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Friday,October 18,2019


Mozilla Lets You Build Your Own Add-ons for Firefox Browser

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In the ongoing browser wars among Mozilla's Firefox, Chrome, IE8 and other for marketshare, Mozilla has played a masterstroke by releasing a plug-in that will allow 'anyone who can build a web page' to build and deploy their own add-ons. While both IE8 and Chrome have downplayed add-ons for the sake of browsing speed, Mozilla's attempt -- at allowing everyday programmers a dead simple way to develop light weight add-ons -- might well ensure they stay well ahead of the pack.

If you know enough HTML, CSS and Javascript to build a web site, you can now use a Firefox plug-in called JetPack to build your own add-ons for the Firefox browser. And what's more -- the newly developed add-ons will not slow down your browsing experience. In a nutshell, the new tools are designed to put an end to end users having to restart their browser when installing, enabling, disabling or deleting an add-on. It is also meant to solve compatibility issues between older add-ons and newly released versions of Firefox.

The current 0.1 release of Jetpack serves as a prototype. In its current form, it allows anyone to use an API to build statusbars, work with tabs, content-scripts, animations and more. AJAX and newer tags like 'canvas', 'audio', 'video' are also supported. The API also comes with jQuery support, the HTML 5-based inline JavaScript code editor Bespin as its programming front-end, and the popular Firebug as its inline debugger.

Mozilla says that using the Jetpack API is so easy that some features can be put together in just twelve lines of code or less. This tutorial explains how to make a Jetpack Feature that removes all embeds — Flash movies and such — from a particular page or all websites, how to use the Twitter library, how to make an email notifier, and how to distribute the new Jetpack feature.

So go on and strap on Jetpack to your browser and try out some of the Jetpack-based features, like the Gmail Notifier that displays icon with number of unread emails with a notification when new mail or new chat messages are received, and clicking it will take you to your Gmail tab. Then there is a Gmail chat notifier displays a notification bubble when chat messages are received in Gmail's built-in chat. There one for Weather that shows the weather forecast for your location in your statusbar, and another one for Facebook that allows you to use your name within your Facebook status, for example, "Did you see that cool Jetpack addon Aza Raskin and his design team made?"

Third-party browser extensions are one of the biggest selling points for Firefox users. To date, Firefox's 8,000 developer-strong community has created 12,000 add-ons, Mozilla logged more than a billion add-on downloads in the last four years. The simplicity Jetpack brings should allow for some exciting developments in a very short amount of time.

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