back to article OK Google? Firefox to nibble Chrome extensions from 2016

Code from a project billed as “the future of developing add-ons” in Firefox will debut in early 2016. The code will let extensions written for Google’s growing Chrome run, supposedly unchanged, in Firefox. The WebExtensions API, announced in August and currently in alpha, is expected to see daylight in March 2016, with …

  1. Cirdan
    Unhappy

    Ecce Firefox

    Requiescat in pace, dear friend.

    The writing is not yet on the stone, but I see it on the wall.

    I'll visit from time to time, as I come to see SeaMonkey.

    ...Cirdan...

  2. imcdnzl

    Microsoft too

    Microsoft is doing something very similar with their Edge browser. It will apparently be trivial to port over Chrome extensions.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    A blog entry a year or two from now...

    "Fellow Lizard People,

    As you know, it has become very costly to maintain Gecko with Blink (the JavaScript API) due to differences in architecture. We have looked at a number of possible solutions and have decided the most effective method will be to transition Firefox to Blink (the engine) with Blink (the JavaScript API) as they are a better fit for each other..."

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: A blog entry a year or two from now...

      a year or two from now it will probably read "Fellow Lizard Person" at current rate of attrition

  4. John Sanders
    Thumb Down

    Firefox making progress on their endeavour

    Making sure that no one uses Firefox any more.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Firefox making progress on their endeavour

      The main add-on I use isn't on Chrome, because the BLINK API is too limited and doesn't support the necessary functionality, according to its author - NoScript.

      1. RetroTom

        Re: Firefox making progress on their endeavour

        yep, NoScript is the real (the ONLY reason) I'm still using Firefox..

        it's sad how they're slowly changing it from a cutting edge browser with real identity and individuality into what feels like (functionality wise) just another skin for Chrome..

  5. tiggity Silver badge

    chrome clone

    Firefox, quick hint, stop trying to be a chrome clone.

    Wondering why more & more firefox users are swapping to chrome?

    As you keep ripping out, or at best drastically changing distinctive firefox features / functionality (& yet not fixing longstanding bugs such as excessive idle disk access) to be more & more like chrome, lots of people just think, I'll switch to chrome anyway as firefox will soon be indistinguishable from it as its lost its USP & chrome is less resource intensive (mostly).

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: chrome clone

      Mind you; if Firefox manages to support Developer Mode and local extensions without continually nagging the users that they are enabled, they could actually steal some share from Chrome.

      Or - because I do understand why the warning should not be removable - just demonstrate a less intrusive, less mouse focus stealing, way to show that and it might encourage Google to follow suit.

  6. 0laf Silver badge

    why do I stick with Firefox?

    Why do I stick with Firefox?

    I suppose one is a dislike of Googles insatiable data snaffling the other being I like AdBlock and NoScript. Plus I've used Firefox for a very long time and old habits die hard.

    I might have a sniff at Opera again or Chromium

    1. Dave W

      Re: why do I stick with Firefox?

      The Mozilla Foundation have always been the nice guys of the web, and I've used Firefox since the early 2000s (with fond memories of "Cookies are delicious delicacies" - in itself a hat-tip to Netscape).

      I did have a spell where I moved to Chrome because everyone was telling me how much quicker and more efficient it was, but to be honest I noticed no difference whatsoever (benchmarks are rarely a true reflection of real-life usage scenarios) so moved back within a few weeks.

      Call me paranoid if you like, but I'd rather use an independent browser than one run by a monolithic corporation such as Google, Microsoft or Apple, each of which have their own longer-term agendas.

      The very fact we have such a choice is the important thing, and long may that choice continue to exist. away from the dark early days of the web with the massively dominant IE5/6 market share.

      1. Nosher

        Re: why do I stick with Firefox?

        Same here really: I think it will be a very dark and sinister day for the internet if Google gets to own (and control) the entire stack, from the entry point (search) through the content (YouTube, etc) to the client used to access it all (Chrome).

        Netscape gave us a choice against Microsoft's dominance. It's not just for nostalgia that its progeny Firefox - for all its warts - should be supported and improved to ensure that some choice remains in a Google-dominated world.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: why do I stick with Firefox?

      Firefox sniff you data too. At least Google are open and honest about how they monitise your data.

      Apple and Facebook are by far the worst offenders.

    3. joed Silver badge

      Re: why do I stick with Firefox?

      Resizing the text without touching images. And I could care less for web experts frowning on this.

      Plus noscript ...

      Nope, I'm not switching

    4. noj

      Re: why do I stick with Firefox?

      Ditto except for sniffing other browsers. I have no complaints with Firefox. I don't get the reminders that others are remarked about, but I do get all the add ons I want including NoScript, Disconnect, Privacy Badger, and HTTP Nowhere. Speed is not an issue for me either with all the ad and tracking stuff blocked.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Why bother?

    When Mozilla killed the search functionality in the recent update, I went 100% to Chrome. With Context Search and a few other extensions, it does fine. Also dumped TBird for FossaMail, though can't honestly see much difference. Good-bye Mozilla. It was nice knowing you.

