Enhanced Steam author waves goodbye to Firefox - gHacks Tech News

Enhanced Steam author waves goodbye to Firefox

Enhanced Steam is a popular browser extension that improves and adds features to the steampowered website, home of the Steam gaming platform on the Internet. I have reviewed the Firefox version of Enhanced Steam back in 2013  and found it to be an excellent tool for Steam users.

Among the features it adds are DRM badges so that you know when games use extra DRM, a pricing history for games, an empty cart button or better DLC selection through the use of checkboxes.

The extension has been available for Firefox and Chrome, with Chrome users making up 90% of the extension's user base.

The author of the extension just announced on Steam that he decided to stop developing the add-on for the Firefox web browser citing upcoming changes as the reason for the decision.

The major change that he refers to is add-on signing which Mozilla announced a while ago. It requires all add-on authors to submit a version of their extension to the Firefox web browser so that it can be signed.

enhanced steam

The idea behind the feature is to make Firefox more secure by blocking unsigned extension installations on third-party websites, a major source of malicious extensions installed by Firefox users.

According to the author, this adds more workload to the time and work consuming process of getting an add-on or an update of it listed in Mozilla's add-on store on the official website. While add-on signing is automatic provided the add-on author has created a store account already, Mozilla's add-on verification process as a whole seems to be more of a problem to the author.

One of the biggest issues I had with Mozilla's approval process was that in addition to the amount of time it would take, they were always requiring increasingly ridiculous stipulations on the extension for it to pass.

He cites several incidents where add-on updates were not accepted because of how something was handled by the extension but were suddenly accepted in later updates.

Note: Enhanced Steam is not listed in Mozilla's store right now, probably because of the issues the author experienced in the past. It would obviously take long to get the extension listed in the store again.

New versions of Enhanced Steam won't be released for the Firefox browser anymore. While the current version will remain available for download on the developer website, it won't be updated anymore and cannot be installed in Firefox Stable or Beta once add-on signing lands in those versions (there won't be an override, Nightly and Aurora versions are not affected).

The developer is working on a standalone client for the extension which Firefox users may want to check out if they want to keep access to the functionality of the extension.

Closing Words

It is likely that we will read about additional developers stopping extension development for Firefox if their add-ons are not already listed in store.

Summary
Enhanced Steam author waves goodbye to Firefox
Article Name
Enhanced Steam author waves goodbye to Firefox
Description
The author of the Firefox add-on Enhanced Steam announced that he will stop development of the extension for Firefox.
Author

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Comments

  1. ff said on March 28, 2015 at 7:21 am
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    Looks like the Firefox devs finally found a way to kill off the unliked addon development community. Good Job!

  2. Sven said on March 28, 2015 at 10:28 am
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    Anybody really wondering? Most of those people make the stuff in their spare time. Mozilla continuously broke backwards compatibility and people start getting frustrated. And unfortunately pretty often people using the the preview versions of Fx are not the friendliest, I couple of times I read reviews like “this addon sucks, doesn’t work in nightly. fix it!”. Who wants to read something like that when he is doing almost a fulltime job trying to fix his stuff for the next “stable” (if you wanna call that stable).

    And many of the recent Mozilla decisions, like the one mentioned above, didn’t really make it better.

    It’s sad, addons made Fx great, the ability to change virtually everything.

  3. Nebulus said on March 28, 2015 at 10:45 am
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    If Mozilla continues to mess with the people that build add-ons (with things like ridiculous approval or signing processes), they will loose the last edge they have over Chrome.

    1. nonqu said on March 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm
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      Yeah, if the addons I use die-off then there will be nothing holding me back from switching to the new Opera (which is basically chrome without the spyware features).

  4. Mystique said on March 28, 2015 at 2:04 pm
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    Mozilla seems to be making a lot of bad moves of late… well they have been for a while but things are starting to come to head, its as if Mozilla is trying to take the number one spot of most hated browser from Microsoft’s very own Internet Explorer and with Microsoft scaling its browser (in its current) right back it may well become a reality if Mozilla does not watch it’s step.

    I can see that Mozilla is planning for the future and has a number of advancements in the pipeline but it is these kinds of little “advancements” which are going to break them.
    I honestly feel like the crew at Mozilla need to regroup and get on the same page, their focus seems to be lacking or splintered.

    What would be really cool (fantasy world here) would be if Mozilla launched an event/conference for its staff/contributors and also open it up to addon developers to discuss future developments.
    I don’t know it just seems like the community seems to be falling apart.
    It would be a real shame if Mozilla were to lose its community support.

