AutoAuth, Comment Snob, Feed Sidebar, Links Like This, Mozilla, Mozilla Add-ons, Mozilla Firefox, OPML Support, RSS Ticker, YouTube Comment Snob

My Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons

Note: AutoAuth is now being developed by Steffan Schlein. If you would like to leave feedback, please create an issue on GitHub.

Mozilla announced today that add-ons that depend on XUL, XPCOM, or XBL will be deprecated and subsequently incompatible with future versions of Firefox:

Consequently, we have decided to deprecate add-ons that depend on XUL, XPCOM, and XBL. We don’t have a specific timeline for deprecation, but most likely it will take place within 12 to 18 months from now. We are announcing the change now so that developers can prepare and offer feedback.

In response to this announcement, I’ve taken the step of discontinuing all of my Firefox add-ons. They all depend on XUL or XPCOM, so there’s no sense in developing them for the next year only to see them become non-functional. AutoAuth, Comment Snob, Feed Sidebar, Links Like This, OPML Support, RSS Ticker, and Tab History Redux should be considered unsupported as of now. (If for any reason, you’d like to take over development of any of them, e-mail me.)

While I don’t like Mozilla’s decision (and I don’t think it’s the best thing for the future of Firefox), I understand it; there’s a lot of innovation that could happen in Web browser technology that is stifled because of a decade-old add-on model. I only hope that the strides a lighter-weight Firefox can make will outweigh the loss of the thousands of add-ons that made it as popular as it is today.


21 comments on “My Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons

  1. nonqu says:

    Could you bring those add-ons back on AMO? While I understand your position, there are Firefox forks like Pale Moon that work with Firefox extensions and will retain xul support. Right now the users didn’t even have a chance to backup the xpi.

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  3. Christopher,

    This is disappointing news but it is understandable. Thank you for the great add-ons that you have developed to enrich the Firefox browsing experience. For me, I will definitely mourn the retirement of RSS Ticketer.

  4. Your addons are awesome man. Hang in there don’t abandon yet. Because we have no other browser other then Firefox when it comes to not getting our data stolen by Google and sold by Google for profit. Google won’t even listen to feedback.

    I think Mozilla posted this specifically to get feedback and it’s not guranteed to happen.

    I think I see this being a fourth option to classic overlay, classic bootstrap, addon-sdk, webextensions api.

    The WebExtAPI will let new kids get involved real fast and bring over addons from other browser to Firefox. I have no problem with this. I just need all my the old stuff working in a Servo-ized environment. I can’t live without.

    So anyways let’s not make any decisions! It’s just feedback! We users need your addons! :(

  5. formeruser says:

    I hope that with your knowledge, the last thing that you do for FF is at least suggest them what kind of APIs they should provide, regardless of whether they will listen or not. Thanks for RSSTicker.

  6. Steffen says:

    it`s sad that you had to decide not to maintain your excellent addons any longer due to the upcoming deprecation of XUL-based add-ons but never the less it`s totally understandable.
    I`ve been using RSS Ticker now for quite a long time and it was always one of my favourite addons which prevented me from even trying Chrome. ;)

    Because of that I wanted to thank you for all the time and effort you`ve been spending to develope all those free addons for the community in your leisure time.

    Yours sincerely

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  8. Guillatore says:

    Don’t put them ever back on addons mozilla. There is github for devs who won’t play along with the depotism Mozilla pulls up.

  9. tom says:

    hi chris,

    I am not affiliated with ff nor do i have any experience with ff extension dev. I would like to encourage you to think about your decision. maybe put the effort on one or two mostly used plugins you have writte. but please see it from another perspective. if ff looses the competitiveness , due to sticking to old standards that are overhauled. nothing is one. ff will evern more loose ground against chrome. and chrome and google are not good for the world. chrome is driven by a big monopolist. sometimes hard decisions are important. so please keep supporting ff by further developing your extensions. the world needs firefox as a competitive browser (and technology) and people like you that make firefox better. firefox and you are contributing to making this planet a better world (chrom does not). I know it from myself, having to spend so much time constantly learning new stuff, but thats the disadvantage of our job. thanks tom

  10. Harald says:

    Im not to much in plugin development but is it really that hard to port them over to the new API? Shouldnt be a big deal IMHO.

    • It would be a big deal — imagine building a house out of wood and drywall and then being told that it needs to be rebuilt with a special house-building kit that is only sold at IKEA. And also, all houses built out of wood will be condemned in 18 months.

  11. Loved this Ticker – I don’t know how I am going to live without it! If you ever decide to resuscitate, please do let your fans know. I’ll be happy to pay for it too!

    And thanx for providing my favorite Firefox add-on.

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