Mozilla Retires Add-on Collector

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 8, 2012
Updated • Apr 20, 2012
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Remember the Firefox collections feature? No? Then you are not the only one. Back in 2009 Mozilla introduced collections to the official Firefox Add-ons repository. With this feature users could create their own add-on collections, and publish them  publicly on the Mozilla website. A collection usually listed between 5 and 30 different add-ons that other Firefox users could then install more comfortably in the browser.

There was no option to install all add-ons in one go though, but a third party add-on Massive Extender made that possible.  The collections in theory were quite useful, as many were curated by Firefox users in the know.  Mozilla itself created a few, for web developers and travelers for instance, and other users added theirs which soon became popular as well.

One of the issues here was that the creator of the collection had to maintain the list. Add-ons that were not updated anymore or even entirely removed by their author or Mozilla from the Add-ons repository had to be removed, new add-ons had to be added and so on.

Mozilla yesterday announced that it has made the decision to retire the Add-on Collector. The core reason for retiring the extension are the following:

  • The add-on is not popular, only "a few hundred people have used the add-on in the past few months".
  • The Add-on Collector would need a rewrite of all APIs once Mozilla goes forward with plans to improve the collections feature.
  • Some of the features that the add-on offered were already integrated into the site natively.

Firefox users should not confuse the Add-on Collector add-on, with the collections feature itself. From the announcement it is clear, that Mozilla plans to retire the former and improve the latter.

Have you used collections in the past? If so, which features would you like to see to make the feature more attractive and usable? (via Techdows)


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  1. Brenda said on April 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    You can use CLOE (Compact Library Extension Organizer) addon to package your favorites for later use. CLEO is a Firefox extension that works with FEBE to package any number of extensions/themes into a single, installable .xpi file. Visit Chuck Bakers addon’s page at

  2. boris said on March 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Extension still works.

  3. Guest said on March 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    @ Peter

    Mozilla does allow you back-up Add-ons through it’s Sync service, so you could use that.

    There’s also the idea of manually backing up your FF profile and restoring it (look up how to do it before actually trying).

    And last -but not least- you can reset Firefox Add-ons and use FF’s compatibility mode for troubleshooting any problems.

    1. Guest said on March 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      You can back-up Add-ons through Sync with Firefox 11 and up.

  4. Roman ShaRP said on March 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Yes, it could be useful, but in more unobtrusive and less formal way.

    I should have a possibility not to *maintain the collection*, but to
    – export my add-on list (better with possibility to add some comments)
    – have a feature allowing others to easily install from that list what they like (selectively)
    – and/or make own collection from that.

    For example if I have 40 add-ons, I should have a possibility to:
    – export add-on list in some text/html form (with links), commenting why I’m using them if I want
    – export add-on list in some machine-readable form (some xml?)
    – import machine-readable form via something and get the list of add-ons showed with some controls
    – select any subset of what is listed and install selected.

    It is possible, I think.

    Now it is possible in not that comfortable form with add-ons listing other add-ons like Nightly Tester Tools (AFAIR) – you’ll get html list of your add-ons with links to their install pages
    and/or FEBE/Cleo, – you’ll get one complete XPI from the list.

    But it’s not easiest way to share and install, – you won’t get possibility to easily select subset you need from that

  5. ódio said on March 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Peter gave a good use for the collector, but too late for do this now its gone.

  6. Peter Gadd said on March 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I have a collection of 30+ addons that I maintain so that when I do a reinstall for either my home PC or my work PC, I can go to my collection and conveniently install each addon.

    What would be really useful, if Mozilla could do it, would be a method of selecting from the collection, or the entire collection, and installing all selected addons with one click. It must be possible and would make life a lot simpler.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Peter, look at the Massive Extender add-on, this one does that.

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