  5. Derpy said on March 28, 2015 at 6:18 pm
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    Unfortunately, I use this add-on with Pale Moon. One particular feature I liked was alerting me to third-party DRM on the game’s page. It’s sad to see it go.

    Firefox was a great browser, but it has slowly devolved over the last few years. It used to be about giving the user control over the browser. Today, it controls the user, and it’s about to get worse. Add-ons (particularly Classic Theme Restorer) were a way for Firefox users to get some of that control back. With add-on signing, Firefox becomes even more restricted. Even then, malware can slip through the cracks, e.g. by bribing a developer of a popular add-on. Add-on signing reduces all users to the lowest common denominator, assuming they’ll never know any better. It will also alienate add-on developers, who will leave for greener pastures. The beast has lost its soul, and if this decline continues, it will die.

  6. DonGateley said on March 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm
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    My _only_ reason for using Firefox is its add-ons. Should this change in any way that impacts my use they’ve lost me after a very long relationship.

    “This add-on is unsigned. Do you wish to install it anyway?” seems more than adequate as a security measure..

    Foot, aim, shoot. They seem to have tired of their product.

    1. Dieu said on March 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm
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      You will be able to use the “unbranded version” that wil let you use add-on like today.

      1. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on April 2, 2015 at 9:06 am
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        The whole idea behind using the Firefox add-on was to avoid having to install a separate program. It completely negates the point, regardless of whether it “hooks” into whatever browser someone might be using.

        (edit) Oops, my mistake. I see you’re referencing the “unbranded” Firefox version and not the ES standalone. Oh well, at least I caught this in time to edit my post.

  7. Daniel said on March 28, 2015 at 7:19 pm
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    Perhaps the dev should move over to Palemoon which should be more stable, especially that it also has a Linux version to receive that extension? Steam has become a huge plus for enticing Windows (and Mac) users to switch over to Linux. To lose another add-on dev is truly another shot in the foot.

    For every new “enhancement” Mozilla makes to Firefox, we to lose how many add-on devs?

  8. Mystique said on March 29, 2015 at 5:15 am
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    Agreed, Palemoon would be a better choice.
    I am not entirely sure why developers would move to chrome for as from what I recall it has its own set of restrictions furthermore from what I remember it cannot be manipulated/modified in a positive way as firefox can, the last time I tried it and had more than 50 tabs open the tab bar became ridiculous and I could barely use it as the tabs were barely visible, sure addons were there but they were terrible and nothing like Tabmix and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I personally have abandoned Firefox for Cyberfox, moving to x64 based browser seemed like the logical thing to do on my system and I have simply not touched my firefox installation since. (I haven’t even bothered to update it)

    I might have my tinfoil hat on too tight but I simply do not trust google. Having google chrome around has been both a blessing and a curse, it has pushed for a more competitive level of development but it has also been a curse as it seems like Mozilla have resigned to play second fiddle to chrome and just look to emulate elements of chrome in a struggle to stay relevant, from release cycles right down to design. They need to drop this mentality and get back to what is important within its own realm.

    The Palemoon project seems to have this kind of mentality however its a bit more (for a lack of better terms) hostile in that its kinda like an aggressive push for this change which has addon developers in a state of conflict as some firefox addons simply do not work on Palemoon as they should and as such it seems like some developers refuse to acknowledge Palemoon as a platform. (if it don’t work on palemoon you have to fix it out yourself or use Palemoon)
    An example of this is uBlock, this addon is constantly praised however it fails to work correctly on Palemoon, I cannot fault the developer on this as he seems to be very focused on his task at hand and cannot compensate for every tiny browser variable, its sad but that is the reality of the Palemoon project at this current state but I digress both Palemoon and uBlock are excellent projects and I can only see them becoming better in time.

    In summary
    Firefox = -_-
    Palemoon = : /
    Google Chrome = : |
    Safari = ???
    Internet = Who?
    Opera = ??
    Cyberfox = : )

    To me Cyberfox is the happy medium, its not without its faults but it does the job for the most part.

    1. DonGateley said on March 29, 2015 at 6:01 am
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      For the ‘ell of it and in response to this thread I tried this morning to see if I could migrate my current Firefox profile over to Pale Moon. First I tried FEBE to save from Firefox and restore from Pale Moon. That started up in a pretty unrecognizable state. Next I tried just creating a new Pale Moon profile and replacing it with the contents of my Firefox profile. The plugin state after startup of that profile was abysmal. Most of my important ones weren’t compatible with the current back level version of Pale Moon. To me this is a show stopper because it’s not so much Firefox itself that I use as it is the profile I’ve put together over a long period of time.

