Firefox add-ons keep the web open, connected, and decentralized
Mozilla fights for a Web that’s open and interoperable. This keeps your online experience consistent and full of possibility.
We’ve long done this through our support for Web standards. These guidelines ensure that the same code can run in every browser. Web standards contribute to making the Web one complete experience, no matter which door you go through to access it.
Now we’ve added to our commitment by modernizing our add-on technology so web extensions can be interoperable as well.
Don’t know about web extensions? In Firefox we call them add-ons. Some of the coolest innovations happen in browser extensions — think Grammarly, Pocket, uBlock and more.
A smidge of extensions history
The Internet was built on the idea that anyone might create the next big thing. Firefox was the first browser to open itself up for developers to write extensions. Then Chrome came along and they also allowed people to write extensions. Others have followed.
But having developers write code for browser extensions that work only on a single browser or device works against the interests of all of us who want a Web experience that is basically the same across browsers, hardware, and operating systems.
It’s also a pain in the rump for developers. Increasingly, they have had to write code separately for each browser, which takes time, money, and effort. We need to end this mishegas.
Shouldn’t your favorite extensions work on any browser, across any device?
Now in Nightly (the test version of Firefox) and soon in Firefox itself, only extensions built with the WebExtensions API will work. It sounds nerdy, I know, but you might find it interesting that the WebExtensions API is a cross-browser system for developing extensions that work on desktop devices and on any browser that supports the APIs those extensions use.
This a big win for developers, Internet health and consumers. It’s also an example of how Mozilla tries to walk our talk. We build interoperability into our own products like Firefox, and empower web developers through initiatives like the Mozilla Developer Network. And now we are championing an open web by moving to extensions that work on Firefox — and those of our competitors.
So the next time you install a new add-on, please take a second to think about the beauty of the open web and how it makes it easy for everyone to build, surf, and thrive on the Internet.
- If you’re a developer, please check out this blog that unpacks the extension shift.
- Here’s a great video for the rest of us.