Collecting Add-ons In More Applications

If you are an add-on fan and missed the Mozilla Add-ons blog post about the new Add-on Collector release (1.1), be sure and go and read it:

Add-on Collector now supports Thunderbird, Seamonkey, and Mobile

This is a project that Dave and I at Briks really enjoy working on. The challenge for this release was making it work with Thunderbird (TB) 2, and mobile support. Thunderbird 2 uses the Mozilla 1.8 branch which meant that the Add-on window overlay code was different. We threw away the overlay bindings and built them from scratch. It’s rarely fun supporting old platforms, but when we started the port TB3 was not out yet. TB3, and Seamonkey (SM), in comparison was a breeze as the toolkit code is the same as Firefox 3.x. Thanks to Igor Velkov for the SM patch.

Technical glitches aside, the Collector does in TB and SB exactly what it does in Firefox, allowing you to subscribe to collections, install add-on from collection, and share. On mobile it is a lot simpler, you just get to sync a particular collection from your subscriptions. Quite useful if you find useful add-ons when browsing and don’t have your mobile device with you. Extensions sync is not something Weave Sync does yet.

One technical note if you are supporting Firefox desktop and mobile in an add-on: If you need to fork JavaScript, you can’t anymore use nsIXULAppInfo.name to identify the platform. It used to return ‘Fennec’ but is now ‘Firefox’. Use nsIXULAppInfo.ID instead.

The Collector add-on interacts via a Collections API with the the Mozilla Add-ons site. Did I mention It is available in 27 languages? ! If you have not tried Collections yet, go and check them out. Create some for yourself, share with friends, family or the world.

Check out the Briks Collection.

Some answers to random questions:

Q. Why does the desktop Collector not allow you to install all add-ons in a collection.

A. We have reservations about the post-install first-run experience, as outlined here.

Q. I can’t log in. What do I do?

Note that you should be using your Mozilla Add-ons site credentials. The previous version (1.0.4) had some known login issues, but 1.1 should be more reliable. If you are still having issues, please file a bug (Product=addons.mozilla.org, Component=Collector Extension).

Q. Where has the ‘Get Add-ons’ panel gone?

It has been renamed to ‘Search’ and moved to the end.

See the list of all open Collector bugs.

15 Replies to “Collecting Add-ons In More Applications”

  1. > If you need to fork JavaScript, you can’t anymore use nsIXULAppInfo.name to
    > identify the platform. It used to return ‘Fennec’ but is now ‘Firefox’. Use
    > nsIXULAppInfo.ID instead.

    Really? I wouldn’t have guessed that. I thought nsIXULAppInfo pulls it’s data from application.ini and we should be using Name=Fennec, even in official branding builds.

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