Restore version information in the Firefox add-on manager - gHacks Tech News

Restore version information in the Firefox add-on manager

If you have opened the Add-ons Manager in the Firefox web browser in recent development builds, Nightly versions for instance, you may have noticed that version information were removed from the main list of add-ons.

The change, which will be applied to stable builds of Firefox in the near future, removes information about the installed version of the extension from the list of add-ons installed in the browser.

Versions are still displayed on the add-ons profile page in Firefox which you can open with a click on the more link displayed next to it in the main list of installed add-ons.

Mozilla removed versions not only from the list of installed add-ons but also from the plug-ins listing, dictionaries and themes.

firefox addon manager no versions

While the change may not be noticed by most users, it is making life difficult for users who make use of them.

Instead of seeing the version on first glance, and whether it is a beta version or not, it is now necessary to click the more link to get the version displayed.

For plug-ins for instance, it means that you need to do so to verify that you have the latest version installed and not an older version.

The reason for the change? Aesthetics according to the bug report on Bugzilla. Names in the add-on manager were truncated at times if large version numbers were used by add-ons and if the horizontal space available for the display of names and versions was not sufficient to display both as versions were always displayed in full in the manager.

Mozilla could have handled this in a different way, for instance by modifying the -- overly large -- buttons that are displayed on the same line as the name, version, description and more link.

The Firefox add-on Slim Add-on Manager -- which is not compatible with recent versions of the browser -- showed how this could be done for instance.

Mozilla could have removed the description from the main listing alternatively as it is only displaying a couple of words there as well which provide little -- some would say no -- useful information.

The new Firefox add-on Add-ons Manager - Version Number, restores the functionality in Firefox. Versions are automatically restored after installation of the add-on in the browser.

add-on versions firefox

It restores the functionality for all groups displayed in the add-ons manager of the Firefox browser.

Closing Words

The Firefox add-ons manager needs a redesign, at least on the desktop in my opinion to optimize the display of add-ons installed in the browser.

While the removal of versions from main lists of installed add-ons may not be a problem for most users, it is removing information from those pages that some will certainly consider more important than the bits of description still displayed on it.

Update: Classic Theme Restorer was updated with an option to display version information again in the Add-ons Manager. You find the new option at the bottom of the General UI (1) page in the preferences of the add-on.

Summary
Restore version information in the Firefox Add-ons Manager
Article Name
Restore version information in the Firefox Add-ons Manager
Description
Mozilla removed version information from the Firefox Add-ons Manager. This guide explains how to restore the information.
Author
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Comments

  1. Neal said on June 29, 2015 at 8:13 am
    Reply

    Why? It is beyond ridiculous, harmful even. I can’t believe Firefox wrote code to actually make firefox worse.

    1. Cristina said on June 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm
      Reply

      It’s not worse for me.

      1. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm
        Reply

        For me it is.

        Quick example: I install my uBlock Origin builds and also other add-ons from Github and because of this gratuitous change, I won’t be able to identify the currently installed version at a glance.

        Conclusion: Unfavorable regression for me…

  2. IgHive said on June 29, 2015 at 9:11 am
    Reply

    What are they smoking? One bad decision after another.

  3. Earl said on June 29, 2015 at 9:15 am
    Reply

    Hover the name to get a tooltip that includes the full name and version number.

    1. Cristina said on June 29, 2015 at 1:01 pm
      Reply

      agreed.

    2. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 2:30 pm
      Reply

      That’s still a vast step backwards for me. Hovering and tooltips in general make it very hard to keep track of more than one add-on, what means a significant loss of clarity and time that I could spend for productive things.

      I simply don’t want Mozilla to waste my time because of half-baked decisions, it’s that easy. I don’t get why this approach seems to be incomprehensible for Mozilla’s decision makers. And this is only one small piece in the puzzle of their recent (or no longer existing?) product policy.

  4. Nebulus said on June 29, 2015 at 9:54 am
    Reply

    This is counter-intuitive given the fact that it is likely that you know the names of the addons you are using, but I’m sure that nobody knows exactly which version is which, so that information can be useful for Firefox users.

