back to article Why port your Firefox add-on to Internet Explorer?

Is there a good reason to build a browser add-on for Internet Explorer as well as Firefox? Yes, according to Microsoft IE evangelist Joshua Allen. Building an add-on for IE is so difficult, he said, your browser app competitors won't even bother. "It's harder to write apps for IE - so it's a harder market for competitors to …


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Gates Horns


Our platform is crap - that's why you should use it.

But who hears of add-ons for IE?

I am (forced to be) a windows user... and I have never even really heard of the plugins for IE, which means that the 70+% market share probably has never heard of them before either.


People already write add-ons for IE

They're called MalWare

Mine's the one next to the crappy old coat which doesn't keep you warm or dry

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Alternate Titles

Writing an add-on for IE8 is so hard, it proves you are a bloody genius, so why not do it!!!

Writing an add-on for IE8 is so hard, it proves you are a bloody idiot, so why do it!!!

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Here, have this poison pill

If all of your competitors think it's a really stupid idea and won't touch it, then sure, go ahead!

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Sometimes I wonder

if Microsoft is even in the same solar system as the rest of us, let alone on the same rock


It's so hard...

...only keyloggers, remote exploits, and scam advertisers bother. Nice.

Mine's the one with the BHO in my bank account :-/

Gates Halo

Heard of IE7Pro?

It is EASILY the best add-on for IE ; making it nearly as good as FF/Opera


Openness is good...

It's good that Microsoft are more open these days. But there's no need to burn the company down!


Here here!

Using for a while now and it's awesome. IE7 with Vista (e.g. Protected mode) and IEPro make it safer than FF with all the functionality plus some.

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And what exactly is so wrong with Ad blockers?

Many organisations forget that the Internet is a global thingy.

For example if I'm browsing a site hosted in France from the USA why would I be interested in adverts for a French Bank.

I'll expect that some bought and paid politicial somewhere want to pass a law to ban adblockers to please their masters but that is a few less sites to visit.

Mines the One with Adblock+ in the back pocket.


Port your add-on to IE...

... and, if we like it, we'll incorporate something totally-different-from-it in the next version.

Hard to port ye swabs!

Gates Horns


"languages like Python or Microsoft's C#"

MS has a language called C-hash? How appropriate...

Gates Horns

Why there will never be significant IE add-ons developpment

"They tend to install things like ad blockers, whereas the Internet Explorer user is more mainstream."

So, I should develop an ad-on for IE because IE users don't use add-ons?

"But the trick here is that you'll have to make sure your add-on works on all versions of CLR" Mwahahahahahaha!

Anonymous Coward

Wait, what?

So, if I read this write, the Microsoft party line is something along the lines of "our product is harder to develop for and uses our awesome new semistandard programming language and is, y'know, generally a shoddier and touchier product, but on the other hand, no other bugger wants to do it, and you get the benefit of making it much more difficult for the folks at home to exercise any meaningful control over their web browsing experience, or, for that matter, the virii that are already installed." Wow, where do I sign up for that?

Where did this come from? I realize that being an evangelist for Microsoft is sort of like being an evangelist for cancer ("the chemo helps you lose weight!"), but I have a slight suspicion that Mr. Allen may be being quoted a little out of context here.


Nobody uses C++ anymore ?

I still haven't gotten over the nobody uses assembler, C, now we're not using C++ ? I'm still on C+

What language will nobody be using next, hopefully Java, that almost happened but then google f'd it up and restarted it.


Someone call MS a waaaaambulance!

Oh to be the victim of their own crappy coding they even admit it, that after so many years of "making programming easier" it's hard to program for IE. They might want to cut their suggested market share closer to 60-65%, since most of us (weirdos) only use it when we update windows :P

How do you know if your addon has security problems? It's written for IE! Harr-harr!



there is one reason this non-mainstream user will not use IE. no NoScript. That's a deal breaker for me.



>MS has a language called C-hash? How appropriate...

I believe the 'h' is silent.





I can hammer nails through my testicles if I so wished.

it's hard, and painful, and so why would I want to do it ?

just about sums up why would I want to develop plugins for internet exploder.

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Gates Horns

Just what IE needs...

More toolbars :)

"Firefox users are more likely to "mess" with your business model. "

True if your business model is to install keyloggers and empty other peoples bank accounts. :p

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Fuck off...

I'm still a C++ developer and proud of it.

