Mozilla is making some major changes to its Firefox browser, including one change that could shake up the browser competition.
Attention Firefox users: some very big changes are coming to your browser.
And that’ll be good news if you also like Chrome, because part of Mozilla’s changes involve changing the way Firefox uses add-ons in the future, allowing you to stick on extensions that formerly only worked on Chrome, according to a Tech Crunch report.
The big changes is a new extension API that will be compatible with Blink-based browsers, which includes Google’s Chrome as well as the Opera browser. Called WebExtensions API, it will allow developers to easily make changes to add-ons in order for it to work on Firefox, a much more complex process in the past.
Why the change? Kev Needham, a Mozilla exec, said in an announcement that the purpose is to free up development of add-ons, expanding options for both developers and consumers. In the past, developers needed to work within Firefox’s system in order to take advantage of all the features. Now, the company will sacrifice that in exchange for a freer development environment.
It had always been easier to write extensions for Chrome because Firefox used XPCOM and XUL to build interfaces, allowing greater access to Firefox features but complicating the process.
However, there is a downside. Now Mozilla will need to review and sign off on extensions before deploying them, a process that will have to be done manually and could take quite a while — potentially weeks or even months. The company hopes to introduce some automation to the process and possible get the review time down to five days. In addition, Mozilla is hoping WebExtensions API will allow quicker reviews of add-ons for Firefox.