Looking at my responses to my previous post, it seems pretty clear that a lot of people simply don’t understand why companies stay on old technology. I have some other thoughts I’d like to give on Mozilla and enterprise, but before I do that, let’s talk about the why.
I’ve been writing a blog post about this in my head for a while, but after glazman’s post, I definitely feel I need to weigh in.
My opinion of the new rapid release process depends on which hat I wear. So I’ll offer three opinions.
I’ve updated the CCK Wizard for Firefox 5 and placed it here.
The main change is that you can now explicitly specify the Firefox min and maxVersion when you create your XPI. It defaults to * for maxVersion so it will work on all future versions of Firefox.
So I’ve been thinking about add-on versioning for Firefox going forward and I’m starting to think that maybe it’s being done backwards.
Right now we have to change either our add-on, an updateURL or AMO every time a new Firefox is released (every 6 weeks). Wouldn’t it make more sense to mark an add-on as compatible with every future version of Firefox (maxVersion of *)? Then you’d only need to do anything if you realize your add-on is NOT compatible, not change something for every version of Firefox…
Update:I just want to clarify when this method can be used. Obviously a web page can’t update preferences in Firefox. We had a unique situation where a web page notified the browser of a change that allowed us to update a preference. It wasn’t a lot of preferences. There is a lot of debate over having web pages message add-ons in this manner.
A few of the add-ons I’ve developed use web pages for their options rather than having them in a dialog. Unfortunately, when you use a regular web page as an optionsURL in your install manifest, it’s opened up in a separate window that doesn’t have scroll bars and doesn’t work properly. Here’s a workaround.
I recently had the need to send a CSV file from my add-on to a PHP server and was looking for an easier way than constructing a POST request. I discovered that XMLHttpRequest has an API for this called sendAsBinary(). Using the API on the client side was easy, but figuring out how to get the file from PHP was a little tougher, so I thought I would share the information on my blog.
Have you ever needed to customize Firefox for deployment with in your organization or even to your family? That’s what the CCK Wizard is all about. It allows you to create an add-on that customizes Firefox. You can learn more about what it does at addons.mozilla.org.
I’ve recently updated the CCK Wizard for Firefox 4 and have made a beta available. You can click here to install it. Once everything looks good with the beta, I’ll put it on AMO.
So what’s the future of the CCK Wizard?
You might not realize it, but Firefox has some mouse shortcuts for when you are opening a web page from the bookmarks toolbar. If you hold down Shift when you click, the link opens in a new window. If you hold down Command or Ctrl when you click, the link opens in a new background tab. If you hold down Command or Ctrl plus Shift when you click, the link opens in a new foreground tab. So how do you honor these different options when you are opening web pages in your add-on? You use the function
I created an add-on last year for Firefox that displays your XBox Live friends in Firefox. I recently updated it for Firefox 4 and added a few features. So if you’re an XBox Live user, check out XFox Live on AMO.