And not touching IE with a shitty bargepole


But clearly the most wanted add-on for IE is AdBlock. About now the entire argument vanishes up its own fundament.

AdBlock is closely followed by NoScript and Flash blocking in desirability. The lack of these on any browser is a deal breaker as far as I'm concerned.

I seem the have spent a large part of the last month writing Python that writes C++ and assember. I have no idea what this means.

@1st AC

"So, if I read this write, the Microsoft party line"

Yes, absolutely. Anything a microsoft person says, at any time, in public, must obviously be official policy mandated at the highest level. Microsoft employees are not permitted to have indepentant thought and, therefore, can't hold opinions.


No title required for Firefox users

"And he pointed out that Firefox users are more likely to "mess" with your business model. "They tend to install things like ad blockers, whereas the Internet Explorer user is more mainstream."


Here be the problem for the crap-ware makers.

Gates Horns


"Yes, absolutely. Anything a microsoft person says, at any time, in public, must obviously be official policy mandated at the highest level. Microsoft employees are not permitted to have indepentant thought and, therefore, can't hold opinions."

Wait, are you suggesting that MS employees are /persons/?

Gates Halo

And when...

... ISP's finally realise that they will have to charge by the Gb downloaded, adblockers etc will become a 'must have' for IE.

Hopefully all such add-ons will come with free 'disruptors' for the phorm - nebuad - frontporch axis.

Billy is giving us a hint, Gawd bless 'im.

Gates Horns

No way

Why waste our time with IE?. Microsoft should do that themselves.

Firefox is for the people and is open. IE is a proprietary bunch of slow bloat from the 90s.

Gates Horns

IE7 Adblocker

IE7Pro has been mentioned - and yes, it blocks ads, very nicely. As for making IE "just as good" as Opera/FF, think again. It blocks ads and (optionally) flash well, and recovers the last tab session. That's about it.


"They tend to install things like ad blockers"

Why do they say it like it is a bad thing?

Most of the websites I browse are either in USA or outside of my country, and none of the ads offer anything interesting for this Otherplacian.

That, and pop-ups, excessive flash, sounds that mess up my muzak etc are annoying enough.

The answer

to the question is "so you can test it without fear of normal users using it"

IE should die.

IT Angle


He's saying our stuff is shite - but that means no-one else will use it.

I've got news - good programmers want to enjoy their work - not enter a WOP just to try to sort someone elses crap. It's not all about the money.

If he was saying - our stuff is crap and we're trying to fix it I could understand - but trying to say being crap is an actual benefit is spin of the highest order.

He is not an evangelist - just a marketing tool on an acid/PCP mixture.

MS is seriously starting to lose the plot if this is their message these days.

Gates Horns

Still on C here...

'That's horrible. No one programs in C++ anymore,'

Eh? No wonder there's so much bloat then, it'll be all those script kiddies using string variables in Chas (thanks Finnbar) to do floating point arithmetic.

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A few dev plugins I use for IE6...

As a web developer I have these plugins installed that help a lot with the day-to-day pain of making sites work in IE6 & IE7:

IE7Pro (works on IE6 too) -- has ad blocking built in and is extensible with user-submitted scripts []

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar []

Debug Bar []

Firebug Lite -- I haven't tried this but I've heard it helps some people a bit []

There are more IE Developer plugins here recommended by MS []



I believe the consensus on this is that C# is supposed to refer to the musical note...:-s

C-Sharp (as in See Sharp).


Paris Hilton

re: ad blockers & business models

If you have a /really/ good business model, you won't have popup ads that users want to block, and behave gracefully if javascript is disabled. Not that hard, is it?

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"Market" share?

IE doesn't participate in any "market". It's nailed into, and pretends to be a part of, an OS whose perpetrators are famous for locking PC retailers out of competing OSs and software with their T&Cs. It's not "marketed", which implies a measure of choice by the end user, it's there anyhow, by default.

If anything, it's much more telling how many of us actually go out of our way to install a better browser rather than taking the easy option. Why waste time writing plugins for IE when people are going to go off and use a browser which already has loads of 'em?


@Finnbar re @Mark

Cash - the first h is silent...

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No one programs in C++ anymore


C++ is a REAL programming language, like C and Assembler. There may be more real programming languages, but in my book if you cant use one of these 3 you are not a real programmer*.

The problem is, many 'script kiddies' consider themselves programmers (and I classify VB, Java and Python to be scripting languages, not programming languages), and there are so many of these who call themselves programmers that the oppinion has become mainstream.

