Extension development for beta

Magnus Melin mkmelin+mozilla at iki.fi
Mon Oct 29 11:10:34 UTC 2018

Seems I slightly misread this, but perhaps my misconception could be an 

Play store has a Firefox for Android Beta. Perhaps extensions should do 
the same, i.e. the Foobar extension should have a separate FoobarBeta 
extension that is targeting the beta channel users?


On 29-10-2018 12:04, Axel Grude wrote:
> Dear Geoff,
> please don't confuse ESR60 with Thunderbird beta. (tb63) - the ESR 
> (thunderbird 60.*) supports using install.rdf - so you can keep using 
> that unless you want to support beta versions.
> For testing beta versions I would suggest creating a separate batch 
> script for buildng. I haven't managed to get mine fully compatible yet 
> but it should be definitely possible to start from the same sources 
> without being forced to "fork" code at this stage - let the batch 
> script do the rest. You will need to build 2 different versions but 
> you can use minver & maxver to control the behavior on ATN. Nothing 
> stops you from releasing both versions alternately - they should be 
> picked up by the update mechanism based on minver / maxver.
> As regards having a separate beta trail, I think this would be the 
> best option (we had this on AMO but I think it was removed again). Is 
> this something that ATN could reintroduce?
> Axel
> *Axel Grude <mailto:axel.grude at gmail.com>*
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>> *Subject:*Extension development for beta
>> *From:*Geoff Lankow geoff at thunderbird.net
>> *To:*<tb-planning at mozilla.org>
>> *Sent: *Monday, 10/29/2018 08:37 GMT ST +0000 [Week 44]
>> We have a problem. Actually, a series of problems.
>> Firstly. For an extension to run on ESR60, it must be:
>>  1. an overlay extension with an install.rdf manifest, or
>>  2. a bootstrapped extension with an install.rdf manifest, or
>>  3. a WebExtension with a manifest.json
>> C is very rare, because ESR60 supports so few of the WebExtension 
>> APIs. B isn't an issue yet but will become one soon, so I'm ignoring 
>> it for this conversation.
>> For A to run on beta, it must have a manifest.json and /NOT/ have an 
>> install.rdf manifest. (At this point it's technically a WebExtension 
>> and we're just lying to the extensions back-end about what it's 
>> actually doing.)
>> This leads to the second problem: it's impossible to have an 
>> extension that both has an install.rdf and doesn't have an 
>> install.rdf. Therefore an extension developer cannot make an 
>> extension that can run on both ESR60 and beta.
>> (Side note: I've been trying to make a backport for ESR that can run 
>> an updated legacy extension, but I'm uncomfortable with the size of 
>> the changes.)
>> The extension developer /could/ make a separate version of their 
>> extension which is only for beta. Given the other big changes in the 
>> platform, that's probably the best option anyway, but that takes us 
>> to problem three: they can't host the beta version of their extension 
>> on ATN, because ATN no longer has support for development channel 
>> extensions. I /think/ there's an ugly workaround involving uploading 
>> versions out-of-order such that the ESR version is the one displayed, 
>> but I really don't think developers should have to deal with that, or 
>> would bother. They could also self-host the extension but I think 
>> most wouldn't want to do that.
>> We're left with a bunch of not-very-nice options, as well as all the 
>> other issues facing extension developers, which I think is just going 
>> to put a lot of developers off altogether, and we'll lose a large 
>> fraction of our extensions.
>> GL
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