With the Firefox 1.0 release due soon the extension version has been increased to 1.0 recently. This weekend I updated both the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions to support this and asked for the change to be made on Mozilla Update.
I am also planning on releasing new versions of both extensions soon after Firefox 1.0 is released. For the User Agent Switcher this is just a minor update with a few enhancements, but the Web Developer release will be a major upgrade. You can check out what is already coded for this next release on the to-do page.
A new version of the User Agent Switcher extension has been released. The main addition in this release is support for changing the app name and app version in builds of Firefox and Mozilla after July 22nd, as per bug 166395. This release should also finally fix the incompatibilities with the Compact Menu extension.
A new version of the User Agent Switcher extension has been released. This release adds a toolbar button for Firefox and improves the interface for maintaining the list of user agents, as well as fixing the incompatibilities with the Compact Menu extension and the user agent not resetting when the browser was closed.
Admittedly these were released a little ahead of schedule—particularly Web Developer—as I wanted to have them available before Firefox 0.9. I did a fair amount of testing over the weekend, but inevitably some bugs will—and have—slipped through. The following issues have already been discovered:
The announcement of a new default theme for Mozilla Firefox also came a little too late for me to include it, but I will look into supporting this for the next release.
With Firefox 0.9 due to be released either on Saturday, June 12th or Monday, June 14th, I have been working on getting both the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions compatible with the new extension manager. Both extensions are now ready to go and I am just doing some final testing before releasing them.
User Agent Switcher 0.4 will not be a major update, but as well as Firefox 0.9 compatibility there is now localized language support and the number of user agents is now configurable and unlimited.
Web Developer 0.8, on the other hand, is a major update and includes many new features, improvements and bug fixes along with Firefox 0.9 compatibility. The full list of changes is pretty big, but the highlights are:
I have also tidied the menus a little and added a new top-level menu ‘CSS’ which will require any Web Developer themes to be updated. I will update the theming instructions and post in the MozillaZine Themes forum with instructions on what needs to be changed.
Look for both extensions to be released sometime this weekend.
Having just laid out my plan for the next release of the Web Developer extension, now comes the news from Ben Goodger about the changes to extensions for Firefox 0.9.
These changes are very welcome as they should help to eliminate some of the issues surrounding extensions: incompatibilities with certain browser versions, lack of uninstall support, keeping track of extension updates to name just a few. However, these changes also have the potential to make the Firefox 0.9 release pretty messy. Basically, any extension written prior to 0.9 will not install under 0.9 and will need to be completely repackaged in order to work correctly going forward.
This is going to result in many users becoming disgruntled when they find that some extensions have yet to be converted for Firefox 0.9. Of course, changes like this are to be expected from any pre–1.0 product, but I just hope that the resulting fallout is appropriately handled. Firstly, the code changes need to be rigorously tested so that all major bugs are resolved before the release or extension authors will be overwhelmed with support issues and trying to work out whether the problem is due to Firefox or the extension itself. Secondly, the extension authors need to be given adequate time to prepare their extensions both in terms of repackaging and setting them up on whatever server is going to handle tracking updates—currently suggested as being update.mozilla.org.
As I say, I am really looking forward to these changes as I think they greatly enhance the extension mechanism in Firefox, but I just hope that Ben is aware of how massive a change this is and works with the extension development community to mitigate the risks. There is a MozillaZine forums topic tracking the changes if you wish to read the latest news.
Now of course how this affects the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions is hard to say until a release date for Firefox 0.9 is known. I have not been working on the User Agent Switcher extension recently, so I will just try to release a 0.9-compatible version when the browser release occurs. The Web Developer extension is trickier as I am currently working on the next version. However, my current plan is to keep working on it until Firefox 0.9 is released and then release whatever I have ready to go. This may mean that I don’t get to include everything I had hoped to in the Web Developer 0.8 release, but it will allow me to immediately release a 0.9-compatibile version.
Hopefully things will become clearer as the Firefox 0.9 release comes closer.
I also released a minor update to the User Agent Switcher extension. The main update in this release is the addition of an option to automatically reset the user agent when the browser closes.
Between the release of Firefox 0.8 and the Web Developer extension getting a mention on kottke.org this site has seen quite a bit of traffic. I have also had many emails asking if the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions are compatible with Firefox 0.8—which they both are. Lastly, the Uninstaller extension has been re-released so that people can test if the previous problems have been fixed by the Firefox release.