Add-on Builder

Showing 1-13 of 13 messages
Add-on Builder Jeff Griffiths 12/18/13 9:10 AM
Rocketeers!

I've just published a bog post talking about our plan to shut down
Add-on Builder by next April:

https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/?p=6859

Instead of repeating the entire post here, I urge you to head over
there. Once you've done that, please direct any comments you might
have to this thread ( comments are disabled on that blog post )

cheers, Jeff
Re: Add-on Builder Jeff Griffiths 12/18/13 12:58 PM
Just to clarify ( as this was asked on IRC and people might be wondering ) we will *not* be updating Builder to SDK 1.15. Given that we're about to shut it down, it doesn't make sense.

cheers, Jeff
Re: Add-on Builder Brett 12/18/13 3:49 PM
I use the Builder regularly for testing my add-on. I love it. It is great to be able to have a rapid feedback cycle--without using the command line. I love being able to prototype new ideas quickly. And the reason why it may appear that several add-ons I (and no doubt others) have submitted to AMO did not originate from the Builder is because the AMO submission part of the site is broken!!!  https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=775315

Moreover, the site hasn't gone all the way to support features like locales, so once you get beyond a certain point of development (a feature request that was WONT-FIXed), one is forced to give it up--not because it is not a very sound website but because it has not been carried quite far enough.

Please don't abandon yet another good technology when people are starting getting used to it (like Panorama). If you're not labeling things as experiments, etc., I think Mozilla ought to be reliable and trustworthy; if you do something, it should either be clear that "we may pull the rug out from under you on this" or you have our commitment that we will continue to support this for an extended period of time, say like Microsoft does with Windows. And if you decide to move certain functionality to an add-on, you ensure the add-on continues to work and be supported. But beyond just the expectations management, do not govern excessively by poll-taking--often metrics represent a lack of development of a product rather than unhappiness with the idea (since, why otherwise would as many people even try the product if they didn't like the concept?)
Re: [jetpack] Re: Add-on Builder Jeff Griffiths 12/18/13 4:34 PM
On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM, Brett <bre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I use the Builder regularly for testing my add-on. I love it. It is great to
> be able to have a rapid feedback cycle--without using the command line. I
> love being able to prototype new ideas quickly. And the reason why it may
> appear that several add-ons I (and no doubt others) have submitted to AMO
> did not originate from the Builder is because the AMO submission part of the
> site is broken!!!  https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=775315

When I looked at Builder activity I was aware of the direct-to-AMO
submission issues. The number I get is based instead on a combination
of things in builder-generated xpis that fingerprints them. It's not
exact, but it should include most builder-created xpis that are on
AMO.

> Moreover, the site hasn't gone all the way to support features like locales,
> so once you get beyond a certain point of development (a feature request
> that was WONT-FIXed), one is forced to give it up--not because it is not a
> very sound website but because it has not been carried quite far enough.

I agree, for Builder to have been a better tool for add-on development
it would have needed to get more resources to actually drive features
and keep up with Jetpack changes. There is no Builder dev team at
Mozilla currently and hasn't been for over two years. Speaking
personally, it was frustrating to me to inherit Builder once the dev
team was disbanded.

> Please don't abandon yet another good technology when people are starting
> getting used to it (like Panorama). If you're not labeling things as
> experiments, etc., I think Mozilla ought to be reliable and trustworthy; if
> you do something, it should either be clear that "we may pull the rug out
> from under you on this" or you have our commitment that we will continue to
> support this for an extended period of time, say like Microsoft does with
> Windows. And if you decide to move certain functionality to an add-on, you
> ensure the add-on continues to work and be supported. But beyond just the
> expectations management, do not govern excessively by poll-taking--often
> metrics represent a lack of development of a product rather than unhappiness
> with the idea (since, why otherwise would as many people even try the
> product if they didn't like the concept?)

I definitely agree that the idea of Builder has merit. If I was to
start over ( and I may, as a side project ) I would do things very
differently:

* utilize the upcoming add-on manager changes so we can load a Jetpack
directly from a directory and dynamically reload it in Firefox
* use Codemirror and try and be as unopinionated as possible with the
editing experience.
* have the focus be 'JSFiddle for jetpacks', eg share-ability of
simple examples or ideas.

I'd even consider having the auth mechanism be github, and the code
stored as gists.

I apologize if you feel like the rug was pulled out from under you.
That's a totally valid reaction to have, we made something useful, you
use it regularly, and we're taking it away. Mozilla has not had any
resources dedicated to maintaining Builder for some time though, and
our infrastructure teams consider it a security risk.

To be honest, I wish we were further along with the cool stuff we're
working on that will leverage the Developer Tools in Firefox to make
development easier. The Add-on Debugger should land in Firefox 29.
Native Jetpack support and a new packager Jordan is working on called
jpm should follow, these are projects we're currently working on.
Additionally, it will soon be possible to share and use your modules
via npm. I might sound like I'm full of it making a bunch of promises
but by the time Builder is finally shut down we really will be in a
better place with tools.

