Apparently, the Firefox 54 release a week ago was a bigger deal than I had originally thought.
As I was toiling away on my WebExtensions addon, I took note that Firefox 54 was going to enable the sidebar API, so you can pull up a sidebar drawer from your extension. I mentioned last month in my rough plans of porting Perakun to WebExtensions that it’d be nice to have a drawer that holds the list of word lookups just like in the legacy Firefox addon, and theoretically, it is now possible to do that in WebExtensions. (By the way, I forked another Rikai-kun-based addon that looked further developed, called rikaigu, and the addon works in Firefox and Chrome: check out rikaigu.we.) But I also learned in that time that, while there was discussion of adding it to Chrome as well, in early 2016, they decided not to proceed with sidebar API. So looks like if the addon’s going to be cross-browser compatible, I’m going to have to ditch the idea of a sidebar.
But there’s a bigger reason to be excited about Firefox 54 and that’s the multiprocess architecture revamp! I’m looking forward to web development without the browser choking out because I toggled the DOM inspector while a monster of a page is loading…
Except multiprocess functionality is disabled if you make use of any addons that are “multiprocess incompatible”, i.e. utilizing deprecated APIs.
Perapera Japanese being deprecated is not so bad because our Rikaigu port is essentially a drop-in replacement. Woo!
TiddlyFox is a hard one to lose. I’m pretty dependent on Tiddlywiki for jotting notes, and without this, the Tiddlywiki can’t overwrite itself when you press save but prompts you to save the file to disk. You can just point it to the same file and it will function the same way as a workaround, though.
Also looming at the end of this year is Firefox 57 when some more addons are going to stop working because they’re not WebExtensions. I’m really worried about Tree Style Tab possibly going away in November.
So I’m excited about the changes that have been brought on at the expense of breaking API support for all these addons. I feel like there’s some vocal opposition from addon developers who are getting shafted for something they don’t necessarily agree with from an engineering perspective, and I really do feel for them. While I can see that there’s nothing that can be done if the WebExtensions API is incomplete and you just can’t rewrite what you have if it’s not supported, I believe it’s going to be continually improving, and I really hope that some addons end up living into next year.
I’m also looking to join in the fray with Rikaigu, but that progress report will have to wait until another blog post.