Back in March 2017 and April 2017 we published two articles about Firefox add-ons and the progress that was made towards WebExtensions compatibility.
This article is a follow up to those previous articles. It analyzes the situation in July three and two months after we published the initial articles.
Mozilla plans to release Firefox 57 as a WebExtensions supporting browser only in regards to add-ons. This means that any add-on that is not a WebExtension by that time will stop working. Firefox 57 will be released on November 14, 2017 according to the schedule of Firefox releases.
Legacy add-ons include all classic browser extensions but also themes and some other types of add-ons for the browser.
Note: While Firefox 57 is the target, the change may be postponed by Mozilla, for instance to hit the browser after the next major ESR release in March 2018.
The total number of WebExtensions
Back in the end of April 2017, 2273 add-ons were listed to be compatible with Firefox 57. While the methodology may miss add-ons, it is the best indicator that we have right now.
If you load https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/tag/firefox57 right now, you get 3252 add-ons that are listed as compatible with Firefox 57, an increase of about 50% in two months.
To put this in perspective, Mozilla lists a total of 19550 add-ons on Firefox AMO at the same time. The 3252 add-ons are included in the total which means that about 16% of all add-ons are compatible with Firefox 57 at this point in time. The number is up more than 4% when compared to the situation two months ago.
There are several explanations for the rise. First, that some developers have ported their extensions. New APIs became available in the meantime, and that contributed to the rise as well.
Another reason why WebExtensions are on the rise is that new legacy add-ons are not accepted on AMO anymore. This means that the number of legacy add-ons stagnates, or drops (considering that some add-ons may be removed eventually).
Top Firefox Add-ons and their WebExtension Status
I checked the status of top Firefox in the second article. I checked add-ons with the most users, the highest rating, and the top featured add-ons for that.
Note that the listing is in flux all the time. I decided to concentrate on the add-ons listed in March as it allows me to compare the progress.
Firefox Add-ons with the Most Users
- Adblock Plus -- WebExtension is being worked on. See Bug
- uBlock Origin -- WebExtension is being worked on. See GitHub page.
- Easy Screenshot -- Unknown.
- NoScript Security Suite -- WebExtension is being worked on. See our article.
- Firebug -- Will be integrated into Firefox natively.
- Ghostery -- Already available as WebExtension.
- DownThemAll -- Not going to happen.
- Greasemonkey -- Unclear, design document exists, but APIs missing. Mozilla tracking bug.
- iMacros for Firefox -- Unknown
- Google Translator for Firefox -- Unknown
- LastPass Password Manager -- LastPass 4.0 is a WebExtension. Tracking Bug.
- Tab Mix Plus -- Unknown, tracking bugs exist.
- FlashGot Mass Downloader -- Unknown. Developed by NoScript developer.
- YouTube High Definition -- Unknown.
- Search and New Tab by Yahoo -- Unknown.
Top-Rated Firefox Add-ons
- Beyond Australis -- Not going to happen.
- Classic Theme Restorer -- Not going to happen.
- YouTube High Definition -- Unknown.
- OmniSidebar -- Not going to happen.
- Disable CTRL-Q Shortcut -- Unlikely, last update in 2012.
- Puzzle Bars -- Not going to happen.
- TableTools2 - Copy/Sort/Chart/Filter Table&More -- Unlikely.
- Google search link fix -- Already a WebExtension.
- Theme Font & size Changer -- Unknown.
- Decentraleyes -- WebExtension is being worked on. Source.
- Add-ons Manager Context Menu -- Unlikely, last update in 2013.
- YouTube Plus -- Already a WebExtension.
- Magic Actions for YouTube -- Already a WebExtension.
- Classic Toolbar Buttons -- Not going to happen.
- Pray Times -- Unlikely, last updated in 2013.
- Pearltrees -- Unknown.
- Reader -- Unknown.
- Adblock Plus -- Being worked on.
- QuickMark -- Unknown.
Top Featured Firefox Add-ons
- History Submenus II -- Unknown.
- Gmail Notifier+ -- Unknown.
- Copy Plain Text 2 -- Unknown.
- Clear Console -- Unknown.
- Dictionary (Google Translate) Anywhere -- Unknown.
- Tile Tabs -- Tile Tabs WE is a WebExtension version.
- Tab Scope -- Seems unlikely.
- Private Tabs -- Unknown.
- Weather Forecast Plus -- Removed.
- Lightbeam for Firefox -- In development.
- NoScript Security Suite -- Being worked on.
- Gmail Notifier (restartless) -- Unknown.
- Messenger & Notifier for Facebook -- Unknown.
- Enhancer for Youtube -- Seems likely, as a Chrome version exists.
- Torrent Tornado -- Unknown.
- BetterPrivacy-signed -- Unknown.
- Forecastfox (fix version) -- Seems likely, as a Chrome extension exists.
- Emoji Keyboard -- Is a WebExtension.
- Clean Uninstall -- Unknown.
- Cleanest Addon Manager -- Unknown.
- Working: 7
- Being Worked On: 5
- Unknown: 31
- Won't be available: 7
The overall situation has not changed much. One extension is now available as a WebExtension, and one was pulled from AMO. This means that the status of most extensions is still unknown. Some are likely being worked on, while others will probably not make the cut.
There is a possibility that some add-ons won't be ready when Firefox 57 hits, but that they will be released at a later point in time.
About four months are left before Firefox 57 hits the release channel. A lot will happen in those four months, and it is quite difficult to estimate how well things will turn out for users of the browser in regards of ported legacy add-ons.
Now You: Let me know what you think in the comments below.