Intent to deprecate InstallTrigger

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Luca Greco

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Mar 16, 2022, 1:41:08 PMMar 16
to dev-pl...@mozilla.org
TL;DR: We are preparing to deprecate the non-standard InstallTrigger global.

InstallTrigger is one of the historical ways extension developers could use to trigger the addon install flow from a website (along with navigating to an xpi file, or any response with an "application/x-xpinstall" mime type).

Firefox Add-ons Team plan to:
- In Firefox 100: log deprecation warnings when InstallTrigger global and InstallTrigger.install methods are accessed (Bug 1754441);
- Work with the webcompat team to deal with potential "UA detection" issues;
- In April: communicate the deprecation timeline to extension developers;
- In Nightly 102 (tentative): proceed to fully hide InstallTrigger and let it ride the release train;
- Finally, consider hiding InstallTrigger on other Firefox >= 100 versions through RemoteSettings.

Once InstallTrigger is fully deprecated and hidden, the user-triggered navigation install flows will become the only officially supported add-ons install flow for third-party websites.

If you have any doubts, concerns and questions about this please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Thank you,
Luca Greco

Daniel Veditz

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Mar 16, 2022, 9:50:27 PMMar 16
to Luca Greco, dev-pl...@mozilla.org
On Wed, Mar 16, 2022 at 10:41 AM Luca Greco <lgr...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> TL;DR: We are preparing to deprecate the non-standard InstallTrigger global.

Thanks for taking this on! As the creator of this API all I can say is
"I'm sorry; it made sense at the time" (the original implementation is
long gone, maybe 2 or 3 times over).

> InstallTrigger is one of the historical ways extension developers could use to trigger the addon install flow from a website

The API even predated the concept of "addons" as we think of them
today--or even as we thought of them in Firefox 1.0! Initially it was
solving the problem of the need to ship and update Netscape 6 and the
Mozilla Suite in pieces, both to keep bandwidth down for people who
didn't need more than basic browsing (56K modems were the fast ones)
and because Netscape and the Mozilla Suite had different components.
For example, AOL management didn't want AIM in the open source Mozilla
Suite, and sure as heck didn't want the ChatZilla IRC client in the
Netscape version competing with its precious AIM. Even earlier,
cryptography export regulations meant the Mozilla Suite couldn't
contain the NSS source code, so users had to install/update the binary
"PSM" component after compiling the source.

Dave Townsend

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Mar 17, 2022, 4:41:53 AMMar 17
to Daniel Veditz, Luca Greco, dev-pl...@mozilla.org
On Thu, 17 Mar 2022 at 01:50, Daniel Veditz <dve...@mozilla.com> wrote:
On Wed, Mar 16, 2022 at 10:41 AM Luca Greco <lgr...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> TL;DR: We are preparing to deprecate the non-standard InstallTrigger global.

Thanks for taking this on! As the creator of this API all I can say is
"I'm sorry; it made sense at the time" (the original implementation is
long gone, maybe 2 or 3 times over).

I think I re-wrote how much of it works at least once and I am equally glad to see it go!
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