  5. jimbo said on June 29, 2015 at 10:06 am
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    and so much wasted space … why not adopt small X for Remove, spanner for Options etc.
    (LH Icons ? No Scripts or Styles ? !)

    1. Cristina said on June 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm
      Reply
  6. Tom Hawack said on June 29, 2015 at 10:39 am
    Reply

    Either I’ll try to be funny either I’ll cry for good.
    I’ll try : sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a mole, a sleeper inside the Mozilla Corporation trying to do everything he can to discredit Firefox. Decisions made by the company seem to be in the perspective of stupidity. This is becoming dramatic, or funny, or both. Comediante, tragendiante .

    1. Nebulus said on June 29, 2015 at 10:49 am
      Reply

      Of course they act stupidly, but they have people that keep telling them that they are on the right track. And unfortunately they will listen to those people and reinforce their stupid decisions… and the circle never ends (actually, it will end when they will hit 0% market share, but by then it will be too late and we will lose what was once a great browser).

      1. Oxa said on June 30, 2015 at 3:16 am
        Reply

        Yup, a lot of Kool Aid drinkers at Mozilla. And we all know what happened to the original bunch of KA drinkers…

  7. Sven said on June 29, 2015 at 11:08 am
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    They have no other problem? They really have no other problems? Nuts.

  8. Uhtred said on June 29, 2015 at 11:10 am
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    I would prefer to be able to see at a glance the version number as it is a quicker way to check if need to update or to see if I have a problem release.

    But I can go with this… so forget about versions altogether, for example windows98, 2000, 7, 8.1, 10 we don’t need to say whats different, just call them windows and everyone can try and figure out what is relevant to them
    same for firefox,
    just call all the builds “firefox” and leave it at that

    1. ams said on June 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm
      Reply

      Sadly, we, and what we prefer, seem to be fringe. We are grumpy, noisy, “edge cases”.
      Look at fokka’s comment, below. Even some of us fringers who share commonality regarding certain issues, some among us “can’t even imagine why I’d need to know version information”.

      I’m struck by the fact that fokka’s outlook, in the comment below, suggests a user mindset of “I just ‘stay safe’ by enabling auto-updates for everything. Gotta stay safe. Gotta ensure everything’s updated. Yeah, sometimes it’s awkward ajdusting to changes, but remember — it’s For Your Protection.”

      Just do it. Don’t think, just do it. Go with the flow. Nanny knows best. And we respect your privacy. Hey kids, collect all six — and now, for a limited time, 20% more FREE.

      sheepledom, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

  9. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    Reply

    Waiting for Mr Sören Hentzschel’s statement here that Mozilla had to remove this feature because of potential hijacking risk and to protect their dense users from the bad bad internetz. But hey, I bet they will tinker an add-on to “repair” the add-on manager’s initial functionality. Isn’t it ironic?

    Firefox is becoming more and more unusable for advanced useres. One questionable, shortsighted and inacceptable decision chases the next one, it’s a bloody shame. I’m really looking forward to the first stable Vivaldi release and maybe even Edge (as soon as it will support stuff like uBlock Origin).

    Hasta la vista, Mozi$$a – a very disappointed Firefox user since 2002

    1. Cristina said on June 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm
      Reply

      but Firefox doesn’t exist since 2002.

      1. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 2:06 pm
        Reply

        Only the name was different before 2004 (Phoenix)

    2. fokka said on June 29, 2015 at 5:17 pm
      Reply

      ok guys, i think it’s getting ridiculous. and i don’t mean mozilla here, i mean the continuous lamenting concerning the most miniscule changes mozilla makes.

      i’m not applauding that some power users will have to use one more click/hover/addon to get to their desired information, but as an avid firefox user myself i literally can’t remember if or why i would have needed to know the version info of my addons, much less on such a continuous basis that i will damn an entire organization for having to do one more click.

      the vast majority of users will never need that info and even for me less is more in this case.

      yes, i would prefer to have a simple switch to display/hide stuff like that, even via about:config, but your constant crying about stuff like that, when mozilla simply wants to make a nicer browser for more people, is starting to get on my nerves.

