Extension development for beta

Axel Grude axel.grude at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 12:37:51 UTC 2018


Dear Magnus,

no there was an actual "beta channel" within the ADd-ons: if you uploaded a  Add-on 
with the string "b / a / beta / alpha / pre" contained in the version number it would 
be marked as such and not shown on the main page but listed in versions. If a user 
installed that they would go on the "beta-trail" and be updated with other betas. (As 
far as I remember). I think the disadvantage was that new "release" versions would not 
auto-update users on the beta-trail, so if you didn't release newer betas, then beta 
users would eventually be "left behind".

Of course it is possible that I imagined the whole thing, but I did have beta releases 
for QuickFolders for a while. It could also have been a checkbox on the AMO submission 
form. Maybe Jorge remembers.

regards,
   Axel

*Axel Grude <mailto:axel.grude at gmail.com>*
Music Production and Composition
Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders 
<https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/quickfolders-tabbed-folders/>, 
quickFilters <https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/quickfilters/>, 
QuickPasswords <https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/quickpasswords/>, Zombie Keys 
<https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/zombie-keys/>, SmartTemplate4 
<https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/smarttemplate4/>)
Visit my YouTube Channel <https://www.youtube.com/c/thunderbirddaily> for email 
productivity tips Get Thunderbird!
> *Subject:*Re: Extension development for beta
> *From:*Magnus Melin <mkmelin+mozilla at iki.fi>
> *To:*<tb-planning at mozilla.org>
> *Sent: *Monday, 10/29/2018 11:10 GMT ST +0000 [Week 44]
>
> Seems I slightly misread this, but perhaps my misconception could be an idea:
>
> 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?
>
>   -Magnus
>
> 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>*
>> Music Production and Composition
>> Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders 
>> <https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/quickfolders-tabbed-folders/>, 
>> quickFilters <https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/quickfilters/>, 
>> QuickPasswords <https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/quickpasswords/>, Zombie 
>> Keys <https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/zombie-keys/>, SmartTemplate4 
>> <https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/smarttemplate4/>)
>> Visit my YouTube Channel <https://www.youtube.com/c/thunderbirddaily> for email 
>> productivity tips Get Thunderbird!
>>> *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
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> tb-planning mailing list
>>> tb-planning at mozilla.org
>>> https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning
>>
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