I’m confused

I tried to submit an update for MozCC to addons.mozilla.org yesterday so that Firefox 1.5 users would receive auto-magic upgrades when they upgraded to Firefox 2.0. I received an email this morning letting me know it’d been rejected; not because it didn’t work, but because of the specified version of the “maximum” supported version of Firefox wasn’t formatted properly.

So a couple of thoughts:

  • First, I get why they want you to specify 2.0.0.* instead of 2.0. This marks your extension as explicitly compatible with security fixes.
  • But I don’t get why 2.0.0.* is needed for security fixes, when the beta was specified as 2.0b1 or 2.0b2. Now if the beta had been specified as, say,, I’d get that. I just don’t get why you would choose to maintain two different version number formats.
  • Not to mention that there were different version number formats in both Firefox 1.0 and Firefox 1.5. [Note: I know that the format used to be 1.0+ for security fixes, and I seem to remember that there was YAVNF for Firefox 1.5.]
  • Finally, when I tried to do the upload the first time, it detected that I had a mismatched GUID specified for my extension. If it bothers to expand the XPI and check the GUID, why not just check the version number formatting there instead of requiring human intervention?

All in all Firefox’s extension mechanism has been wildly successful, in my humble opinion. And with a little (very little, I think) attention to usability for developers, it will continue to be.

UPDATE: Let’s say, hypothetically, that the most recent release of your extension only works with Firefox 2.0 and later. So you mark it as such in install.rdf and submit it to AMO.  And then you receive an email from a reviewer saying that they couldn’t install it on So you reply “yes, that’s right; it’s only >=2.0, as indicated in install.rdf”.  Hypothetically this reviewer replies saying “right, I saw that, but does it work on“  “Uh, no.“  “OK, just checking.“  Wow, I’ve never been more confident in “officially” reviewed extensions.

date:2006-09-29 07:57:48

It’s not a steaming pile of shit, per se…

Luis has some suggestions for the OpenOffice.org team, the same ones he made two years ago. Users don’t necessarily care about feature parity, they care about performance and ease of use. I’ll use Gnumeric over OOo Calc any day, but presentations are really just medieval. PowerPoint isn’t great (especially when compared to Keynote’s two-display aware presentation mode), but Impress makes baby Jesus cry.

Of course, I also do think that the idea of writing a sane plugin interface for OOo could be a step in the right direction for usability. One could argue Firefox has been so successful with the “less is more” approach because it provides a good plugin interface which allows people to add features they’re missing from a larger, more bloated package. While OOo currently has some idea of a plugin, it’s not fully baked (IMHO). I recently looked at implementing a Creative Commons licensing interface for OOo, similar to the one Microsoft shipped this summer. When I compare my initial experience with my experience when I started doing MS Office “development” nearly 10 years ago, there’s no comparison: Office 97’s plugin model kicks OOo’s ass. Of course, in all fairness it may be more accurate to say that Office 97’s Plugin Documentation kicks OOo’s ass, but is that really a different statement?

date:2006-09-25 07:07:37

Web 2.0…

Struggle as you may to define Web 2.0, the folks over at Tagly have figured it out.

Tagly Screenshot

Tagly Screenshot

It’s all about ripping off Flickr‘s visual identity.

date:2006-09-24 18:09:59
category:aside, General