In last week’s part 2 preview of the upcoming changes to AMO’s Developer Tools area, I posted some screenshots of the new Edit Descriptions page. Before getting to the preview of the next page, I wanted to give some more information on AMO milestone 3.5′s schedule. After all of the sections of the new Edit Add-on area are finished, they’ll be pushed live to AMO where developers will have the option to try out the new edit pages rather than use the current one. This will give the new pages enough testing to make sure they’re ready to take over, while providing an alternative in case any major bugs are found. The current edit page will remain the default until 3.5 is officially launched after various other revamp pages and finished, localized, and tested.
posts categorized as mozilla
Last week I blogged Part 1 of the previews of upcoming changes to the Developer Tools area of addons.mozilla.org. This week we’ll look at another new page in the revamp, now known as AMO milestone 3.5.
One UI element present on a number of pages in the Developer Tools area is the Translation Box. Anytime there’s a field that can be localized, this box appears to allow developers to switch text fields between locales. This is what the Translation Box currently looks like on the Edit Add-on page:
For a few weeks before 3.2 launched, I’ve been working on a big project for an upcoming release of AMO: a rewrite of the Developer Tools area to make the user interface more intuitive and provide a number of new features to give developers greater control over many aspects of their add-on listings. I don’t have the work done so far on a staging server, but I’ll be blogging with screenshots as I finish various sections and asking for community feedback.
There are a number of big changes to the overall structure of how add-ons will be submitted, updated, and modified. The first few posts will focus on the new editing tools. Managing add-ons will be really simple and easy to figure out in the new design because the tools have been separated out into 6 different sections rather than one long, confusing page.
Yesterday, Mike announced the public preview of the upcoming changes to addons.mozilla.org (AMO). One of the new features that has been long-requested is the ability for developers to see how many update pings, or Active Daily Users, their add-ons have. Just like Firefox, extensions check for updates once a day, and we count how many times this happens for each extension. While the total number of downloads tells add-on authors about how many people have tried out their extension, the active daily user count tells them about how many people used it on a given day, although it’s not perfect.
There’s a bit of fine print regarding active daily usage, but some of the more important points are:
- Only add-ons that do not have an updateURL specified are counted. All add-ons are required to have an empty updateURL when submitted to AMO. If an add-on is distributed from another website with an updateURL, those pings are not counted by us.
- Active Daily Users is not the same as saying “this many people use my extension”. Not all extension users use Firefox every day of the week, users can manually check for updates which will count false active users, etc.
- Many people keep extensions installed but disabled. The stats dashboard allows you to see the various statuses, such as enabled, disabled, incompatible, etc.
Now that some background information is out of the way, on to the features!
- Over 7500 people have tried the application, with 4400 still using it and around 45 people interacting with it daily
- Average of 13-15 application adds every day although occasional spikes up to 35 per day, and about the same number of removes every day, although most of the removes are from people that added some time ago
- This chart shows the breakdown of how users found and added the application today.
- There were 12 application adds this week from someone accepting an invitation to RYF sent by a friend
- The application “About Page” has about 50 page views every day
- Over 24,000 favorites added, 8000 of which were added using the automatic import feature
So, what amazing features are planned now? None! The app doesn’t have any major bugs and does its job well for the number of users it serves. I don’t think there’s a need for me to continue active development, which is why that actually stopped a number of months ago. Of course, the app is open source and part of AMO’s codebase, so patches are welcome.
There are a couple other reasons I’m not too excited about working on Facebook Platform stuff anymore.
For one, while it’s pretty easy to get started developing an application for Facebook Platform, it’s now almost a full-time job trying to keep an application up to date utilizing all of the latest bugfixes and improvements, something that only companies dedicated to Facebook App development can handle. There are changes and new features constantly announced in the Platform Status Feed, Developer News Blog, and weekly push SVN commit log. Developers might also find themselves spending time in the platform Bugzilla, forum, or wiki. There are so many sources of information to follow if you want to feel like you’re on top of things.
There was a time when I complained about the lack of all of these tools (mainly the open bug tracking system), so I suppose I should be happy they’re here. Rock Your Firefox has been fortunate in that it hasn’t been broken by any of the changes so far — at least not any of the intentional changes.
Another reason I think putting RYF into maintenance mode a few months ago was the right decision is that Facebook apps seem to have gone from cool and trendy to just annoying lately. When someone sends me an application invitation these days, I just feel bothered. Especially because I’m obsessive enough that I have to immediately get rid of it. I’m one of those people that clears their Gmail spam every time they notice the number. (Note: to anyone who plans on sending me a bunch of application invitations now, I have anticipated this and determined that it will not be funny. Now you don’t have to do it!)
This is a bit longer than it was supposed to be. I’ll probably post another RYF update in 6 months or so. If you haven’t tried out Rock Your Firefox, you can check it out here.