      1. nonqu said on June 29, 2015 at 11:42 pm
        Reply

        “when mozilla simply wants to make a nicer browser for more people”

        And by doing so they continue to lose market share. I wonder how long it will take them to get to 5%.
        On the other hand, I guess you may be right. More people are likely to check out other, nicer browsers.

        It’s the power users that install/recommend browsers to their friends. When they have no reason to recommend firefox because to a normal user it’s just a worse version of blink-based browser, they recommend chrome/opera.

    3. fokka said on June 29, 2015 at 5:19 pm
      Reply

      there’s really no need to badmouth sören here, no matter how disappointed you are in mozilla’s decisions.

      1. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 5:47 pm
        Reply

        I agree with you that it’s getting ridiculous. But it’s Mozilla’s self-destructing decisions that are ridiculous and they literally provoke advanced users to react as frantic as I’m doing now.

        An add-on manager that doesn’t allow me to “manage” things properly is a bad joke, sorry. It’s like removing file size information from Finder/Explorer/Nautilus/*insert your file manager here* because it doesn’t look pretty *whine*.

        They continue to dumb down their once beloved browser more and more with the gloves off. What they are forgetting in my eyes is the fact that I can use Safari (or Internet Explorer) out of the box if I’d like to use a crippled browser with a rudimentary add-on system.

        I simply can’t take Mozilla and their obscure practices seriously any longer. And this is what’s actually the saddest part of the story – besides the fact that advanced users who made them big in the early days are sold down the river.

      2. Nebulus said on June 29, 2015 at 7:23 pm
        Reply

        It’s not my fault that Soren comes here and disregards any criticism, posing at the same time as a defender of Mozilla… If all you can say is that you and your corporation are right and everyone else is wrong, you can expect a less than friendly attitude from other people…

  10. Joker said on June 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm
    Reply

    Great example of Modern Mozilla.

    The bug is about the addon-names and version-numbers being truncated. Clearly a bug, let’s fix it!
    And instead of changing and adapting the Holy UX Design to get rid of the bug, some Mozilla-higher-up demands the removal of this information, because UX. Function follows form.
    Rather fitting, considering the vast majority of Firefox-devs are Apple-fans…

    So, the bottom line is: If you find a problem in a useful feature, be cautious: Your wish for correction may cause the complete removal of this feature.

  11. jiri74 said on June 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm
    Reply

    Better and better. Few versions ago I lost possibility to fill in username and passwords into web forms using fingerprint reader on my HP Probook. Instead of cool and secure way to fill in forms I have got stupid Firefox Hello that I disabled immediately. Integrated Pocket, which I do not use too, is on the way. I am afraid that in few years, there will be integrated games like Snake and an optional plugin to browse the internet.

    1. Hy said on June 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm
      Reply

      “and an optional plugin to the browse the internet.” :) Amen! Love it.

      Sad but true. Agree with the comments above.

      Heartbreaking for me, too, to see FF’s demise. This month marks 10 years since I began using it.

      I am, however, reminded of Churchill’s comment about democracy. To paraphrase: “Firefox and these Mozilla-based browsers are the worst browsers out there, except for all the other ones.”

      I will continue to use Cyberfox and Waterfox unless and until something I like better comes along. And for me, there’s nothing in sight.

  12. WaltS48 said on June 29, 2015 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

    I love you all.

    You would be complaining, asking what Mozilla is smoking, if there had been no version numbers for extensions and Mozilla decided to add them.

    Martin would be writing an article on how to remove them.

    1. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 1:59 pm
      Reply

      Are you Walter Mossberg from Re/code? If so: Hello :)

      1. Pants said on June 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm
        Reply

        Maybe he’s Walter Bishop from Fringe?