Anyway, it was pointed out in IRC that the AMO blog post was quite
sanitized and PR-ish. I agree, I went through several rounds of
editing with our PR dept and took out a lot of what I originally
wanted to say, and I kind of regret that now. Thanks for challenging
the decision, I would rather discuss this openly and have people here
understand the decision better.

cheers, Jeff

ps yes the source for Builder is available on github but from
experience I would caution that it is a bit of a bear to get running.
Having said that, if you want to run your own somewhere and are
looking for help, please ping me and I will try to point you in the
right direction in terms of who to ask questions.
Re: [jetpack] Announcing Add-on SDK 1.15! Paul Morris 12/23/13 8:43 AM
So long builder, it's been a good run...  

Glad to have been part of the <1% who actually published a builder add-on.  Thanks Jeff for explaining these transitions.

The thing I will miss most is a way to create add-ons without having to use the command line. (I'm still a command line beginner, and was even more of one when I started out with add-ons...)  It sounds like all of the good work that's being done now, like native jetpack, will lead to tools that provide this in the future.

cheers,
-Paul
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Re: [jetpack] Announcing Add-on SDK 1.15! Jeff Griffiths 12/24/13 3:30 PM
On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 8:43 AM, Paul Morris <pa...@paulwmorris.com> wrote:
...
> The thing I will miss most is a way to create add-ons without having to use the command line. (I'm still a command line beginner, and was even more of one when I started out with add-ons...)  It sounds like all of the good work that's being done now, like native jetpack, will lead to tools that provide this in the future.

We're actively working on an in-browser workflow that leverages the
developer tools - a combination of changes to the add-on manager and
what we call 'Native Jetpack' packaging. I hope you'll be happier with
this than Builder once we ship it.

I don't have a solid timeline, but I'm hoping to start introducing
these new capabilities in the first few months of next year. You can
read more in Erik's recent post:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mozilla-labs-jetpack/e9iIzsG6Pb8
Re: [jetpack] Re: Add-on Builder Brett 12/27/13 6:46 AM
Sorry not to have replied earlier...I really appreciated the spirit of your reply.

Replies below...


On Thursday, December 19, 2013 8:34:35 AM UTC+8, Jeff Griffiths wrote:
On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM, Brett <bre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I use the Builder regularly for testing my add-on. I love it. It is great to
> be able to have a rapid feedback cycle--without using the command line. I
> love being able to prototype new ideas quickly. And the reason why it may
> appear that several add-ons I (and no doubt others) have submitted to AMO
> did not originate from the Builder is because the AMO submission part of the
> site is broken!!!  https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=775315

When I looked at Builder activity I was aware of the direct-to-AMO
submission issues. The number I get is based instead on a combination
of things in builder-generated xpis that fingerprints them. It's not
exact, but it should include most builder-created xpis that are on
AMO.


I see. But it may be hard to know the full deterrence effect, especially since
those creating on the builder might not know their way around so well as
to go through AMO manually.
 
> Moreover, the site hasn't gone all the way to support features like locales,
> so once you get beyond a certain point of development (a feature request
> that was WONT-FIXed), one is forced to give it up--not because it is not a
> very sound website but because it has not been carried quite far enough.

I agree, for Builder to have been a better tool for add-on development
it would have needed to get more resources to actually drive features
and keep up with Jetpack changes. There is no Builder dev team at
Mozilla currently and hasn't been for over two years. Speaking
personally, it was frustrating to me to inherit Builder once the dev
team was disbanded.

I see.
> Please don't abandon yet another good technology when people are starting
> getting used to it (like Panorama). If you're not labeling things as
> experiments, etc., I think Mozilla ought to be reliable and trustworthy; if
> you do something, it should either be clear that "we may pull the rug out
> from under you on this" or you have our commitment that we will continue to
> support this for an extended period of time, say like Microsoft does with
> Windows. And if you decide to move certain functionality to an add-on, you
> ensure the add-on continues to work and be supported. But beyond just the
> expectations management, do not govern excessively by poll-taking--often
> metrics represent a lack of development of a product rather than unhappiness
> with the idea (since, why otherwise would as many people even try the
> product if they didn't like the concept?)

I definitely agree that the idea of Builder has merit. If I was to
start over ( and I may, as a side project ) I would do things very
differently:

* utilize the upcoming add-on manager changes so we can load a Jetpack
directly from a directory and dynamically reload it in Firefox
* use Codemirror and try and be as unopinionated as possible with the
editing experience.

CodeMirror is indeed nice and fast.

* have the focus be 'JSFiddle for jetpacks', eg share-ability of
simple examples or ideas.

A bug with libraries early on didn't help either, though I recall that may have gotten fixed.
 
I'd even consider having the auth mechanism be github, and the code
stored as gists.

I apologize if you feel like the rug was pulled out from under you.
That's a totally valid reaction to have, we made something useful, you
use it regularly, and we're taking it away. Mozilla has not had any
resources dedicated to maintaining Builder for some time though, and
our infrastructure teams consider it a security risk.

