Throwing in the Towel

I guess it isn’t going to come as much of a surprise to people when I say I’ve been having a hard time finding the time to maintain the extensions I develop. I’ll go over some of the reasons why shortly, but I guess the highlight (or lowlight depending on your point of view) of this post is that I’m no longer going to really put in any effort to keep them updated.

Nightly Tester Tools will probably continue to get the odd update here and there where I find something interesting to add, and Update Channel Selector is due to get an update to make it actually work on most platforms, but otherwise I would not expect to see any further updates for any of my other extensions.

I came to this conclusion last week when doing some updates and I realised that I really wasn’t enjoying it. The things I generally enjoy doing in my spare time are things that are new and interesting. All of my main extensions were born out of finding something cool to do with the platform. Fast ways to perform regular expressions on large html documents, painting thumbnails of webpages (back when it was actually new and exciting), taking enough control of the toolbar customisation service to be able to dynamically add many instances of the same widgets. All of this stuff was interesting enough to make me knock up a quick extension to play with it. When they seemed useful I would go through and try to iron out some of the rough edges to make it something I’d consider release-worthy. Only Tab Sidebar had real effort put into it to try to make it into a real user friendly product.

I’ve also had quite a large change in my life since I last really actively worked on my extensions. Back then I was a small business owner, most of my day to day work was IT support and web development. Getting home and sitting down for a few hours hacking away on extensions worked as quite a diversion, completely taking my mind off the stresses at work. Now I work for Mozilla. Working on extensions is basically no different from what I do during the day. It is no longer a diversion, it is just like work. How many of you like to get home from work, kick back and then go back over more work to relax?

These things, as well as other issues, have left me really uninterested in doing anything except the exciting new stuff. Turning that into a usable tool, fixing bugs, making things work in new releases, all of that is just dull and no longer worth the spare time it loses me.

And that is pretty much that. I’m not totally out of the extensions game, while I might still create a few experimental add-ons in the future, they probably won’t be fully useful, just little things for fun. I’m not really going to be interested in hearing about bugs in my existing stuff or that it hasn’t yet been updated to the latest version of Firefox. I’m not going to do anything about it. Of course all of my add-ons are open source, under the MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license, and I’d happily talk to anyone thinking of taking over official development of them for the future.

To those of you who have kept using my extensions and let me know how much you liked them I’d like to say thank you, and I’m sorry that there will be nothing more even though I know you were hoping. It’s taken me a while to reach this decision and I’m sure some will feel a little left in the lurch by it, but I can’t keep fooling myself that I’ll find the time to put in the effort you all deserve.