The Wonder of Stats (Or where did all my users go!)

For some time now I’ve promised myself that I’d sort out a simple system to view stats about how many people are using my extensions. The idea is a simple one, on a daily basis Firefox (or whatever app) will ping my site checking for an update for the extension. Counting the number of checks in a day gives you a rough idea of the number of users. You can’t take the numbers literally of course but as ballpark figures go it’s probably not bad.

Finally I have got around to doing it and there have been some interesting results. Not surprisingly Nightly Tester Tools is my most popular extension. However it’s distressing to see how many updated to the broken 1.3b1 and still haven’t gone to 1.3b2. Not surprising of course,  but it makes me wonder when these 30,000 people or so will update again.

The most surprising result is that of the second most popular extension. Turns out it’s JavaScript Options, something I had never considered to be popular at all based on the number of questions/complaints I get about it.I may well have to reconsider my decision to cease further work on it.

Then of course you get the freaky results. Who’d have though that people on Solaris are using my extensions. And even more bizarre, why has someone installed Tab Sidebar into Thunderbird?

You can peruse the stats yourself if you like, there’s a few different views to play with. Some of the old data isn’t highly accurate, my back-filling script needs some work, and many of the extensions simply aren’t reporting the more detailed information about OS and version so some of those graphs are a little misleading, still there it is.

I understand that AMO are planning on rolling out some stats for add-on authors based on the same update pings that I use. I urge all authors to take a good look at them when they do, you never know what you might find that surprises you and makes you re-evaluate your priorities for your extensions.

New Nightly Tester Tools

I don’t normally do announcements of new versions of my extensions here but unfortunately there was a problem with the packaging of the last version of Nightly Tester Tools so if you want to get the latest and greatest version then you’ll have to download it manually.

Sorry, I’ll try not to let it happen again.

Securing Add-on Updates

Since the disclosure of potential vulnerabilities in the way Firefox (and other Mozilla applications) automatically update your add-ons we have been discussing how to tighten up the system in a way that is hopefully unnoticeable to users and not much extra work for add-on authors.

After a process of listening to authors on the newsgroups, forums and by email we now have a rough proposal of what changes we are looking to make. There’s still a few minor details to be ironed out of course. This is mainly of interest to add-on authors since there is an impact depending on how you host your updates. I’ve started threads on the newsgroup and forums so if you want to discuss the proposal there then that’d be good. I’d prefer it if you didn’t edit the main page of the wiki but feel free to stick small comments onto the discussion page.