What’s New in Firefox’s Add-ons Manager

One of the best reasons to use Firefox is with thousands of add-ons available to customize it, you can turn it into exactly the browser you want. To make it easier for you to find and use add-ons, members of the Firefox team and community have been working to redesign the add-ons manager for Firefox 4.0. The new add-ons manager will be easier to use, sleeker, and faster than ever before.

Here are a few highlights of the new design:

Add-ons update automatically

No more warnings when your add-ons are out of date; Firefox will now update them automatically. This should happen without you even noticing, keeping add-ons safe and fast while eliminating the hassle of updating.

Make changes to add-ons without restarting

Restarting your browser is a pain. Developers can now build their add-ons for Firefox 4 such that no restart is required; add-ons built using the Add-on SDK get this for free. Restartless add-ons can be installed, modified, and removed without a single restart needed! More and more restartless add-ons are being created and made available on addons.mozilla.org every day.

Add-on manager in a tab, not a window


Instead of managing your add-ons in a small, separate window, the add-ons manager now loads in a tab. This means it won’t be so small and easily lost among other windows, and you can interact with it identically to other tabs, including resizing and moving.

New Get Add-ons pane

Justin Scott has been leading a project to create a new section in the add-ons manager we call the Get Add-ons pane. In the old add-ons manager, we displayed five featured add-ons that could be installed. This was done to show you some examples of add-ons – much like buying a picture frame with a stock photo already inside. Justin’s done a thorough revamp of Get Add-ons, building a page which introduces you to the concept of add-ons, highlights particular add-ons that are editorially selected, and helps you explore and discover other add-ons that match your interests. Justin’s currently working on a new feature for this pane which makes personal recommendations of add-ons you might enjoy based on which add-ons you already have installed.

Quickly find any add-on

If you want to make a change to an add-on but don’t know which category it’s in, you can now simply search for it in the new global search box. The add-ons manager can quickly locate an installed add-on or find you some matching add-ons that are available to install.

If you’re using Firefox’s nightly builds, you can already see many of the above changes in action. Blair McBride has recently put a lot of work into the new theme change, so now we’re working on the final few bugs and polish. If you’ve already used the new add-on manager, please share your thoughts by commenting or leaving a message on Firefox 4.0’s feedback page!


Chime in Leave a Comment

  1. besr says:

    Is posible configure Fx4.0b7 to make accesible the website webpage by righ clicking them in the addons list and not inside of each addons more info?

    If you need go to a only one webpage is fine but over two is a bother

  2. njn says:

    I have terrible trouble with the terminology of add-ons. According to the UI, “add-ons” include both “extensions” and “plug-ins”. But everyone seems to say “add-ons” when they really mean “extensions”.

  3. Awat Saha says:

    “Add-ons update automatically”

    This is not a feature but an anti-feature. 3 problems come to mind:

    extensions that turn into liteware, crippleware

    extensions that became payware

    extensions with a low quality release

    Automatic update doesn’t address any of this situations. The review system doesn’t address any of this situations.

    Disabling automatic update individually requires a cumbersome process that demands too much clicking and is undiscoverable.

    Even the “disable automatic update for all add-ons” is difficult to discover.

    The add-on page says “automatic update default” but don’t say which value is the default. I would advise to remove the “default” button because it doesn’t provide any useful information and is confusing.

    The place for each add-on occupies at least 3 times more space while offering less information than the previous design.

    About the only thing that I like about the new design is that the it’s now a tab and not a window.

    The general problem with the new design is space wasting. Too much white is used that could be used to provide useful information.

    I also dislike the use of scrolling bars in this type of interface.

    I hope that you pay attention to my comment despite is overall negative tone. My intention is a better interface and system in the future and not put you and any of the other developers down.

    Thank for your attention.

  4. Mozinet says:

    Can I translate this blog post into French for publication on my own blog (with your screenshots)?

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  6. jannsn says:

    i love, love the new designe!!!!!!

  7. w1ngnut says:

    These are all huge improvements, excellent work! Hope FF4 is released as soon as possible.


  8. Bob Parks says:

    when a new version of Firefox is released-before I download and install it, you should tell me which, if any, of my addins will not work. I have had the experience of installing the update and being told a favorite addin will not work. Give me the choice of a more secure browser or an existing browser that is fine tuned to my needs.

  9. seo says:

    Thank you very much 😉

  10. vs says:

    I don’t like the almost completely mouse-driven functionality (I can’t hit ‘X’ on my keyboard to go to Xmarks). I realize this may not be a UI issue, but the new add-ons manager is slower. Search is nice though.

  11. seo agencies says:

    I’d like to be able to turn on add ons when I need them. Right now all the add ons are running all the time, which makes firefox a huge resource hog…my firefox takes up like 1.3gb of memory

  12. ebpp says:

    I dont’ see why they don’t allow you to run the non-compatible addons…the difference should be miniscule enough so that they run the same…why should I be forced to wait for the developer to get around to hit the checkbox that yes…this version runs under the new version

  13. kapı kolu says:

    Thank you nice article

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