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[proposal] Add support for mobile Firefox add-ons to the Sailfish browser

asked 2013-12-25 06:44:02 +0300

shmerl gravatar image

updated 2014-11-26 10:47:33 +0300

eric gravatar image

There are great add-ons such as Adblock plus which would enhance the browser functionality siginficantly. The engine should support them theoretically, but there needs to be a UI for managing them.

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This is something that I have been waiting since the native browser is based on Gecko engine used for example in Firefox. A good menu to install and uninstall add-ons is also needed to maintaing these too.

TimTTK ( 2014-01-22 23:37:16 +0300 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2014-01-21 20:07:19 +0300

PyroDevil gravatar image

updated 2014-01-21 21:14:29 +0300

I was able to install Adblock Plus into the Browser, but I could only add blocklists by copying the 'patterns.ini' from my Firefox profile into the Sailfish browser profile.

I could install the extension by opening a new tab on the "install"-button. Pressing the 'Add filter subscription' button in the filter-preferences of Adblock Plus, reachable via 'about:addons', did nothing.

Enabling ssh and copying it with:

$ scp ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/adblockplus/patterns.ini nemo@

Added all filters I needed. ;)

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It's good to know that it works out of the box. Some UI for managing add-ons would make it easier to use.

shmerl ( 2014-01-21 20:14:56 +0300 )edit

I agree! And it needs more settings, because 'about:config' is not usable! Manually editing 'pref.js' is a real pain.

PyroDevil ( 2014-01-21 20:18:16 +0300 )edit

I wasn't able to add other addons though. I tried disconnect and RES with no success.

PyroDevil ( 2014-01-21 21:30:14 +0300 )edit

I think only add-ons which use new Mozilla API can work (i.e. former JetPack): https://wiki.mozilla.org/Jetpack

I suspect it also has to be bootstrapped: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/Bootstrapped_extensions?redirectlocale=en-US&redirectslug=Add-ons%2FBootstrapped_extensions

shmerl ( 2014-01-21 21:38:00 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-08 20:40:27 +0300

To manually install firefox extensions, I've used the snippet from http://kb.mozillazine.org/Determine_extension_ID to get the extension id, then uncompressing to /home/nemo/.mozilla/mozembed/extensions/extensionid .

If about:addons says the app is incompatible with "Nightly 23.0", something like the following overrides the version check (toolkit@mozilla.org is some sort of wildcard, I couldn't figure out the actual GUID for the Sailfish browser.

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I tried installing ublock by doing this, but the browser delted what ever files and directories i dump in the /extensions/ directory upon launch. Tried setting files to read/execute only, and while they don't disappear anymore, about:addons shows nothing for content. Any ideas?

Yeum ( 2016-03-06 17:13:34 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-08-23 16:05:46 +0300

DaveRo gravatar image

The introduction of the Web Extensions API in Firefox should make addon support simpler, I think.

It would enable the browser the run addons developed for Chrome (though it doesn't mean limiting Firefox to running compatible addons as I understand it.) Limiting support to addons developed using the Addons SDK. and High-level API only, would simplify the requirement.

At the moment the main limitation on developing addons for Fennec is the UI - the current Addons SDK lacks several features that are available on desktop. And some features just don'r work! I hope WebExtensions will improve that. But the UI is obviously the main problem.

(I've not seen the Jolla browser - I'm waiting for the tablet - but I would certainly want to be able to run my own addons, which are pretty simple and mostly developed with the Addons SDK to be compatible with Android. Interested to read above that you can't even use about:config)

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Frankly I don't like the move to WebExtensions. They have more limitation than what we have now. But Mozilla thinks that HTML is the answer for everything these days, which is a pity.

Fuzzillogic ( 2015-08-23 16:59:42 +0300 )edit

@Fuzzillogic I don't understand the reference to HTML|. WebExtensions are written in javascript, same as now, plus some xml config files.

Here is a post by Giorgio Maone, who wrote and maintains NoScript. If he's not worried neither am I.

Some of the instant comment about this change is misinformed. AIUI Firefox will be able to run Chrome/Opera extensions. It doesn't mean it will only be able to run those.

(Why can't I preview this? Candidate for my first WebExtension? ;)

DaveRo ( 2015-08-24 09:01:13 +0300 )edit

@DaveRo Mozilla has a tendency that everything should be written in webtech, (html/css/js). Their rationale always is "because that's easy, and is what people know". What we get are bad, inconsistent GUIs with limited functionality, which take an awful lot of time to make. Ever looked at a FirefoxOS example? Compare it to QML and QtQuick in Sailfish/MeeGo. It surprises me that they haven't tried writing Servo in JS, but created Rust for it instead. Even if they extended WebExtentions, they are using Chrome's tech, which leaves Google in control. I don't like that.

Fuzzillogic ( 2015-08-24 11:56:38 +0300 )edit

@Fuzzillogic I don't know enough about QT to comment. Everybody said that FirefoxOS would fail, and I thought so too. And it looks like it will, because Google has the market power to provide Android just as cheap with more features. But features was never the point of FxOS - enabling no-cost locally-produced webapps, and challenging monopolies is. That might have succeeded in poor countries. It was a brave try, and might yet gain some traction somewhere.

Your last point - surrendering to Chrome's tech - is a good one. And Wladimir Palant makes the same point today.

But the challenge for Mozilla is to remain relevant. Chrome is a good browser and has lots of features that Firefox needs - especially multi-process. If Firefox doesn't get rid of code from the '90s it won't be able to catch up, let alone innovate. If people rely on extensions for Chrome, which has many more users on Android than Firefox, why would they even try Firefox? Mozilla need to maintain market share, or at least not see it dwindle to nothing. Without some market share they will have no influence, or money, and all their initiatives in support of openness and standardisation will count for nothing. It's why they'll probably have to hold their noses and produce an iOS version - which won't support addons at all.

But coming finally to the topic, I do hope that Jolla will take the opportunity that this change provides to provide an addon capability in their browser, even if not as rich as Firefox. The fact that it will be compatible with Chrome and NuOpera must be a plus for Jolla. If it can't run addons (and hopefully userscripts and userstyles) I won't use it. And if it can't run Firefox for Android reasonably well I won't use Sailfish either: the browser is more important to me. YMMV.

DaveRo ( 2015-08-24 12:57:39 +0300 )edit

answered 2013-12-30 20:05:09 +0300

It would be great to allow development of addons even if they are not compatible with Firefox mobile. As plugins they extend a lot possibilities of base software.

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That's probably not a good idea. Since Firefox add-ons have a clear API. To maintain another API for Jolla would be a waste of resources, if you have one good API already.

shmerl ( 2013-12-30 21:29:59 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2013-12-25 06:44:02 +0300

Seen: 2,353 times

Last updated: Aug 23 '15