Re: Firefox Add-ons and Compatibilty

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Re: Firefox Add-ons and Compatibilty

Otto de Voogd
On Wed, 09 Jul 2008 14:15:27 -0400, Ken Saunders wrote:

> There is a serious issue that we all face as advocates for Firefox
> accessibility.
> We work really hard to promote the use of add-ons that can aid people
> with disabilities.
> We try to convince them that they should use Firefox as their default
> browser because Firefox offers great tools that can help them to use and
> access the Internet in a more efficient and comfortable way. So say that
> someone finds that Accessibar is ideal for them and it is the
> determining factor for them to use Firefox. What happens to them when a
> new version of Firefox is released and the add-on that they have counted
> on for so long is not compatible with the latest version of Firefox? To
> be blunt,, they're screwed. It's true that they could choose to use the
> older version of Firefox that their add-on worked with, but for how
> long? And why should they have to use an older version of Firefox
> especially when the new version has many improvements and is safer?
> That's all counter productive to what we are all here for. We're for
> moving forward and we can't claim that Firefox is the best option for
> persons with disabilities when the latest version is not accessible to
> them. We all know that it is the add-on developer who is responsible for
> keeping their add-on updated to work with the latest version of Firefox,
> but did you know that a great amount of people think that it is a
> Firefox issue?
> When Firefox 3 came out, the majority of accessibility add-ons instantly
> became obsolete if you were a person that used the latest version of
> Firefox. I have the insight and knowledge to understand what is going
> on, the majority of Firefox users don't and so the add-on that was their
> main tool in using the Internet is no longer available to them, so they
> will quite possibly go back to a browser that they were able to use on a
> consistent basis despite the fact that it's an inferior product.
>
> One incompatible add-on for a person with a disability who counts on
> that add-on because we encouraged and convinced them to use it is a huge
> blow to them.
> To an average user who may use 5, 10, or 30 add-ons can no longer check
> the weather in their status bar, that is an inconvenience while a person
> that uses one add-on to customize web pages just so that they can read
> it can be devastating.
>
> I know these things because I've experienced them first hand, and I have
> gotten many e-mails from users who have also faced this.
>
> "Are there any plans to put up information here about add-on
> compatibility with Firefox 3?  It would be wonderful to be able to learn
> of plans and progress.  For now, it seems best not to upgrade to Firefox
> 3.  I have the luxury of a second computer where I have been testing to
> see which add-ons are compatible.  I've been sending those who have
> upgraded prematurely to oldversion.com/program.php?n=firefox in order to
> download a previous version."
>
> I'm sure that is nothing that Mozilla wants to hear.
>
> I really don't have an easy plan on how to remedy this. It is something
> that we all can brainstorm but only Mozilla has the power to change it.
> Perhaps incentives for add-on developers but what kind? Financial
> incentives like grants would be great and effective but then you'd have
> all developers wanting the same thing unless if it was for a specific
> project that would group accessibility add-on developers together, and
> the argument that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage is a
> convincing one.
> There would be no shortage of people from within Mozilla or this group
> who would be qualified to judge what should be classified as an
> accessibility add-on or an add-on that is assistive in one way or
> another for persons with disabilities.
>
> I am really hoping that someone reading this can provide some ideas
> and/or feedback as to what can be done about all of this.
>
> I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read this. Ken

This is certainly an issue because as you say it's perceived as a
shortcoming of Firefox. I have always wondered why in the world of Open
Source we have so many situations that we rely on a single person to
upgrade an extension. Maybe it should be easier to fork new versions of
extensions by other volunteer contributors, these new versions should
then be accessible form the original listing (or temporarily replace it),
at least until the original developer upgrades his/her version (possibly
using the changes already made by the other volunteer).

In the current situation, it does happen that someone forks a new version
if the wait is too long, but these version are often not trivial to find
and we tend to end up with two versions (and they sometimes get abandoned
again when the original is upgraded again).

--
Otto de Voogd - http://www.7is7.com/
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Re: Firefox Add-ons and Compatibilty

mozilla accessibility
Unless major APIs change and/or there is some other reorganization or
reimplementation of a major part of Firefox, it seems to me that most
"incompatible extensions" simply need their install.rdf file changed to
reflect the correct version(s) of firefox under which the extension will
run.

