Add-on support in new Firefox for Android

@irvin People are mentioning Kiwi Browser a lot. I haven’t tried it, because I don’t like using Chromium-based browsers. But that would be the main competitor at the moment, for users who no longer want to use the now-insecure Fennec.

Of course, installing Fennec F-Droid would let you see the effect of what Firefox used to be like, and what people used to have when Firefox supported addons properly. I recommend installing the “I don’t care about cookies” addon in Fennec or Kiwi browser, and visit literally any site to see how much cleaner the web is compared with Fenix. This is just an example of one extension that has been suddenly removed from people’s browsing experience. Many other users will have been using other addons which are now disabled, causing much frustration for over a month now. Would that help to prioritise development?

@tanriol has a very good line of questioning, and I’ve love to hear answers to those questions. I hope there isn’t a google-esque silence.

Hi @tanriol, thanks so much for sharing these questions and for your offer to help. :slight_smile:

Are there any hidden blockers that haven’t been mentioned in the list above, but absolutely must be fixed for this feature to come, even in Nightly?

I’m not aware of any technical blocks, but on the non-technical side, some of the team members responsible for creating this setting took some personal time off this month. :slight_smile: They’ll be back this week and we’re still expecting this feature to land in Nightly by the end of the September.

if someone contributes the code with the pref that you could just review, merge and fix the problem, would that speed up things?

Our developer community is awesome and we really do appreciate folks who contribute patches to extend the platform. In general, we assign P1s and other must-have issues – like enabling a setting to install arbitrary extensions – to staff members. However, as you mentioned in your post, there is a lot involved with supporting add-ons! As we were updating the documentation for developing add-ons in Fenix, we found some issues related to how web-ext and the linter handle Fenix extensions. I’ll check with the team to see if any of these might be good for contributors.


As we were updating the documentation for developing add-ons in Fenix, we found some issues related to how web-ext and the linter handle Fenix extensions

I just double-checked these issues; they should be fixed as soon as the updates to the browser compatibility tables are released on MDN. The updates have been submitted to MDN [1] and it looks like we are just waiting for a new version to be released.

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Thank you for reminding, I tend to forget about this possibility :slight_smile:

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I used that guide to set up web-ext and used it to temporary-install one of my add-ons into nightly. Quite a lot of it works, but some features must be enabled in its options. I couldn’t see how to access the add-on’s options page, either from within Fenix or from remote-debugging. How do I do that?

Hey @DaveRo, try running the following in the browser console:

ChromeUtils.import("resource://gre/modules/GeckoViewTab.jsm").GeckoViewTabBridge.openOptionsPage(<extension id>)

This is so ridiculous. This is not a solution to the problem. This is not even a workaround.

This is an insult to all Firefox users that have ever installed an add-on and above all an insult to all add-on developers, as all developers have started small and know that no add-on could ever reach a “recommended” status out of the box. We need all add-ons back in the “production” versions of the browser. Fast.

I have switched to F-Droid Fennec for now, well knowing that this is not going to be a solution for long, but I was hoping to give Mozilla a long chance to win me back. Seeing the way things are going, I am doubting Mozilla will get it’s act together.

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3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Iceraven mobile browser

Could you please show a bit more respect to people who are working to make the browser better?

They may be doing things that do not match your expectations, but that’s not a reason to insult them. They may have more information about that than we do, or they may have different priorities, and that’s not a reason to be disrespectful. I also hope that the Fenix team will at some point change their stance and allow any addons on stable version, but that’s likely blocked on implementing at least some of the key APIs they haven’t got yet — or, possibly, on making sure a bad quality addon cannot degrade the system performance radically. Anyway, I tend to trust the statement that for now this limitation is needed.

@caitmuenster Thanks.
I forked this technical discussion to here:
Debugging an addon in Fenix Nightly

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Criticism is not disrespect. To want to end disharmony by calling it disrespect is neither right nor helpful.

