Firefox 3 Add-ons Manager is almighty too

Firefox add-ons iconFirefox Add-ons Manager has finally got extended to feature complete integration with Mozilla Add-ons (AMO) site through a new page added to the Add-ons Manager.

The Get Add-ons page features a search box, a browse all add-ons link that takes you to Mozilla Add-ons, and a list of recommended extensions and themes by default.

Enter a search term, press the search button and a list of matching themes and extensions compatible with your Firefox version is returned with the add-on name, its icon, a brief description and current rating. Click on an add-on for a more detailed description, a thumbnail, and a button to install the add-on without leaving Firefox.

Firefox 3 Add-ons manager

My only suggestion would be to add some visual cue that the add-on is either an extension or a theme before having to select it.

The theme installation processed has also been simplified. In the past, when you installed a new theme, you were prompted to restart only to find that the new theme was not displayed. You had to activate it from the Themes page and restart Firefox yet again. Now, installed themes are automatically activated!

Also, the restart button has been moved to the information bar to drive more attention.

Firefox 3 Add-ons Manager restart button

And don’t forget a couple of features introduced in the past. First, a new Plugins page was added to make plugins enabling and disabling a dead simple task.

Second, add-ons updates are much more secure since they require either to happen over an encrypted connection (to block malicious sites purporting the update site) or the add-on developer to sign it with a digital signature so updates can be verified to be from the same source.

There’s also good news in the add-ons compatibility front as Blog of Metrics reported last week that 40% of the add-ons that represent 95% of Mozilla Add-ons usage are already compatible with Firefox 3 Beta 2, the latest development release. And the picture should get even better as developer documentation gets updated and events like today’s Add-ons Hygiene and the announced Extend Firefox 3 contest take place.

That’s for yet another almighty feature for Firefox 3. Hopefully the search plugins manager will make its way to the Add-ons Manager on time for the final release.

22 thoughts on “Firefox 3 Add-ons Manager is almighty too”

  1. Great! I read about them planning to include this interface, but I had forgotten about it.

    And it’s nice to hear that they’ve squashed the annoyance of the double restarts with themes.

  2. The next step forward would be not having to restart at all when installing new themes and extensions. It can be done.
    Either way, good move forward. I am looking forward to fx3b3.

  3. Any chance of an upgrade to the AMO site to let you search for add-ons by compatibility? Lots of FF2 stuff doesn’t run on FF3. It would be nice if there was a separate category for FF3 compatible add-ons to ease finding stuff that worked in it.

  4. DMcCunney, not sure it it’s on the plans but I’d guess it shouldn’t be very hard since the Add-ons Manager gets only compatible results. I also hope to see it soon there.

  5. I cant get any of the addons to install. Can anyone tell me why? Keeps telling me I have a error 203

    1. hey rassie
      even i keep on getting tht error n firefox prompts me to restart again n again but nothing happens..

  6. I like the new add on manager’s separate “extensions” section, it makes it easier to diagnose stupid flash player errors (IE making sure I have the newest version of flash player installed and stuff).

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