Mozilla adds Chrome extensions to Firefox

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Mozilla announced on Friday that it would overhaul the way developers can create add-ons, allowing greater compatibility for extensions built in Chrome.

Mozilla announced on Friday that it would make major changes to the way Firefox incorporates add-ons and extensions. According to a report from Tech Crunch, the most important change will be the adoption of an extension API that will be compatible with the ones in Blink-based browsers like Chrome and Opera.

The new WebExtensions API will allow developers to make only minor changes before they can run add-ons on Firefox. According to Mozilla’s Kev Needham, “We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors.”

Developers always had a hard time writing for Firefox, Mozilla is infamous for using XPCOM and XUL technologies for building user interfaces, which allowed the browser to be written primarily in JavaScript. It also allowed access to many of the browser’s underlying features.

This model will be phased out over the next 12 to 18 months, and many developers are not pleased with the change. The permissive model will no longer be an option for extensions developers.

Developers will also need to have their extensions reviewed and approved by Mozilla before they can be made available for use. The company hopes that the move to WebExtensions will streamline the review process and bring the turnaround time from a month down to as little as five days.

As Mozilla overhauls its add-on system, it remains unclear as to how the company will compete with other popular browsers like Chrome.

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