Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mozilla Add-On Site Upgraded: Favorite Extensions MIA

So there I was, going on and posting about the FireCAT list and I started to click the links to go add some of the extensions I wanted to my home build of Firefox.

Only time and time again I was met with an error page: Add-on Not Found before being re-directed to the main Firefox Add-ons homepage.

What gives?

Well, turns out that the Mozilla seems to have finally pulled the trigger and rolled out their new and "improved" Add-on page.

The Firefox Extension Guru covered it well in a recent series of detailed posts: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 3.5].

A Big Bummer

A Major Consequence of this action was to apparently render useless a bazillion blog and Google links to specific extension pages on Mozilla's Add-on page.

Gone. As in "Add-on Not Found."


I can see the villagers gathering in the distance with their torches alight....

So for now, you can

Google for your favorite add-ons not yet showing up in the updated Mozilla Add-ons site and hope to eventually locate the extension-developer's independent website,

Hop over the The Extensions Mirror and snag your swag there,

You can dig and search and see if you can find what you are looking for over on,

You can register and then (hopefully?) gain access to the Sandbox where add-ons pending approval are kept for testing and review. At this point I don't see any indication that the Sandbox is accessible yet.

Update: Yes you can access the Sandbox! See below at the end of the post for info on how to get into it once registered.

Or, you can sit back and just wait and hope that your favorite extension makes the grade and gets added to the Firefox Add-ons page again.


I understand and sincerely applaud the Mozilla Add-on team for working hard to improve the usefulness and security of add-ons. They want to provide secure and trusted add-ons...ones that the majority of users will end up having a good experience with, and sort some of the chaff from the wheat. It was getting silly sorting through many of the less-than-useful extensions that mostly seemed to support advertising or branding.

However, it is deeply, maddeningly frustrating to be looking for a favorite add-on you have accessed and captured a link to in the past and now suddenly find it missing in action, and not to have apparently made the draft-pick selection.

Backup Solution

So if you already have a bunch of favorite add-ons for Firefox and you are afraid you will have a hard time finding them again for a while I offer the following suggestion:

Get the FEBE and CLEO extensions (or the combo pack).

Back up your current extensions using FEBE and then use CLEO to roll them all up into a single .xpi installer file.

That way you can have a backup master installer file, just in case they do not return again.


Update: Yes you can see the Sandbox once you register!

It just isn't easy to figure out how at first....It took me a while to work it out. There isn't anything yet I could find on the web or the page to explain clearly how to do it.

So here you go.

Once registered and confirmed, log into the Add-on page with your credentials. You should see your email address in the right of the top bar. Click it to edit your profile. On the profile page you will now see a check-box to show the Sandbox. Tick the box and save your settings. It will reset and now at the top bar you will see to the left of the search field two links: Public and Sandbox. Click on the Sandbox link to get into the Sandboxed extensions.

According to Mozilla Add-on's Sandbox page:

What is the Sandbox?

The sandbox contains untested add-ons submitted for publishing on the AMO site.

If you are not comfortable installing add-ons that may be extremely dangerous to your computer, you should click here to return to the public site.
Some things I've noticed in the Sandbox...instead of a safe "green" install box, they are a reddish install box...all the more to alert you I suppose. Also, the install files failed on a few I tried. I'm hoping they just haven't sync'ed up the download links yet.

Just beware, that Mozilla Add-on team thinks these haven't met the grade yet...which is why they Sandboxed 'em for testing, review and approval first before being made "public." Download and install at your own risk.....


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