  8. Old Handle
    Thumb Down

    Sounds like more bloat. It also sounds like they're taking the "let's turn Firefox into a copy of Chrome" strategy even more seriously than I realized.

  9. keithpeter
    Windows

    Defaults

    OK, I just use the default browser. At home on Linux that will be firefox and at work on Windows 10 for Education that looks to be MS Internet Explorer.

    When and if the Linux distros go over to Chromium, how do I get 'Zoom Text Only'?

  10. Novex

    NoScript

    Like others here, I stick with Firefox mainly due to NoScript. Combined with some other add-ons, it's allowed me to use the browser the way I want to. Chrome is not something I'd ever want to consider, bearing in mind Google's invasive behaviour is built into it. God knows what's in Edge now that MS seem to want all our data as well. Safari isn't usable on anything other than a Mac, and Opera seems like a Chrome Clown.

    I will keep using Firefox, even if an older version, for as long as I can. Outright speed isn't all that internet browsing is about*. But, the day that the add-ons that I use become sufficiently compromised, is the day I will have no choice but to find something else. Maybe then I'll check out SeaMonkey.

    *NoScript actually speeds up my browsing on FF, mainly because it allows me to choose to block most of the shit from coming down the pipe except the most essential stuff for a web page to work.

    1. illiad

      Re: NoScript

      what about Yes Script?? much easier to just select those sites you DONT want JS..

      1. joed Silver badge

        Re: NoScript

        security trumps convenience for some

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Blink and you are dead Firefox

    There became little point in using Opera when it Blinked first!

    Suicide too guys?

  12. Danhalen

    I'm really looking forward to this. I've had quite a few requests to port my Chrome extension over to Firefox but as much as I'd love to do so I simply don't have the time right now. This kind of functionality, assuming it works as advertised, could potentially save me dozens of hours or more.

  13. LeeH

    Am I the Only One..

    .. who prefers Firefox Developer Tools?

    Chrome's developer tools have a few useful features (can't think of them now) but the in-built developer tools of Firefox are more useful: 3D view of the DOM, CSS editor that allows new style sheets to be created, easy to use HTML editor and so on. I see no benefit to using Chrome's developer tools over Firefox developer tools but plenty of benefits to using Firefox's developer tools instead of those provided by Chrome.

    I do hope Autofill Forms continues to work when Firefox introduces its new extensions API. Looked for a similar form filler for Chrome but not found suitable substitute yet.

  14. P. Lee Silver badge

    I care not a whit for the engine

    I care quite a bit about the UI and the features - desirable or otherwise.

    That means...

    - Noscript & flashblock, certpatrol.

    - A separate url and search box. When I type in a word into the URL bar, please assume its a host name rather than going off to <searchengine> to search for stuff. That is really annoying (I'm looking at you IOS Safari)

    If I haven't specified a protocol, try https and http in the background. Give me an option for one or the other and to default to one or the other, if both work.

    - don't autofill unless I ask you to. Don't even pre-fill boxes for real (maybe just pretend) because browsers can send back data before the submit button is pressed.

    So no, I don't trust Chrome, even if I have Chromium installed for occasional use and even if I think there's a chance it is technically a better browser (I like its sandboxing).

    Firefox it is for the foreseeable future.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox isn't so bad since the new 64-bit, multiprocess features

    Firefox for Windows is now available for 64-bit. Until the developer edition for x64 was announced I had been using Waterfox, which felt a lot faster than the 32bit Firefox builds from Mozilla. However, switching to the new Firefox dev edition made things so much smoother, with browser loads finally somewhat distributed across multiple CPU cores.

    Some posters above have mentioned keeping Firefox around for AdBlock+ and NoScript, a sentiment with which I can agree. Surprisingly an even bigger reduction in page load latency came from replacing AdblockPlus with uBlock Origin. With these two changes my browsing experience has improved tremendously. If these improvements carry over into Mozilla's other builds then performance cannot be blamed for Firefox's ultimate failure or success--that will, in the usual sort of fickle, insipid human display of vanity, come down to ita perceived fashionability. Products seldom succeed based solely upon their technical merits.

    1. illiad

      Re: Firefox isn't so bad since the new 64-bit, multiprocess features

      well, tried Ublock, but it is not as easy to use as adblock...It is a bit like stepping back to a MUCH simpler interface!

      give it a make over to look like adblock, I may try it.. It may seem faster if you have no other addons, but..

  16. Lutter

    Who wants to port?

    Chrome extensions can be ported to Opera quickly, just repackage and upload, but few people do that. The only problem is The manual review at Opera that does not let any crap be published.

  17. eugeniqa

    I hope Tabr will be available for FF https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tabr-visual-tab-viewer-an/bmkiddcbjejcplgggpoakjbfdiiiggfa

  18. PAEz

    This is awesome!

    I moved to Chrome because it allowed me to make extensions with complete ease.

    All attempts at that Ive seen in FF so far have been buggy and just crappy.

    If they pull this off thats one less reason to stick with chrome, then its prolly down to web inspector.

    I love the Mozilla Foundation for all they have done for us (MDN is my bible), really hope this helps them get back some users...maybe even me one day.

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