As I was preparing for my presentation at FOSDEM, I tried to approach WebExtensions from a beginner’s perspective and document the entire process. I wrote it all down on this Etherpad, if you’re interested in the raw notes. This blog post is about the first part of the notes: discovery.
We have a history with naming at Mozilla, where project codenames often end up taking over, project names are reused, and all sorts of confusion ensue. I wanted to see what showed up running various queries through the most popular search engines, and here’s what I found:
- Searching for “web extensions” will often point to domain extensions, rather than any Mozilla docs. Maybe in time our docs will get higher ranking.
- Searching for “WebExtensions” will most often point to our wiki page, which makes sense since the project is only taking off. However, we would want these queries to eventually point to MDN instead. Again, it might be only a matter of time.
- Searching for “firefox extensions” and “develop firefox extensions” generally yield useful results, though they are inconsistent. Some point to AMO while others point to the add-ons blog. We want MDN to be the place to find add-on docs, so we’ll need to work on this.
- http://arewewebextensionsyet.com/ didn’t show up. While this site is mostly aimed at developers interested in the progress of the API, I think it would be useful if it showed up among the top results.
My main takeaway is that we have our SEO work cut out for the coming months. Maybe WebExtensions isn’t the best of names for this new technology, but it’s been out there long enough that there’s probably no turning back. And choosing names is hard anyway.
The complete results are in the Etherpad. Of course, your results may vary, since many search engines personalize rankings based on past searches, and I ran this experiment 3 weeks ago. The pad also has some notes about the documentation and how easy it was to port a relatively simple add-on to the new API. There’s also a good blog post about porting a Chrome extension to WebExtensions in the Mozilla Hacks blog, which I recommend you read next.