Deprecation of OpenSearch XML add-ons & current users

Hi, I wanted to confirm that users will not lose use of previously installed OpenSearch XML search engine plugins when they are removed from AMO. (Seems that they shouldn’t.)

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And will you still be able to install them directly from pages offering OpenSearch for their site? (Via “Add” in the dropdown on Firefix’ search field).
I am for example offering it on (Yes, most likely I’m the only one who would install it for my homepage, but that’s just a quick example site).


From the announcement:

…Mozilla intends to deprecate OpenSearch and eventually remove it from Firefox.


For Search Engine add-ons to continue working, they must be converted to an extension using the WebExtensions API by December 3, 2019.

According to the Firefox release calendar, Firefox 71 is scheduled to be released on that day (Dec 3), so I would expect OpenSearch support to be removed in Firefox 71. (I would expect all previously installed OpenSearch add-ons will be removed / stop working, and no new OpenSearch add-ons can be installed.)

I don’t think OpenSearch support is being completely removed from the product in the immediate future. The current Firefox Nightly still allows installation of OpenSearch plugins directly from websites (item on the bottom of the Page Actions menu on sites that offer one).

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The timeline on the email only addresses the AMO plan. There are no concrete dates for the eventual changes in Firefox.


Oh I see - good to know.

So in this sentence:

For Search Engine add-ons to continue working, they must be converted to an extension using the WebExtensions API by December 3, 2019.

What will happen on December 3, exactly? I get that search engine add-ons will be removed on Dec 5, but how will they cease to “continue working” on Dec 3?

I can see how that phrasing is confusing. It’s really referring to you as a developer continuing having a valid search listing on AMO and, longer term, having a working add-on for Firefox users. It didn’t intend to say current search engines installed in people’s profiles would cease working then.

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I would be interested in @stig 's case as well.

It’s extremely useful to go to the firefox’s page menu and be able to choose “add this search engine” without having to leave the search engine page (e.g.: having to go to the AMO page)


Something like that is being considered for the Firefox side of things, but it’s out of my domain, so I can’t make any promises about it.

Since opensearch will not be supported, this means we will cease to be able to add search engines from the menu until this is implemented in Firefox (which, by current standards, means MANY years! - This feature, in my case, this is extremely useful and i would hate to loose it)

So, this means a few steps backward… again…

Why not support both and deprecate OpenSearch ONLY when the new api has feature parity with this?

What’s the big rush about it???

Like I said before, the post and email are all about removing support from AMO. That doesn’t impact any features in Firefox. I can’t say much about what the timeline for changes in Firefox will be like.

Based on my searches in Bugzilla, there’s no big rush to remove OpenSearch support from Firefox. It may not be a web standard, but it is well established and used by many sites. If anything, Mozilla is under pressure to better support OpenSearch plugins advertised in web pages (similar to Chrome’s tab-to-search feature).

My extension Add custom search engine uses OpenSearch files and the window.external.AddSearchProvider API. Mozilla once already tried to remove that function, but luckily reverted the change after too much breakage. I think Firefox should natively support adding custom search engines like Chrome.

I really don’t understand Mozilla’s vision for search engines.

I think Mozilla was very afraid of users got attacks or phishings if they accessed some fake search engines via the OpenSearch plugins that they have installed from unclear source. However the new APIs need to be robust enough to be the replacement.