Firefox 57, Add-ons, and ShareOnVibe

Posted on Nov 6, 2017 in Firefox, ShareOnVibe

As some of you probably have noticed, the next release of Firefox – version 57, to be released on November 14th, 2017 – will not be supporting so-called *legacy* Add-ons anymore. Only Add-ons built on WebExtensions technology will be loaded.

To run legacy Add-ons, you need to run Firefox ESR, which is currently on version 52.4. However, on June 26th, 2018, the ESR branch of Firefox will be based on version 59 only, so legacy Add-ons will stop working on ESR on that date, too.

Migrating legacy Add-ons to WebExtensions technology is not at all an easy task, and is almost always coupled with a loss of functionality. This is on the one hand because of WebExtensions having to follow the lowest common denominator of all supported browsers – these currently being Firefox, Chrome, Edge and Opera – and on the other hand due to Mozilla not providing the same level of functionality/APIs through WebExtensions which are available to legacy Add-ons.
These limitations show in the use of context menus, on usability of buttons and more. Additionally, internationalisation and access to networks and files is a lot more limited with WebExtensions.
A large number of developers of even the biggest Add-ons out there have stated that it is not feasible to migrate their Add-ons with justifiable effort, since often, a full rebuild of the code is required. This shows in the fact that many developers have taken their time with migrating their Add-on, which is evident for many users in often more than 80% of installed Add-ons listed under *about:addons* sporting the “legacy” label.

ShareOnVibe is not immune to these challenges, because to make your life this much easier, ShareOnVibe uses a host of technologies, many of which are strongly affected by the Add-on technology change. We are in close contact with all our customers who are on active maintenance (all of whom are using the ESR version of Firefox), and for some time now, we have been working with them on defining the optimal feature set to provide using the new technology. As described, the current situation provides a challenge, but also opens up large opportunities for a bright future of ShareOnVibe:

  • WebExtensions allow for easy portability to Chrome and Edge, allowing us to provide more customers with ShareOnVibes benefits than ever before.
  • Rebuilding much of the underlying infrastructure of ShareOnVibe lets us make ShareOnVibe even faster and better.
  • During the rebuild, we can enable ShareOnVibe‘s technology for expanding sharing functionality to other target systems like e.g. Micro Focus Filr.
  • With a new version, we can leverage the amazingness of our customer base to optimise the feature set and capabilities of ShareOnVibe to deliver an even better product.

If you are using ShareOnVibe, but are not under active maintenance, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we appreciate your input and look forward to welcoming you on the upcoming exciting journey toward a WebExtensions-based ShareOnVibe.

As for the “legacy Add-on” version of ShareOnVibe, we will keep testing the compatibility with the ESR versions of Firefox, and will update compatibility information accordingly.

Thanks for reading, and keep Sharing On Vibe!