      Expecting this was why I inquired earlier about the possibility of a re-branded Firefox fork that differs _only_ from the current Mozilla versions in disabling the signing requirement in some way. That’s not going to lure back the developers that Mozilla is driving away but it would be great for the cognoscenti that create and use their own personal plugins or want to use a plugin market outside Mozilla’s. Sort of like a jail broken iPhone. :-)

      1. Dieu said on March 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm
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        You will be able to use the “unbranded version”(Same Firefox but without Logo Like the nigtky) that wil let you use add-ons like today.

      2. George said on April 14, 2015 at 9:40 am
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        You seem to have overlooked the Profile Migration Tool.

        https://www.palemoon.org/migrationtool.shtml

  9. Dan Veditz said on March 29, 2015 at 8:02 am
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    @DonGateley: Mozilla itself is going to be releasing an un-branded version of Firefox that does not require add-on signing. A “jail-broken” version if you will.

    1. DonGateley said on March 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm
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      Thanks, Dan. Where can I get more info on that?

  10. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on March 29, 2015 at 9:56 am
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    Uninstalled it the minute I finished reading the news. On the plus side, browsing Steam became much faster without it (I’m not going to call it a bad add-on by any means, but there was a lot that could’ve been improved upon).

    Not switching to Chrome, no matter how useful the add-on was. Not installing a separate program just to try and recapture it either. Maybe someone will use the code to create and maintain something similar, maybe not.

    I was going to criticize his general attitude in dealing with people at Mozilla but I can’t find justification for doing so. The nature of the add-on is a lot different than something that gets relatively faster approval and updates pushed through so citing the old argument of “but x has it so much better” doesn’t work either. A shame it came down to all this.

  11. Lestat said on March 29, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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    Mozilla does all they can to remove the advantages they have against the competition. If you ask them why, you get something like “Do you really expect us to be anti competitive?”

    Just look at how they handle full themes – Mozilla makes the life of third party app developers a living hell… and why? Because they are still better as Chrome, IE & Co. And seen from Mozilla’s new found attitude.. this is unacceptable!

    What Mozilla forgets is that people are using Firefox BECAUSE it is different and BECAUSE IT IS BETTER than the rest thanks to their add-on support and prior because of the customization features built inside (which have been sacrificed for Video Chat, tracking features, ads, DRM support and so much more – oh the irony! Removing useful features and adding bloat and stuff which goes directly against Open Source mentalities in general!)

    Seems to be all clever guys from Mozilla land have already left ship!

    Want to have a browser with developers who do what you want and implement what the user needs?

    http://www.vivaldi.com – they are right now in the process to add a customizable Firefox 22 like interphace.. piece by piece!

    Mozilla drifts further and further away from it’s Geek browser origins and for what? Mobile usage, Chrome users and simple users!

    1. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on April 2, 2015 at 9:03 am
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      Like it or not, mobile usage is on the rise and will likely continue to soar until something completely replaces the platform.

      Mozilla’s biggest shortcoming is attempting to play UI/feature catch-up with Google though, I do agree. If they’d shifted focus off that, then it would’ve been MUCH sooner that we saw a working implementation of MSE support (without the need to have users enable it themselves) in earlier versions of Firefox, among numerous other things.

      I also believe people are unjustly dumping on them for their policy changes – they aren’t just arbitrarily doing so to piss off or otherwise alienate numerous developers. The blame should be resting solely on the scummy developers who were more than willing to pollute the waters enough to warrant these changes. Days of simply shaming someone until they crawl back under the rock they came from are gone – now they just take it as a sign to re-brand themselves and continue churning out garbage until their new scheme is uncovered. Attempting to try and combat those scumbags and actively putting concern toward its users is not something Mozilla should be taking the heat for (or, at least, certainly not the majority of heat it has been taking).

  12. DonGateley said on April 2, 2015 at 9:40 am
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    @Chains…: I’m listening. Got any examples of the spoiler’s works you’re talking about?

    1. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on April 11, 2015 at 9:48 am
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      You’d have to elaborate on what you mean (spoiler? I was going to chalk up that phrasing to a disconnect in languages but you seem to have a better grasp on English than I do so that can’t be it – it’s likely I’m just too stupid to get the context). If you’re referring to me mentioning developers of bad/crappy add-ons, take any number of the ones who charged for use of an add-on and in turn were written about on a number of blogs as to how vile a business practice that is (among numerous other things).

      1. DonGateley said on April 11, 2015 at 9:58 pm
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        I see what you did there. You can’t point out any examples.

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