly remember a moment from my childhood when my sister created a digital painting of two horses, but since it was too large for the screen, I had to scroll to reveal the other horse. That blew my four-year old mind and I’ve been fascinated by the opportunities of technology ever since.

After some years working in professional software development, I realized I could offer maximum impact by building communities and helping others become developers rather than just coding myself. Ever since, I’ve been building developer communities, organized meetups, taught programming and served as a general advocate for the potentials of technology.

I believe in the positive empowerment that technology can bring to individuals all around the world. Whether it’s someone building something small to solve a problem in their daily life, someone building tools for their community, or being able to build and run your own business, there are so many ways we can leverage technology for good.

Customize your own internet experience with add-ons

The idea of shaping your own internet experience has been close to my heart for a long time. It can be something relatively simple like running custom CSS through existing extensions to make a website more enjoyable to use, or maybe it’s building big extensions for thousands of other people to enjoy. I’m excited to now be in a position where I can help others to build great add-ons of their own.

To understand better what a new extensions developer goes through, I built an extension following our documentation and processes. I built it for fellow Pokemon TCG players who want a a more visual way to read decklists online. Pokemon TCG card viewer can be installed from addons.mozilla.org. It adds a hover state to card codes it recognizes and displays a picture of the card on hover.

Best way to find me is in the Mozilla Matrix server as @hamatti:mozilla.org in the Add-ons channel. Come say hi!

12 comments on “Hello from the new developer advocate”

  1. Juraj M. wrote on

    Hello Juhis and welcome :),

    I have a single request for you as our “voice to the teams building Firefox” :).
    Not long ago, we (addon developers) lost our addons in Android :(.
    We got them back in Nightly, but we want them back for everybody! (or at a very least in Beta!)

    And the new Manifest V3 may be a great starting point since one of the features of MV3 is performance improvement (with the non-persistent background pages). This is what Safari on iOS did and there are rumors Chrome on Android will do as well.

    Anyway, I wish you a productive and happy times in Mozilla 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Juraj Mäsiar (from Slovakia)

    1. Juha-Matti Santala wrote on

      Thanks Juraj, excited to be here!

      The big desire from the community to have full add-ons in Android is something the team is very aware of and I discussed that with them last week to understand the situation and to make sure they are aware.

      I don’t have a definite answer to you yet unfortunately but there’s desire by the team as well to expand the add-on support in the future. I’ll keep this in the discussions as I talk with the team and keep an eye on any developments on that end. I’ll let you and the rest of the community know of any major changes on the topic in the future.

  2. Mikaka wrote on

    Can you allow installation of all addons in firefox android?

    1. Juha-Matti Santala wrote on

      It’s not something I can do alone but I will work with our Android team to make sure the community’s desire for that is heard. For more, check the answer I wrote to Juraj’s question

  3. Abdulmomen wrote on

    Nice efforts.
    What is the ‘vision”?

    1. Juha-Matti Santala wrote on

      There are few things that I’d like to focus on in the near future.

      1. The MV3 support and transition is one big thing. We’re are working on bringing MV3 support to Firefox and that means there’s work to do for the extension developers to transition into the new version. My goal is to help extension developers to make that transition as smooth as possible and to make sure we learn from the community about things that work well and what we could improve on it in the future.

      2. Helping new extension developers to learn how to build great extensions that provide good user experience, appreciate user privacy and are secure. There are so many things one can do with extensions that it can be a bit overwhelming to get started. I want to bring my decade of experience in teaching programming to help this community grow and getting new people into building extensions.

      3. I want to encourage developers to share, to help each other and to learn from each other. I want to showcase the amazing work individual contributors and extension developers are doing and community calls is one of the things that I aim to bring back in one format or another later this year.

      1. Nodetics wrote on

        Hi Juhis!

        Welcome and please do everything in your power in order to preserve MV2 support in Firefox. That’s the key thing that will help Mozilla Firefox to multiple their market share since Chrome is foolishly taking away MV2 support completely.

        For example our popular extensions simply cannot be implemented with MV3.

        1. Juha-Matti Santala wrote on


          I’d love to learn more about your use case and concerns with MV3. It’s easier to advocate for practical and detailed things and see if those are things we could bring from MV2 to MV3 as that transition moves onward.

          Could you share more about what those are, either as comments here or emailing me at juhis@mozilla.com?

  4. Jotaf wrote on

    Welcome! Really nice to hear about the ‘vision’ too.

    If I may suggest one way to maintain these add-on dev relationships and know first-hand about what they care about, it would be to directly contact the devs of several extensions through GitHub and hear them out. Maybe not just the most popular ones since they already get “special treatment” due to their gigantic user base, but diverse ones. Maybe also the devs for the add-ons that you use yourself? 😉

    Anyway I also second the opinion that the lack of add-ons on Android has made it feel like I’m just using Chrome rather than a super powerful browser like on the desktop.

    1. Juha-Matti Santala wrote on

      Hey Jotaf!

      Thanks for the welcome and your ideas for community outreach, much appreciated. Reaching out to developers and building good relationships with them to better understand their needs and opinions is definitely an important part of the equation going forward.

      I do want to re-emphasize here too that if any add-on developer sees this comment and wants to get in touch, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m more than happy to discuss add-on stuff with you and to hear your opinions and concerns. There’s no add-on developer who’s not “big enough” or “important enough” to reach out: I’m here for all devs, whether your add-on has 1 user or a few million users – or if you’re just taking your first steps into all of this.

  5. Ian Miller wrote on

    Welcome Juhis!!! I’m hoping you can help us get some more info on timeline around MV3 release.

    Back in May, the communication on MV3 was that it would be released to all users by the end of 2022. In the May post, it read, “As we get closer to completion, we will follow up with more detail on timing and how we will support extensions through the transition.”

    We got an update in early June that dev preview was available but I’m very eager to make plans for next year as we’re developing some extensions for partners and we need to decide whether to do so in mv2 or mv3. We would strongly prefer to make them in mv3 as the design would more closely mirror out work in Safari extension mv3 and Chrome extension mv3. Developing as an MV2 extension would require significant rework from our “baseline” extension.

    Can you provide any updated timeline for MV3 release?

    1. Juha-Matti Santala wrote on

      Hey Ian!

      Unfortunately I don’t have news on more detailed timeline for you yet. The May 18th blog post and June 8th blog post are still the current updates.

      I can tell that team has been working all this time to get Firefox closer to MV3 release and we will be sharing more about that once we get a bit closer.