What's up with the extension manager?

Some time ago (wow was it really 5 months!) I blogged about some plans I have had for the future of the extension manager. I think it’s time for a short review of what it going on.

I said at the time that any of the timescales mentioned we’re very rough and certain to be underestimates, but I didn’t quite appreciate how true that was at the time. Despite tripling most of the times we’re still almost nowhere along implemented most of the ideas.

The main reason for this is simply the delayed launch of Firefox 3.5 (previously 3.1). At the time I was working on the plan I was anticipating 3.1 to release fairly quickly, or at least my part in its release would have trailed off. That didn’t happen and, as is the nature of these things, there hasn’t really been any time for me to work on the kind of rolling improvements the roadmap talks about while we’re trying to ship the next big release of a product. Blockers and bigger ticket items will unfortunately always get in the way.

Releases come in bursts though. My work on 3.5 is basically done and the next big release won’t be for at least half a year, maybe longer. Once I’ve taken a small break I hope to start making progress on the extension manager work again. I think I’m going to work things a little differently. The first thing I will try to do is come up with some good specifications for all of the features. The idea is that if we have good consensus on the details of each then it’ll be easier to get more people working on them in parallel.

Getting a head start on this I’m going to make more public the specification for add-on install hooks