MozillaLabs released Jetpack – a lightweight way of extending the browser. It’s essentially an API that allows you to write extensions for Firefox with web technologies. You can check out the video here:
Mozilla Labs Jetpack – Intro & Tutorial from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.
While you’re at it you should also read the guiding principles.
What I want to do here is list what I want from a lightweight extending system (in no specific order):
- Only web technologies should be used in the development process (CHECK)
- Installing as easy as Greasemonkey user scripts (CHECK)
- Should take care that add-on authors don’t need to update for every version (CHECK)
- Provides local storage and cross-domain posting capabilities
- Add-on updates are handled automatically
- Central add-on repository with usage & install statistics
- Easy access to add-on options (think options button in add-ons list)
- Possibility to use web pages as configuration interfaces for add-on settings
My current way of creating Firefox add-ons is to build Greasemonkey user scripts and compiling them to add-ons into a full .xpi. This provides a good framework to add other things that normal Greasemonkey scripts cannot do.
As I checked Jetpack I missed a lot of the things from the list – too many to be able to create a Jetpack version of Tweecious. Since it’s still in 0.1 my hopes are still high.
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