*Do not flame me for this, if you know of another let me know. I know that I tend to have more extreme definitions of things than most people, but I like my definitions to be accurate. Like my definition of friend - drinking buddies, online chat buddies, aquaintances... all these most ppl would call friends, I dont.

Anonymous Coward

@Chris Ovenden

theres plenty of addons for ie, its just most of them load invisibly and sit there waiting for you to log into some financial ite so they can copy your login details...

"real" addons on the other hand seem to be limited to a handful of toolbars and the yahoo messenger button

Anonymous Coward

re: Heard of IE7Pro?

"It is EASILY the best add-on for IE ; making it nearly as good as FF/Opera"

I absolutely love the fact that anyone could get excited about an add-on which makes the product "nearly as good" as its rivals.


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Recipe for a disaster.

Cock up your IE add on, and you risk destabilising other applications layered on top of IE, and even components of the operating system itself like Explorer.

And that's just the risk posed by the well intentioned add-ons you can 'trust'.

IE is effectively technically completely obsolete. It needs dumping and rewriting with careful thought given to security and stability, especially where add ons are concerned.


@Dr. Mouse

I'm not interested in calling myself a programmer, rather someone who makes things that work.

And I've worked with all of these extensively: ARM Assembler, C, C++ and Java.


In order to enhance MS Internet Exploder... would have to completely rewrite from the ground up.

Thankfully, the Mozilla developers have already done that...

Mine has the fire-breathing lizard on the back, thank you...

Paris Hilton

As usual... M$ just doesn't get it...

Sorry M$, I don’t want to be a demographic, I don’t want to be a statistic, I don’t want scripts executing on my machine that I’m not familiar with, what they do, what data they harvest, or where they send that data to.

On all my personally owned equipment, I NEVER run IE as every version has getting exponentially more bloated than its previous version, which translates into slower and certainly much more annoying idiosyncrasies. I prefer FF because of the contributing development community AND has much more in terms of control.

I chose Paris because even she has a clue as to why MS browsers still suck


IE is so bad Joshua Allen has to make up laughable crap

"With Firefox, you've got this more enthusiast audience, more of a controlled test bed. It's a good place to try out ideas before porting them to Internet Explorer,"

-Joshua Allen

PMSL ROFL!!! What a moron, best joke I've seen in ages! Read between the lines is IE is crap, getting crapper and it's fast loosing favour as it's so far behind firefox. Let's make firefox out as a startup little thing that's good only for experimenting with. Get real you muppet.

@Dr. Mouse

You don't have any friends do you, Dr. Mouse ?


Wrong on so many levels

The big one first:

"No-one uses C++ anymore" -- Except Microsoft, to uh, write Windows in. Linux (you know that pesky platform that more people are using for a web server than IIS? Remember.. in front of every Exchange server is a linux box running sendmail to deal with Exchange's inadequacies) is compiled in C! Many X apps in Linux are written in C++ too. We'll chalk this one down to "arse? mouth? same thing when you're talking aren't they?".

The whole idea of porting extensions to IE. The problem is, IE is about as friendly to modifications as the Lisbon Treaty. Almost every extension for IE I've seen has involved some sort of hackish approach to get IE to do what they want. If MS wants extension compatibility, why don't they just develop a compatibility layout that allows existiing Firefox extensions to work?

Lastly lets compare models when it comes to operating security:

Firefox: We will (flaws excepted) not allow an extension to dick about with your system. It is sandboxed.

IE: We will allow an extension to do as it pleases, but just pop up a wee dialog first to say "you want this, right?".

I'll have what they're smoking.

-- Richard



<<IE is effectively technically completely obsolete. It needs dumping and rewriting with careful thought given to security and stability, especially where add ons are concerned.>>

Yes. Volunteers plus some corporations have already done this. It's called Firefox.

Actually, it's not just the IE layer to be redone (as you point out, the OS partly runs on the browser that runs on the OS) --- this has also been done by now, it's called Ubuntu. There's a very-limited-functionality emulator (Wine) but your office needs are brilliantly served as are your computing needs. Yet specialty soft and games are a dealbreaker.

But more seriously, why is there a need for IE7 or IE8? If FF and Opera work, they work. Why does it have to be rewritten? To support badly-written sites [try submitting a CV to Adecco with a mac or linux; even pc+FF fail]?

Lotus notes died, let it be dead; WordPerfect joined the dinos; heck the dinos themselves can stay where they are, underground.


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