You can say something like:
<em:maxVersion>3.*</em:maxVersion>

Might you also be able to say:
<em:maxVersion>*.*</em:maxVersion>

Of course, this would defeat compatibility checking to some extent, but if
firefox is stable, and if the extension only depends on concrete unchanging
bits of firefox, then placing no upper bound on the version of firefox seems
to make sense.

Just my two cents.
-- Rich


----- Original Message -----
From: "Otto de Voogd" <[hidden email]>
Newsgroups: mozilla.dev.accessibility
To: <[hidden email]>
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: Firefox Add-ons and Compatibilty


On Wed, 09 Jul 2008 14:15:27 -0400, Ken Saunders wrote:

> There is a serious issue that we all face as advocates for Firefox
> accessibility.
> We work really hard to promote the use of add-ons that can aid people
> with disabilities.
> We try to convince them that they should use Firefox as their default
> browser because Firefox offers great tools that can help them to use and
> access the Internet in a more efficient and comfortable way. So say that
> someone finds that Accessibar is ideal for them and it is the
> determining factor for them to use Firefox. What happens to them when a
> new version of Firefox is released and the add-on that they have counted
> on for so long is not compatible with the latest version of Firefox? To
> be blunt,, they're screwed. It's true that they could choose to use the
> older version of Firefox that their add-on worked with, but for how
> long? And why should they have to use an older version of Firefox
> especially when the new version has many improvements and is safer?
> That's all counter productive to what we are all here for. We're for
> moving forward and we can't claim that Firefox is the best option for
> persons with disabilities when the latest version is not accessible to
> them. We all know that it is the add-on developer who is responsible for
> keeping their add-on updated to work with the latest version of Firefox,
> but did you know that a great amount of people think that it is a
> Firefox issue?
> When Firefox 3 came out, the majority of accessibility add-ons instantly
> became obsolete if you were a person that used the latest version of
> Firefox. I have the insight and knowledge to understand what is going
> on, the majority of Firefox users don't and so the add-on that was their
> main tool in using the Internet is no longer available to them, so they
> will quite possibly go back to a browser that they were able to use on a
> consistent basis despite the fact that it's an inferior product.
>
> One incompatible add-on for a person with a disability who counts on
> that add-on because we encouraged and convinced them to use it is a huge
> blow to them.
> To an average user who may use 5, 10, or 30 add-ons can no longer check
> the weather in their status bar, that is an inconvenience while a person
> that uses one add-on to customize web pages just so that they can read
> it can be devastating.
>
> I know these things because I've experienced them first hand, and I have
> gotten many e-mails from users who have also faced this.
>
> "Are there any plans to put up information here about add-on
> compatibility with Firefox 3?  It would be wonderful to be able to learn
> of plans and progress.  For now, it seems best not to upgrade to Firefox
> 3.  I have the luxury of a second computer where I have been testing to
> see which add-ons are compatible.  I've been sending those who have
> upgraded prematurely to oldversion.com/program.php?n=firefox in order to
> download a previous version."
>
> I'm sure that is nothing that Mozilla wants to hear.
>
> I really don't have an easy plan on how to remedy this. It is something
> that we all can brainstorm but only Mozilla has the power to change it.
> Perhaps incentives for add-on developers but what kind? Financial
> incentives like grants would be great and effective but then you'd have
> all developers wanting the same thing unless if it was for a specific
> project that would group accessibility add-on developers together, and
> the argument that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage is a
> convincing one.
> There would be no shortage of people from within Mozilla or this group
> who would be qualified to judge what should be classified as an
> accessibility add-on or an add-on that is assistive in one way or
> another for persons with disabilities.
>
> I am really hoping that someone reading this can provide some ideas
> and/or feedback as to what can be done about all of this.
>
> I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read this. Ken

This is certainly an issue because as you say it's perceived as a
shortcoming of Firefox. I have always wondered why in the world of Open
Source we have so many situations that we rely on a single person to
upgrade an extension. Maybe it should be easier to fork new versions of
extensions by other volunteer contributors, these new versions should
then be accessible form the original listing (or temporarily replace it),
at least until the original developer upgrades his/her version (possibly
using the changes already made by the other volunteer).

In the current situation, it does happen that someone forks a new version
if the wait is too long, but these version are often not trivial to find
and we tend to end up with two versions (and they sometimes get abandoned
again when the original is upgraded again).

--
Otto de Voogd - http://www.7is7.com/
_______________________________________________
dev-accessibility mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-accessibility

_______________________________________________
dev-accessibility mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-accessibility