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Mozilla To Add Chrome Extensions, Developers Not Happy

The decision makers at the parent company of popular web browser Firefox have decided to update their add-on and extension infrastructure, bringing more capabilities to the browser but also deprecating the framework behind its current extension system.

Firefox’s Mozilla  bosses are calling the new extension infrastructure “WebExtensions API”, according to Tech Crunch. The move is one that Firefox says is necessary for compatibility with other browsers like Chrome and Opera.

Developers have long known that writing extensions for Firefox has been more difficult than writing code for the same extensions in Google’s Chrome browser. Part of the reason is that Firefox employs XPCOM and XUL for building extensions for users.

Developers who want to create extensions with WebExtensions API will have to submit their extensions to Mozilla and get them approved before the WebExtensions API-enable Firefox 41 releases next month.

Mozilla spokesperson Kev Needham was quoted by ZDNet as saying the company is investing extra resources into the new extensions platform so they can “work with the community” to work out bugs and provide a quality customer experience.

We’re making a big investment by expanding the team of engineers, add-on reviewers, and evangelists who work on add-ons and support the community that develops them. They will work with the community to improve and finalize the WebExtensions application programming interface (API).

Yet not everyone is happy about the new move. Some developers say that moving from XPCOM and XUL toward their new API platform is a death sentence for the company because they’re trying to emulate Google with their extension system.

Nils Maier, a developer who likes XPCOM and XUL, was quoted as saying that once Mozilla axes XPCOM and XUL extensions, he will “abandon ship for sure.”

Once that happens, I will abandon ship for sure. Simply because I cannot continue developing most add-ons at all as they will not and cannot fit into any “WebExtensions” API.

Firefox said that they will begin to phase out XPCOM and XUL enxtensions between 12 and 18 months from now.

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