Extension development for beta

Onno Ekker o.e.ekker at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 14:07:32 UTC 2018


Hi Axel,
There actually used to be a beta channel or development channel on amo,
you're not imagining this. I guess Mozilla dropped this, because there was
no more need for a development channel with webextensions, or they thought
it was a security issue, because with the development channel users had the
option to install unreviewed add-ons, which might contain viruses or do
harmful things to the users browsing experience…
It's be great if the development channel would be reinstated on
addons.thunderbird.net…
Onno


On Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 1:37 PM Axel Grude <axel.grude at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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 <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 [image: Get Thunderbird!]
>
> *Subject:*Re: Extension development for beta
> *From:*Magnus Melin <mkmelin+mozilla at iki.fi> <mkmelin+mozilla at iki.fi>
> *To:*<tb-planning at mozilla.org> <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 <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 [image: Get Thunderbird!]
>
> *Subject:*Extension development for beta
> *From:*Geoff Lankow geoff at thunderbird.net
> *To:*<tb-planning at mozilla.org> <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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