    2. Sven said on June 29, 2015 at 9:06 pm
      Reply

      @namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul);

      @-moz-document url(“about:addons”) {
      .name-container .version {
      display: none !important;
      }
      }

  13. Pants said on June 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm
    Reply

    “The Firefox add-on Slim Add-on Manager — which is not compatible with recent versions of the browser”

    Ummm .. I’m on 38.05 and its working perfectly.

    1. xlarge said on June 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm
      Reply

      Are you my Pink Panther silk underpants? The ones with the “Too sexy for his fur” lettering? If so: Hello :)

      1. Pants said on June 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm
        Reply

        Only on Tuesdays

  14. Dan82 said on June 29, 2015 at 5:56 pm
    Reply

    Can’t understand that decision. Nothing more needs to be said, no flaming and no desperate cries of Firefox self-destructing.

  15. Geo said on June 29, 2015 at 6:06 pm
    Reply

    Classic Theme Restorer now has an option to restore the version numbers.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 29, 2015 at 6:11 pm
      Reply

      That’s great news, thanks for the information!

  16. Dieu said on June 29, 2015 at 6:17 pm
    Reply

    Keep going backward… :(

  17. Tommy said on June 29, 2015 at 6:18 pm
    Reply

    Old uncle Moz, now sadly very frail not to mention nutty and peculiar was a beloved guy in his youth, but now his friends have started to wonder if it would perhaps, not be a kindness to press a pillow over his face on his next snooze. Everyday there seems to be one more nail in his coffin, so sad!

  18. Noitidart said on June 29, 2015 at 10:23 pm
    Reply

    Its just nightly guys, it may not land to stable :P
    If it does land, its not so bad, I generally know the version number of addon based on look/functioality and igo to addon page for this info.

    My biggest qualm is I want to see a design of the addons panel, options panel etc tat differs from google chrome design. :(

    1. Earl said on June 30, 2015 at 4:05 am
      Reply

      Actually, it’s in DevEd/Aurora (Fx40) now. It’s part of the new AOM redesign to match the new inContent layout/design (such as with Options now). It’s unlikely Mozilla will change its direction on this.

  19. firefoxlover said on June 29, 2015 at 10:36 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla taketh away as it’s convinced that we users are seeing way too much info – NOT!!

    Since they have been tinkering with Fx I’ve had to install 4-5 extensions to make up for their stupid decisions, not to mention the crap such as pocket etc they forced upon us which I have all of them deleted. Been a user of Fx since Nov 2004 and it definitely has been losing major points. Have been using Pale Moon for some years and absolutely loving this browser.

    Bye bye Fx.

  20. Mick said on June 29, 2015 at 11:11 pm
    Reply

    I use the add-on called Cleanest Add-on Manager, in my opinion it gives a better makeover, hope it’ll still be working with future versions. And yes, the FF add-ons manager is rather clumsy and depressing, just like their bookmarks manager, downloads mgr, file download dialog and some other things, which look more fun in Chrome and even IE.

  21. mariustm said on June 30, 2015 at 8:17 am
    Reply

    Oh boy here we go complaining again about Firefox,the addon manager is perfect,I don’t know what you guys are smoking,no version numbers for extensions in the future,I’m pretty sure there will be an extension for that too;no not another extension that consumes so much kb of ram some will going to say,cause we really lack ram these days!

  22. smaragdus said on July 2, 2015 at 12:54 am
    Reply

    There is a need for a chronicler for all Mozilla idiotic decisions which drive more and more users away from Firefox- a timeline for Mozilla idiocies.

  23. All Things Firefox said on July 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm
    Reply

    This is a weird decision. Maybe they figure the version numbers are cluttering up the page, but it’s stupid to have to resort to an addon to restore this functionality. I sometimes need to see version numbers quickly, since uBlock Origin doesn’t auto-update to the latest version and I need to install it from Github. Bad decision.

  24. Ben said on July 3, 2015 at 12:53 pm
    Reply

    This is ridiculous and even very dangerous when it comes to plugins (flash).
    Version numbers get truncated? Maybe upgrade the 30 year old monitor/resolution.
    Totally stupid and unnecessary and just feeds the anti-FF trolls.

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