I can see that (though as someone trying to keep the torch going with
other similarly privileged web applications via AsYouWish https://github.com/brettz9/asyouwish/
(actually a replacement for Builder could be done in AsYouWish) I still hope Mozilla can get
involved in supervising some such potentially dangerous
but potentially useful projects; enablePrivilege, what AsYouWish replaced, was incidentally
another useful rug pulled out from users, and though I got some of AsYouWish reviewed, I feel
more ought to have been done to supervise the process and still should be done to
allow HTML apps to request and receive privileges, even if starting with those which can be
scanned to ensure they don't communicate with a network to overcome malicious
code detection).

Off topic, but any suggestions, where I might share news of a much more security-restricted escalation
of privileges in my project + add-on WebAppFind, https://github.com/brettz9/webappfind , to allow
opening of desktop files from the desktop into web apps? I would really be surprised if
developers did not jump at the chance to be able to edit local files within web apps (just as
I'd imagine they would like to write privileged scripts in JavaScript as AsYouWish is intended to do,
e.g., for running routines in a Github repository, without need for Batch scripts, Python, Node, etc.).

To be honest, I wish we were further along with the cool stuff we're
working on that will leverage the Developer Tools in Firefox to make
development easier. The Add-on Debugger should land in Firefox 29.
Native Jetpack support and a new packager Jordan is working on called
jpm should follow, these are projects we're currently working on.
Additionally, it will soon be possible to share and use your modules
via npm. I might sound like I'm full of it making a bunch of promises
but by the time Builder is finally shut down we really will be in a
better place with tools.

Anyway, it was pointed out in IRC that the AMO blog post was quite
sanitized and PR-ish. I agree, I went through several rounds of
editing with our PR dept and took out a lot of what I originally
wanted to say, and I kind of regret that now. Thanks for challenging
the decision, I would rather discuss this openly and have people here
understand the decision better.

Yes, this was a really great reply, and glad you were willing to demonstrate your
own humanity in not necessarily agreeing with everything that has
happened and showing genuine sympathy. It also helps to hear
that the idea itself is not rejected.

cheers, Jeff

ps yes the source for Builder is available on github but from
experience I would caution that it is a bit of a bear to get running.
Having said that, if you want to run your own somewhere and are
looking for help, please ping me and I will try to point you in the
right direction in terms of who to ask questions.

Thanks, but I think I will just have to work with the command line (though
maybe using my AsYouWish add-on to work with the Windows command
line from inside Firefox!) :)   (Disclaimer: this command line demo still has
some quirks to work out though)

Best wishes, Brett
Re: Add-on Builder backy0175 1/5/14 5:32 AM
This is very sad news.
Add-on Builder is nice cloud environment to develop addon in anytime anyplace and quickly.
I had developed 64 addons(public released 16, private use 5, test and debug and junk 43) and 13 libraries(public 3, private 10) since February 2012.
This is impossible without Add-on Builder.

Again, This is very sad news.

backy0175
Re: Add-on Builder Noit Saab 1/9/14 10:54 PM
I loved builder and would login from so many places and use it. I need the system just up please. I would put tid bits and share my work right away it was like a jsfiddle for addons. And the most important part for me was the revisions and the commit notes. I have so many things in there. Please allow me to express I need this service just up please we don't have to improve it or anything I just need my stuff :( I don't know how to download all my revisions. :(
Re: Add-on Builder Noit Saab 2/17/14 10:17 PM
Hi Jeff,
Can you please put a message on the addon builder site that if they install this addon:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/github-extension-installer/

and use github, they can replicate the exact addon builder experience. This addon installs directly from github repos, so we can edit test edit test and when good commit! :)

And the super thing on GitHub is all code is searchable!! So now i can learn how to do things much easier by searching a component or something. I was hoping for builder to have that feature for long time.

Im waiting for the day they allow source code search on the AMO site, that would be gold!


On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 9:10:09 AM UTC-8, Jeff Griffiths wrote:
This message has been hidden because it was flagged for abuse.
Re: [jetpack] Re: Add-on Builder Noit Saab 2/17/14 11:21 PM
Also a reason bigger than commits on builder, the reason I used builder was for the ease of installing to test. Single click testing was spectacular! I always programed XPCOM style even with builder site, it just gives me so much control and I know any and all overheard involed.

After builder shut down I made this to single click compile locally and forced to learn GitHub. I guess it was for the better because GitHub is powerful especially the code searching.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/xpicompiler/

What do you think? :) Its been great for me, I now use GitHub for version control so my local compiler is real helpful. I like to develop locally as much as possible because of all the addons i install and test brower crashes and I lose what i have typed in github.

But for those quick edits and for gist editing, the GitHub addon is so good.
Re: Add-on Builder Jeff Griffiths 2/27/14 1:28 PM
Rocketeers,

A few people made the very sensible suggestion that we allow
developers to download all revisions of their add-on. This has now
been done and is live on Builder:

https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2014/02/27/downloading-all-of-your-code-from-add-on-builder/

Jeff