Mozilla wants Chrome, Opera extension to run on Firefox with minimal changes

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Mozilla is bringing about a change in the way developers create add-ons or extensions for Firefox and to cut out the work of developers who maintain the same extension for Chrome, Safari, or Opera.

“We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors”, announced Mozilla.

For this, with Firefox 42, which is currently in developer edition, Mozilla is introducing Blink-compatible API in Firefox dubbed WebExtensions API using which developers will be able to make the same extension available on Firefox and Chrome with a minimal number of changes to repackage for each platform.

Mozilla’s vision is to have extension code written for Chrome, Opera, or, possibly in the future, Microsoft Edge will run in Firefox with few changes as a WebExtension. Mozilla says that the new API, which is JavaScript-centric, has a number of advantages including support for multi-process browsers by default and ability to mitigate the risk of misbehaving add-ons and malware.

According to the Mozilla, WebExtensions will behave like other Firefox add-ons and once signed by Mozilla they will be discoverable through addons.mozilla.org (AMO) or through the developer’s website.

Mozilla is currently in talks with other browser vendors to begin an effort to standardize at least some of this API.