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And now they wait…

I guess giving 3 month’s advanced notice wasn’t enough for most add-on authors. I guess this is partly our fault, and we should stress enough how important it is for them to stay up to date with Firefox new, or at least the Add-ons Blog.

On Thursday, the update queue had about 80 add-on updates in line to be reviewed. This is a short as it’s been for a very long time. Today it stands close to 200 updates, and will continue to grow in the following couple of weeks. All authors are now rushing out updates because they just realized Firefox 3.6 is out.

Well, now it’s up to the editor team to catch up. It’ll take a while, I think. Authors that decided to update after the 3.6 release will now have to wait. It’s bad for everyone, and the result of bad communication. That’s something we’ll need to work on.

{ 10 } Comments

  1. davide ficano | 2010/01/24 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    I think your communication is good, version after version it is better. The problem is related to the fact many authors stay “out” of the community, they don’t follow any channel and maybe they ignored emails sent from addon team.

    Should be interesting to see the first one hundred downloaded extension update responsiveness.

  2. Dave | 2010/01/24 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    “bad communication”? In some instances, maybe, but for many it may just be good ol’ fashioned procrastination. ;)

  3. James John Malcolm | 2010/01/24 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    AMO has the email address of all the extension writers, right?

    Why not mail them when the beta is out (or whenever the api is stable) and ask them to update their extensions to be compatible? (Or has that been tried already?)

  4. jorge | 2010/01/24 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    @Dave: absolutely :) .

    @James: yes, we send an email to our top add-on authors (based on usage) in order to warn them about the upcoming release. Sending a message to *all* authors may be a little overkill, considering that many are not active or interested in updating. Many opt out of compatibility notifications as well.

  5. Ken Saunders | 2010/01/24 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Hey sorry for being lazy and re-posting a comment that I left elsewhere (and for the dribble), but it directly pertains to your post.

    About add-on updating, the older, more popular and most used ones are (just about) always kept up to date so that shouldn’t be the reason for mass amounts of users not upgrading Fx despite what some sample feedback might say. For the add-ons that aren’t updated that people hold out on and that don’t upgrade Fx because of, those are mostly flash in the pan ones that are the biggest issue. The ones where a developer’s add-on becomes massively popular and they decide not to update it and maintain it for whatever reason (usually because of time constraints and real world issues). There’s a long list of those but more often than not, new developers will take on, or adapt that add-on but not in time for the latest product release.
    A few solutions for that would be;
    Developer’s who have no plans on maintaining their add-on(s) for the next Fx (or other) release should have their add-on(s) dropped from the recommended add-ons list.
    Those developers should make clear that they’ll no longer be maintaining their add-on and encourage, and work with those that might be interested in taking over. A simple notice in the add-on’s description on AMO isn’t good enough. Other developers don’t see it.
    Creating a new category in the AMO (and perhaps mozillaZine) forums plus adding AMO and Mozilla site promos to “Adopt an Add-on” wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
    When an add-on becomes incompatible with the most recent version of a Moz product, it should be moved to a new “Incompatible” Add-ons category where users have to implicitly choose to view them like they have to for experimental ones and not be made available through AMO’s general search. There are still add-ons that show up for Fx 1.
    Providing some sort of extra recognition and perhaps an AMO award or badge for add-ons that are successfully upgraded to be compatible with the next Moz product release is a good idea also, and of course recognize the developers too. It amazes me how many developers there are that have consistently maintained their add-ons since the initial release (or soon after) of Firefox. Ed Hume, Mel Reyes, and Aaron to name a tiny few. They should get extra exposure and recognition and an award/badge type system would show end users that they can count on their add-on being available and compatible in the future.
    As far as I’m aware, there isn’t any means of communicating directly with individual developers to both remind them to prepare their add-on for the next product release, and find out if they’ll be bothering to update it all. There’s a few blogs and newsgroups, but there should be a newsletter and survey that goes directly to developers. If they don’t plan on maintaining their add-on(s), then they should be encouraged to add it to the Adopt an Add-on thread (or have it added on behalf of them, I’ll volunteer to do it). The Add-on Compatibility Reporter is a great step but not a comprehensive solution.

  6. Ken Saunders | 2010/01/24 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    LOL, Jorge, I use Update Scanner to monitor this site. I forgot that it was yours. DUH!

  7. Majken "Lucy" Connor | 2010/01/24 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    If there’s an opt out then why not just email everyone? Make sure that email includes a link back to the opt out in case anyone missed it before.

    If there is poor communication it might be that authors want to wait for release “just to be sure” there won’t be any more changes that affect their extension. It might be possible to make a better effort at letting people know new RCs won’t break them.

  8. johnjbarton | 2010/01/24 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think taunting extension developers helps them or the community. The root problem here is poor or perhaps misguided support for extension developers. Or maybe even deeper. Extension developers mostly get treated as a problem, a problem to be reviewed, badgered with emails when the beta comes out, and then laughed at when they don’t get to updates until the product is finally ready. Lucky of us, extension developers remain committed to their work.

  9. Wladimir Palant | 2010/01/25 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

    Yes, I think that this simply cannot be avoided – people will always wait until it is too late. I already helped making one extension compatible, this required the insane effort of writing a chrome.manifest file and sending it to the extension author. Couldn’t he have done it years ago, around the time Firefox 1.5 was released?

  10. Philip Chee | 2010/01/25 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    I think that some extension authors (who don’t monitor the ext dev channels) were lulled into a false sense of complacency by contradictory press reports some of which said that Firefox 3.6 was delayed until spring.

    Phil

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