Meet the new Firefox Add-ons Manager

It has taken a long time for the Firefox team to come up with a significant update to the Add-ons Manager, but it’s finally coming to Firefox.next. It looks and works great and there are a lot of opportunities for the new interface.

The Add-ons Manager as you knew it is gone. The new version works in a tab with a sidebar to choose what kinds of add-ons you want to work with: Languages, Extensions, Themes, and Plugins. Plus the Get Add-ons section that integrates with Mozilla Add-ons (not hooked yet) for the fastest, easiest experience.

New Firefox.next Add-ons manager

The Main addition to the AM is (finally) a section for search engines management, becoming a real add-ons central.

Right now you can only remove a search engine from there (or undo it, though it doesn’t work yet). You can’t organize search engines, ask for search suggestions, set a keyword, or restore the default search engines, so it’s not a replacement for the current search engine manager yet. It’s also somewhat buggy. For example, it shows search engine sizes in the order of megabytes, which makes no sense as they are only a few kilobytes XML files.

Also, I don’t know if there are plans for an Add-ons Manager button (which would be very useful according to Mozilla metrics numbers that suggests it’s one of the most used menu items), but it would be easy to do so with a bookmark pointing to about:addons, the new special address.

Changes are not limited to the UI but there’s also “a totally new extension manager backend that will make it easier for us to improve and build upon in the future.”, noted Dave Townsend on a blog post.

Among improvements to come are support for jetpacks (or light extensions) at some point scheduled for Firefox 4, silent extension updates (optionally), and ,hopefully, a streamlined interface for add-ons configuration.

It’s also worth noting neither the icons, nor graphics are final here.

This is a great time to help test the new AM. Mozilla QA has prepared a new Add-ons Manager Test Day for tomorrow April 30th.


17 Comments

  1. meestule April 30, 2010 3:30 am 

    Next step would be applying the same concept also to the preferences.

  2. David Naylor April 30, 2010 5:05 am 

    Yay, silent updates! Anyone with more than five extensions gets pretty tired of constantly having to click through the download-install boxes when launching Firefox.

    • Ray R. May 1, 2010 6:23 pm 

      I have 30-40 add-ons over 4 separate profiles–2 computers each with Fx and Trunk installed–and, interesting, I’m not “constantly” updating add-ons. I maintain an offline archive of the add-on xpi and jar files–a built-in add-on archiving utility like MR Tech Toolkit used to have functional would be worthwhile for me–and use some custom “Sendto’s” to shoot copies to the appropriate extensions folder of each profile. When one of the browsers (re)starts, it sees the files there and prompts me to install it.

      More often than not the first I see that one of my add-ons has an update available is on the RSS feed of new and updated add-ons. That is probably why I have gone more this route than sticking with updating from within the browser.

      I hope that “silent” updating is off by default as my philosophy is that the user should always be kept informed as to what is going on with their systems unless they decide not to be informed, but maybe that is just me.

  3. Jal April 30, 2010 5:29 am 

    Apart from silent updates, we also need a Addon installation without the need of having to restart the browser. Any chances of having that implemented ??

  4. Jany April 30, 2010 8:39 am 

    WOOOOT Now its much better.

  5. Scott April 30, 2010 12:20 pm 

    Very exciting. What theme is being used in the post image?

    • Percy Cabello April 30, 2010 12:36 pm 

      Scott, it is the updated default theme for Windows. There’s still a lot of details to go though.

  6. pveera April 30, 2010 6:38 pm 

    I think the main thing you people have to fix is the annoying “The following add-ons have updates” dialog that launches at startup.

    It is very annoying because it does not take me to the browser directly. I have to click on so many buttons before I can go the site I want.

  7. Dwight Stegall April 30, 2010 7:30 pm 

    I like it just the way it is. I wish they wouldn’t waste their working on functions that aren’t broken.

    • Nuss May 1, 2010 3:39 am 

      Well, if the Add-ons manager isn’t broken, nothing is broken in Firefox.

  8. Marti Martz May 1, 2010 3:07 am 

    Hopefully the silent updates can be turned off… several people I know, including myself, prefer to have a choice in the matter as not every addon should be updated without user intervention.

  9. pd May 1, 2010 10:31 am 

    @Dwight: Couldn’t agree more.

    So the Add-ons manager is a web page now, big deal. Ok it adds some things that would have been easy enough to add tot he existing one. So?

    Just yet another case of “oooh look what the Jones’ are doing, we better get that too”. If only Mozilla would apply that ‘policy’ to H.264!

  10. Ray R. May 1, 2010 6:32 pm 

    Don’t forget, What you see is not all you get. As Percy quotes from Dave Townsend’s blog on this saying there are changes to the backend that are as much of this change as the AoMUI.

  11. alwaysright May 7, 2010 5:52 am 

    looks like a pile of shit for retards!

    go get the addon “all in one sidebar” for firefox, that is how the addons layout should be (in the fucking sidebar!, well designed and not wasting space), not this big oversized shite pile for retarded noobs to use.

  12. Ryan Li May 13, 2010 10:18 pm 

    You are now working too far.
    It no longer looks like a desktop application.
    I would switch to Epiphany if this ugly trend continues.

  13. Sohail Mirza July 5, 2010 1:51 pm 

    Can someone point me to the rationale for the new Addon Manager UI? What’s the reason from the departure from the XUL-based addon manager in favour of an HTML-based one?

    Btw, am I alone in my disdain for the new UI?

  14. Robin September 29, 2010 8:30 pm 

    Whoever at Mozilla thought this new add-on manager was a good idea should be shot.

Comments are closed.