Mozilla Launches Jetpack Firefox Add-On Project

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-05-20
 
 
 

Mozilla Labs has announced the launch of Jetpack, a project that aims to explore new ways to extend and personalize the Web. 

With Jetpack, Mozilla is making the add-on creation process much more accessible technically, allowing anyone who can build a Website to participate in making the Web a better place to work, communicate and play, the company said.

In a blog post on the launch, Aza Raskin, Atul Varma and Nick Nguyen, on behalf of the Jetpack development team, said:

"With Jetpack, we're building upon our experience over the last four years empowering a community of more than 8,000 developers to produce more than 12,000 add-ons to imagine and build the next generation of the add-ons platform. We want to grow our community of developers by orders of magnitude through making add-on creation much more accessible, and yet more powerful by developing it as an extensible platform for innovation itself. Many useful Jetpack Features can be written in under a dozen lines of code."

In essence, Jetpack will enable developers using Web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript to enhance the browser.

Spearheaded by Raskin, head of user experience at Mozilla, Jetpack allows developers to build features that are secure, easy to install and faster to review. These features can be added to the browser without a restart or compatibility issues, resulting in little to no disruption to the online experience.

With Jetpack, building a new Firefox feature will be as easy as simply writing a few lines of code, Mozilla said. The Mozilla platform gives developers an easy way to connect with the 300 million users of the Web, empowering Mozilla's community of more than 8,000 developers to share their features with the larger online community, the company said.

Raskin and company's post also said, "The add-ons community for Firefox is arguably one of the largest, most vibrant sources for innovation on the Web today. If you want to affect people, to reach them and make a difference in their daily lives, the Firefox add-ons platform is hard to beat, with over one billion installs of Firefox add-ons to date."

However, the team warns that Jetpack is still quite raw, as in "unpolished, unfinished, and still highly prototyped" in its initial release. The 0.1 version of Jetpack includes:

  • Initial Jetpack APIs with support for status bars, tabs, content scripts, animations and more.

  • Support for external API libraries (e.g., Twitter)

  • jQuery support

  • Integrated development environment with Bespin, with immediate installs and a fast development cycle

  • Inline debugging with Firebug

This initial release of the Jetpack API does not include a fully formed security model. It is being released for testing, development and feedback.

 


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