I myself worked on the (now rightly scrapped) rendering engine back in 2001-2003, mainly constructing and providing test-cases, but also contributing a few lines of code here and there, so I am emotionally invested in Mozilla. Decisons made increasingly less by the community and more by “The Foundation” are threatening the future of an open internet. Assuming a position in which one can make decisons (project leaders, developers, etc.) also means having to assume responsibilitiy for those decisions and thus having to listen to the criticism that results and reply accordingly. This is what is happening here, nothing else.

I would welcome two responses by the foundation: 1. We are working to bring back support of any and all add-ons to the the Firefox releases, our goal is e.g. the Beginning of Q1/2021. 2. We messed up, we realised that now, please bear with us while we fix this.

I don’t need an apology for my ego, but it would underscore the pledge to bring back what made FF what it was, an integral piece of the open web.

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Criticism is not, but calling others’ actions “ridiculous” and “insult” feels like disrespect to me. Sorry if that does not match your perspective. Also, I apologize for using the same words in my previous reply to you.

AFAIK, your “The Foundation” here should refer to the Mozilla Corporation, not to the Mozilla Foundation, correct?

Let’s be realistic: the best case we could expect would be “all WebExtensions signed with AMO”, and most likely also “…marked as Fenix-compatible”.

I’ve been testing my own addons with nightly to see what works and what doesn’t.

Works fine. It’s about a dozen lines of code and had 100+ users.

I’ve never understood why anyone would want to open tabs in background by default. But ideally this would be an option in settings; in desktop Fx there is a pref - browser.tabs.loadInBackground.

These two addons:

don’t work -I assume there’s no context menu API (yet?). They had 50-100 users IIRC.

Those would be better done with gestures.

My personal most important addon, the one I mentioned in the other thread, will probably work. But testing has revealed some layout differences. Curiously, I see the same differences when I run it in Chromium Edge! I wonder why?

I just want to make it clear, Iceraven is a volunteer project and not official. Use official methods with Fenix before you report anything. Also, the Fenix code changes all the time. They might be behind the Fenix developers.

Does anyone know how to move this discussion about IceRaven to another topic? Seems improper for this topic.

I can help move Iceraven to a separate topic. :slight_smile:

I assume there’s no context menu API (yet?).

Correct; context menus are currently not supported.

But testing has revealed some layout differences.

That sounds about right. We worked pretty closely with the developers of the extensions currently enabled on release to integrate their extension’s UX with that of Fenix. I’m currently working on making those recommendations more broadly available on Firefox Extension Workshop, but it’s going to take some time to build that documentation.

Curiously, I see the same differences when I run it in Chromium Edge! I wonder why?

That’s coincidental but interesting. :slight_smile:

Thanks. I can’t think of a good title for the thread. Maybe something like “Further Add-On Support in IceRaven, a Fenix Fork”. I would need to edit the first post before actually creating it. Been a while since I’ve created a topic in a forum.

Hi all. I wanted to share these two recent updates about add-on support on Firefox for Android:

  • 10 more Recommended Extensions have been enabled on Firefox for Android. Google Search Fixer and Video Background Play Fix are currently available on the Beta channel be available on release during the next update on October 20. The other eight extensions are currently available on Nightly and, as long as no major issues are found, are scheduled to move into the release channel with the November 17 update.

  • Firefox for Android Nightly now includes an override that allows you to install extensions listed on AMO via AMO’s Collections feature. Instructions for configuring the override can be found in this blog post. The post also links to information about which WebExtensions APIs are currently supported on Android.


@caitmuenster Thanks for that, and to the devs. I have installed my Mudcat addon in Nightly.

I wanted to install this but I can’t add it to my collection: ‘Find an addon to include in this collection’ doesn’t find it. Paradoxically I suspect that’s because it’s in AMO as an Android addon - not available for the desktop platform. I suspect that’s unintentional.

Based on earlier descriptions of how the search works you’d have to either fake your user agent to look like Firefox for Android or add it to the collection with Firefox for Android.