Firefox 57 will disable “legacy” plugin API. NoScript is one of the top Firefox extensions.
Some of the APIs required for full parity with the legacy version won’t land until Firefox 57.
Hey, Mozilla, don’t you think that at least one release with full parity for the top extensions would ease the upgrade burden for your users? sigh
Garrett LeSage September 12, 2017 08:14
Hopefully big extensions like NoScript will be ported soon.
Meanwhile, there’s another extension which can do what NoScript does; it’s called uMatrix (it’s made by the author of uBlock Origin), and there’s a F57+ version in the development channel at the bottom of the page @
Michael K Johnson September 12, 2017 08:17
Oh, noscript is being ported. It’s just that full parity isn’t going to be available until the last minute. This is a Mozilla thing, not a noscript thing!
Garrett LeSage September 12, 2017 08:23
Yeah, totally. I love pretty much everything they’re doing in F57 (running Nightly for a while now), but I don’t love is the deprecation of the old extensions with such a small window of time.
With regard to theme support, it’s even worse: they’re 100% breaking all theme support with no fix (yet). It’s frustrating, so we all kind of stopped working on the GNOME theme when we found out about it. HOWEVER, Firefox 57+ will feel much less alien in GNOME when it arrives, at least.
 worse in the way it’s handled… but extensions are the more important type of add-ons, really, compared to themes, so in the big picture, it’s not really worse impact-wise
 real theme support, not that graphic-as-a-distracting-wallpaper thing
Michael K Johnson September 12, 2017 08:56
For the average end user, the rich extension ecosystem is really one of the key benefits of Firefox. If their goal is to alienate their existing user base without giving users of other browsers a compelling reason to switch, I’ll bet the way this transition is being handled will be a howling success.
I totally get the need to address technical debt and the itch to get rid of it quickly. But risking the eyes that basically are the currency that pays for the mozilla-employed developer salaries scares me because I want to see Firefox live a long life…
Garrett LeSage September 12, 2017 15:02
Yep, I fully agree.
On the other hand, I guess if Mozilla didn’t quickly do something dramatic with Firefox, they would arguably lose their userbase faster. I suppose they weighed the costs and hoped that there will be enough of an ecosystem with WebExtensions when Firefox 57 lands and that they may entice Chrome users to switch back while keeping enough of their existing base.
Firefox 57 isn’t around for a little while yet (except for us early adopters) and developers of most prominent extensions have been scrambling to make new ones that work well in time for the release.
It does help that Mozilla’s implementation of WebExtensions is mainly compatible with Chrome’s format (with a bit more APIs sprinkled on top). As most of the major extension authors have two codebases to support both Firefox and Chrome, they’re mostly happy with consolidating it into one codebase to maintain that will work on both browsers. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.
Between right now and the release of Firefox 57, the pain is mainly felt by early adopters and the developers who don’t already have a Chrome extension — especially those devs who have more complex extensions.
I hope Mozilla bet well with this somewhat risky “Hail Mary” and Firefox actually manages to increase its userbase.
Garrett LeSage September 12, 2017 15:04
If Mozilla made a big buzz around Firefox 57 with its speed, stability, and security improvements yet kept old extensions, it would really hurt their messaging.
So, yeah, it’s possibly going to be painful (we’ll have to wait and see)… but at least it’s understandable as to why they’re kicking old extensions out.
Michael K Johnson September 12, 2017 17:17
Yeah, I think we’re on the same page generally.
I’m just thinking one release cycle with the top fifty extensions before and after Firefox update to avoid update problems. I’m worried that “Firefox temporarily broken” will translate to users leaving Firefox and never learning that things are ok a day or a week later…
I’m totally on board with proper APIs and contracts and clean design and all that jazz! I’m amazed that the old system lasted as long as it did. It always seemed to me like a quick requirements-gathering prototype that never was resolved. :)
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