[Go Faster] DevTools System Add-on

Bryan Clark bclark at mozilla.com
Thu Jan 5 22:06:15 UTC 2017

Hey -

As the DevTools team investigates removing DevTools from the Firefox trains
we're looking at using a System add-on as the first part in our
transition.  However we have a bunch of questions about system add-ons and
how it works.

For background, the majority of Firefox DevTools users on using the tools
on the release channel.  We would like to be able to ship features and
fixes to those users much faster than we do today.  Additionally we are
investigating using our tools in other areas like Node.js debugging which
means we'd like to have the same version of tools running both within
Firefox and whatever channel distributes the Node.js debugging experience.

Right now our current (draft) transition plan is this:

*1.*  Move DevTools, DevEdition Prefs + Theme into a system add-on.  This
would allow us to achieve our goal of shipping to our users more quickly
and set us to more easily transition all of our users later.

Questions related to system add-ons:

* Can a system add-on only be installed on demand by some users?
* Can a system add-on be disabled by default and enabled for users who
choose?  (This would be an alternative to above, allowing us to ship the
add-on to everyone but only turn it on for users who want DevTools)

*2.* (this is still up in the air) is likely that we transition from system
add-on to WebExtension + System add-on.  Where the system add-on becomes
smaller and smaller, only remaining to support the WebExtension APIs we
need and the rest of the tools to live as pure WebExtensions.

Also, I've scheduled a meeting next week on the 11th to discuss this

~ Bryan
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