Their is already a lot of discussions about the end
of XULRunner and how than the project should adapt. But I didn't
find any information how what are the plans.
Only use standalone.
For my point of view it's clear than the "Zoter for Firefox"
plugin is obsolete and the project should migrate to use only
standalone. So the Firefox plugin can easily can be way lighter
and use the almost the same code base has Chrome when https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebExtensions
In a user point of view it also make sens, their is a lot of
confusion about standalone and not standalone. Documentation is
harder to write when you have two radically different way of
doing things. You also have a big risk to end up with two
library. So again I don't understand why this project still
provide the full Zotero application as a Firefox plugin.
As long as we can continue using the same code base, there's very
little cost to producing both, and there are significant benefits.
Many users prefer the tighter integration that the Firefox version
provides, it provides some features that can't currently be offered
in other browsers, and the Firefox version makes various aspects of
development much easier. The drawbacks you describe do exist, but I
don't think they're quite as bad as you make them out to be — it's
true that some people are confused by the two versions (though
usually by confusing Zotero for Firefox with the website), but the
two versions use the same data directory by default, you can switch
seamlessly between the two, and much of the documentation can be
But yes, ultimately we won't have a choice here. XUL/XPCOM's days
are numbered, there's no plan (that we've seen) for WebExtensions to
offer the same ability to customize the Firefox UI that Zotero
relies on now, and even if there was Mozilla has made it pretty
clear that they're no longer interested in being an application
platform. So the upshot is that we will indeed be discontinuing the
full-featured Firefox version within the next year. The Firefox
connector may retain some unique features — WebExtensions are
tracking Chrome extension functionality to start but will likely
eventually expand on it significantly — but all Zotero users will
ultimately need to start using Standalone (which, conveniently, will
be able to just be called "Zotero") to get full functionality.
Migrate the standalone Zotero from XULRunner to
Witch platform is going to be used next for the UX and run the
JS used in the core of Zotero? Their is of coursehttp://nwjs.io
(formerly node-webkit) and http://electron.atom.io
(formerly atom-shell). But http://qt.io/ can also be in option.
I guess this is an opportunity to create a mobile app...
So what direction Zotero is going to take?
We'll be porting Zotero to Electron.
While the migration will be painful — we make pretty heavy use of
XUL and XPCOM — we're excited for this change, and there will be
some great benefits, including the ability to use NPM modules,
better OS integration, better documentation, and, in general, a
continuously improving application platform used by thousands of
other projects. (Another upcoming project from CHNM, Tropy, is also
being built on Electron, and we'll likely be able to share some of
the same code and will also benefit from their experience.)
Freeing ourselves from the tight confines of a browser pane should
interface, and we're planning for a major UI overhaul to go along
with this migration.
We're currently focused on getting 5.0 — which will still use the
current architecture — out the door as soon as possible, but after
that we'll start talking more about our migration plans. The goal,
of course, will be to make the transition as seamless as possible
for existing Zotero users.