Firefox 5 to overhaul add-on management

Early concept designs for Firefox 5 suggest Mozilla will move to simplify add-on management and updates.

Earlier today, Neowin reported that early designs for Firefox 5, which could ship as early as mid-year, had been found on areweprettyyet.com, a site known to be used by the Firefox UI team.

Further Neowin investigations into the site have turned up a number of other concept images that suggest Mozilla may introduce automatic updating for add-ons, along with a vastly simplified process for checking the compatibility of add-ons with a new Firefox version.

The concepts, titled ''Potential Selection Screen Interface'', feature two shots of a redesigned add-on manager, with one titled ''Automatic Add-on Update Are [sic] Enabled''. The other is titled ''The User Has Disabled Automatic Add-on Updates'', clearly suggesting that Firefox 5 users will be able to enable such a feature. At the moment, Firefox will prompt the user when an add-on update is available, but will not install an update without user interaction.

A text addendum to the screen shots suggests any add-ons installed without user permission will be disabled until the user chooses to have them enabled. It is possible Mozilla will introduce such a feature to proactively prevent add-ons disturbing the user's browsing experience, as happened last month prior to Mozilla's blocking of the Skype add-on for Firefox.

The add-on compatibility wizard, largely unchanged between several versions of Firefox, may also be in for an overhaul. The concept designs suggest the number of screens shown to the user could be cut to three, with each screen redesigned with simplicity in mind.

Of course, which of these features, if any, makes Firefox 5 remains to be seen. The Firefox 2011 Roadmap, hosted on the Mozilla wiki, suggests the company is moving to match Google's frenetic Chrome release schedule, with Mozilla apparently aiming to have Firefox 4,5,6 and 7 out the door in the 2011 calendar year. That kind of schedule will likely require some serious organisational changes, given that the company has taken more than a year just to get Firefox 4 close to the release candidate stage.

Image Credit: areweprettyyet

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31 Comments

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I agree. The add-on manager for Firefox 4 looks awful compared to Firefox 3's, and this mockup screenshot looks way better than Firefox 4's add-on manager.

XP1 said,
I agree. The add-on manager for Firefox 4 looks awful compared to Firefox 3's, and this mockup screenshot looks way better than Firefox 4's add-on manager.

i actually wonder if it will ship with installing addons without the need of restarts... IE can do this for ages, whats keeping FF so behind

i hate having to restart FF every time i enable/disable/install an addon

Mozilla is planing pretty nice features, although they're taking more features from other browsers, but when it comes to copying features from other browsers.. who cares? I'm sure Mozilla will copy it better then the other IE9, and chrome maybe.

floopy said,
Copying IE9 features much? LMAO! But seriously, in the end it's a good thing but still it's hilarious.

Technically this is an IE8 feature. Might even be an IE7 feature, I'm not sure.

Baines said,

Technically this is an IE8 feature. Might even be an IE7 feature, I'm not sure.


do know most havent used IE in years which is why most IE9 beta users are like 'OMG WOW' even tho most of the functionality has been part of IE7 and IE8 already.
besides a new theme and few new functions, IE9 is basically an updated IE8 (yesyes, better kernel, better render engine etc. but thats just upgrades, its not completely now )

What was the point of wasting all the time redesigning it in fx 4 for, if they are just going to totally change it again?

Why is there all this talk about FF5 when the notorious FF4 isn't even out yet and is still in development hell?

spacer said,
Why is there all this talk about FF5 when the notorious FF4 isn't even out yet and is still in development hell?

That's how some developers work, they begin to work on next product before the current one has shipped.

spacer said,
Why is there all this talk about FF5 when the notorious FF4 isn't even out yet and is still in development hell?

If by development hell, you mean just about done, then sure.

I'm not sure if you knew this, but generally every real organization plans ahead; they don't just schedule on a day-to-day basis.

Planning ahead and creating press releases are two totally different things. Of course it makes sense that they're planning the next version before the current one is out. But it makes no sense to advertise it now.

Also, several dead-line slips, way too many betas and a RC on the horizon puts that firmly in development hell, in my opinion.

spacer said,
Why is there all this talk about FF5 when the notorious FF4 isn't even out yet and is still in development hell?

Because the design phase and feature freeze for Firefox 4 is since a rather long time ago over, and their UX team and others have already moved on, despite of course OTHER developers still working hard to fix the last few remaining bugs for the RC. (~20 of them)

spacer said,
Planning ahead and creating press releases are two totally different things. Of course it makes sense that they're planning the next version before the current one is out. But it makes no sense to advertise it now.

Also, several dead-line slips, way too many betas and a RC on the horizon puts that firmly in development hell, in my opinion.


They aren't advertising it yet. Their UX team has been blogging about it, that's all. Oh, and their dev team have been sketching a roadmap. But that's it. They are working on it, so why not post about it? Firefox is an open project with an open communication with their community, unlike IE. Mozilla have never been keeping things secret until they're "ready to be revealed".

Do Mozilla think the people that employ/install their browser really care about what version number it is?
As long as the browser is functional (with good add-ons) and doesn`t crash all the time people will use it. Sometimes less can equal more, sometimes it`s the opposite

I used to be a huge firefox fan then switched to chrome a a year or so and now with the latest beta I am a firefox user yet again. The browser is very nice and the addons are the best out of any browser I have used. I have tried the latest opera and ie9 and they just don't really company to chrome or firefox IMO.

At least there's some thought put into this - that most of these changes make more sense. I think we're just used to that programs look in a certain way (even if it sucks...)

Neobond said,
I for one welcome our Mozilla overlords. Bring on Firefox 5, 6 and 7 all before 2012!

Haha! I live to see the better and best of Firefox!

Neobond said,
I for one welcome our Mozilla overlords. Bring on Firefox 5, 6 and 7 all before 2012!

Firefox 4 is not a modern browser: Opera is much better, they have version 11 already!

Simon Stark said,

IE9 is really for the win... Only

I was serious, either way.
Gotta love when people bash one or another browser. Just use whichever you like the most.

Neobond said,
I for one welcome our Mozilla overlords. Bring on Firefox 5, 6 and 7 all before 2012!

Jesus we're not even out of Firefox 4 Beta and they are already on about Firefox 5 maybe this is because they have had an overhaul of Mozilla management as well.