Good news for Firefox users who think that the current add-on compatibility assistant during browser updates is not giving them enough control over their add-ons. Mozilla has uploaded a test nightly build to the official ftp server that demonstrates a new add-on compatibility check that gives users full process control.
Firefox still runs a compatibility check after users have upgraded to a new version. The screen has been changed though and users are automatically taken to the second entirely new step of the process. It needs to be noted that this new compatibility check is only displayed on first run. Firefox switches back to the old compatibility check on successive runs, for instance after switching to another build and then back to the current version.
One of the interesting features of this new check is that all add-ons that have been installed by third party software will be automatically disabled. This is probably linked to the improvements in third party add-on handling announced earlier this month.
Firefox users can select to keep or disable all add-ons separately in the select your add-ons screen. Add-ons that are not compatible will not be enabled automatically though. Firefox will however look for updates at the end of the wizard and enable add-ons automatically once they become compatible with the current version of Firefox.
A click on Next displays an overview that lists the add-ons that will be updated, add-ons that will be disabled and add-ons that are disabled but will be enabled as soon as they become compatible.
Firefox will automatically scan the Mozilla Add-On repository for add-on updates.
It is still possible to force compatibility of add-ons, either manually or with the help of the Firefox Add-on Compatibility Reporter.
The new compatibility check after upgrading Firefox serves two purposes. First, it gives users more control over the process. This way they know exactly which add-ons are not compatible yet officially with the new version. The new selection menu can also be helpful to provide Firefox users with an overview of the add-ons that are currently installed. This way they might identify add-ons they no longer need.
The second purpose is security as third party add-ons are now blocked automatically.
The one thing that may be a bit of a concern is that the listing is not revealing lots of information about all installed add-ons. This could be resolved with tooltips or links to the Mozilla add-on repository.
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