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

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.

AutoAuth, Browser Add-ons, Feed Sidebar,, Links Like This, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, OPML, Programming, RSS Ticker now speaks Mozillian

My browser extension translation platform,, is now able to parse locale files from extensions for Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, or any other Mozilla-powered program, and it can likewise generate Mozilla-compatible locale files. The interface for translation is the same as the one for translating Chrome extensions, but when the locales are downloaded via the API, the files are returned in the format in which they were originally uploaded (either DTD files or Java-style .properties files).

This is most obviously introducing a competitor to Babelzilla, the only major site offering a translation platform for Mozilla extensions. Babelzilla is a functionally sufficient solution for translation (I’ve used it without much issue for almost six years), but I’m moving away from it for two reasons:

  1. Translation/localization is a problem that I’d like to understand better, and I find the best way to understand a problem is to try and solve it yourself.
  2. I think that the experience of localizing an extension (or developing a localizable extension) can be better, and I have the hubris to think that I can be the one to make it better.

In the spirit of putting my money1 where my mouth2 is, I’ve moved five of my Firefox extensions (AutoAuth, Feed Sidebar, OPML Support, RSS Ticker, and Links Like This) from Babelzilla to

If you are interested in trying, upload your extension (either using the Web form or API), and let me know how it works for you.

  1. For extremely small values of “money.”
  2. For extremely large values of “mouth.”
AutoAuth, Browser Add-ons, Mozilla, Mozilla Add-ons, Mozilla Fennec, Mozilla Firefox, Slashdotter, TwitterBar, YouTube Comment Snob

Four More Fennec Add-ons

Update: TwitterBar for Firefox was sold to HootSuite and renamed HootBar in March of 2011. TwitterBar for Chrome was discontinued in October of 2012.

I got some great feedback after I updated URL Fixer to be compatible with Fennec, Mozilla’s mobile browser, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve been able to add Fennec compatibility to four more add-ons:

So far, I’ve found it pretty easy to port add-ons to Fennec, with the following caveats:

  • You can’t install add-ons in Fennec by opening them from your computer; I wrote a script to copy the add-on directly into the Fennec profile, much like an add-on IV drip – straight into the bloodstream!
  • There’s no easy access to the error console , but you can open it manually if you grab the address from Firefox.
  • No DOM Inspector. For now, just browse the source.

It seems that all of these issues could be solved with a “Fennec Add-on Development” extension; maybe that will be my next project, unless easier solutions already exist.

AutoAuth, Browser Add-ons, Feed Sidebar, RSS Ticker

Translation Tuesday

There are a number of extension updates available today simply due to new translations:

AutoAuth 1.1.1

  • French (fr-FR)
  • Dutch (nl-NL)
  • Spanish (es-ES)
  • Japanese (ja-JP)
  • Portuguese (pt-PT)

Feed Sidebar 1.1.1

  • German (de-DE)
  • French (fr-FR)
  • Dutch (nl-NL)
  • Italian (it-IT)
  • Japanese (ja-JP)
  • Russian (ru-RU)

RSS Ticker 1.9.1

  • French (fr-FR)

The updates can be downloaded from each add-on’s respective homepage or via your browser’s auto-update feature for extensions. Thank you to the translators at BabelZilla for all their hard work.

AutoAuth, Browser Add-ons

AutoAuth updated with suggestion feature

I’ve updated the AutoAuth Firefox extension with a “suggestion” feature: if no username/password is saved for a site, AutoAuth will supply a menu of other usernames that you’ve saved for the site’s other subdomains, along with an “Autofill” button to quickly use one of those suggestions to authenticate for the new subdomain.

AutoAuth Firefox extension

For example, if you are trying to access and there is no username and password saved for it, AutoAuth will give you a list of usernames that you’ve saved for and * (including *.* Just select the username that you want to use for and press hte “Autofill” button to fill in the form and submit it.

The newest version of AutoAuth can be installed from the AutoAuth homepage.

AutoAuth, Browser Add-ons, Feed Sidebar, Mozilla Firefox

Extension Updates: Feed Sidebar and AutoAuth

I’ve pushed out updates to two of my Firefox extensions: AutoAuth and Feed Sidebar (formerly Feedbar).

AutoAuth 1.0.1 includes a fix for a bug that was causing about:config dialogs for modifying values to close as soon as they were opened.

Feed Sidebar 1.0.1 brings the extension out of alpha, and it includes several new locales, a spiffy new toolbar, and general bug fixes.

Both extensions can be downloaded from their homepages (AutoAuth, Feed Sidebar), and AutoAuth can be downloaded from Mozilla Addons as well.

AutoAuth, Browser Add-ons, Flock, Ideas, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape Navigator, Software

New browser extension: AutoAuth

AutoAuth is an extension for Mozilla-based Web browsers that automatically submits HTTP authentication dialogs when you’ve chosen to have the browser save your login information. (If you’ve already told the browser what your username and password are, and you’ve told it to remember that username and password, why not just have it automatically submit it instead of asking you each time?)

The extension is pretty simple right now (very simple, actually), but I think it has the potential to become a very useful base for enhancing the HTTP authentication process in the browser. For example, a future feature might add the ability to specify login credentials for wildcard subdomains, so that once you’ve entered a password for, you don’t have to manually re-enter that password for,,, if they all take the same username/password pair. Just tell AutoAuth the username and password to use for *, and let it do the work.

You can install AutoAuth from the AutoAuth homepage. (AutoAuth is compatible with Firefox 1.5 and 2, Netscape Navigator 9, and Flock.)