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    FF updates & incompatible add-ons

    What is going on with all these updates and the incompatibility of various add-ons? Why are add-ons designed for a specific FF version? What changes in FF cause add-ons to be incompatible? Perhaps I'm very naive, but it's not like driver designs being broken when the operating system undergoes a major revision, like from XP to 7.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeoR View Post
    What is going on with all these updates and the incompatibility of various add-ons? Why are add-ons designed for a specific FF version?
    LeoR,
    Hello.... The add-ons are made by individuals ..(or groups for whatever reason) and FF seems to be "updating " faster that is humanly possible to keep up . So it's a "catch 22", the add-on writers can't keep up. Don't know why FF is releasing so many lately ...it has not been so until recently. Just my view... Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  3. #3
    mart44
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    As I understand it, there are a couple of reasons why extensions become incompatible. One is that the changed core code in new Firefox versions alters the API (Application Program Interface) so that some extensions can no longer interact with it.

    Another reason is that the version number in the extension's install.rdf file doesn't go high enough. An extension can sometimes be made compatible by changing the version number in that file. Unfortunately, extension developers can't really put something like em:maxVersion="9.*" /> in there to start with in case the extension doesn't work with later Firefox versions for other reasons.

    I'm sure that's probably a bit simplistic but I think that might be basically the reasons. There's a discussion taking place here where developers are discussing the problems they face:

    http://mike.kaply.com/2011/06/12/bet...on-versioning/

    Note: AMO = Add-ons mozilla.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeoR View Post
    What is going on with all these updates and the incompatibility of various add-ons? Why are add-ons designed for a specific FF version? What changes in FF cause add-ons to be incompatible? Perhaps I'm very naive, but it's not like driver designs being broken when the operating system undergoes a major revision, like from XP to 7.
    Comments on the Win7 Forum and articles published in Softpedia about the subject, IIRC, say that Mozilla has adopted a six week development cycle for each version of FF. FF6 is now final. FF7 is now Beta. FF8 is now Aurora (Alpha?). That said, I'm trying FF8-64Bit which is stable for me, but has few compatible addons or extensions. I tried the 7Beta yesterday but as two addons I use on a daily basis are noy yet compatible, I reverted back to FF6. I check Softpedia daily for info on FF and appears very accurate. There I download each version to try, BUT I keep the version install that works currently to reinstall if the new version has my needed addons ghosted as incompatible.

    The FF8-64Bit is installed in the Program Files folder which is home for 64Bit apps, while FFx-32Bit are installed in Program Files (x86). Neither FF current versions have crashed and apparently use current profiles, so there is no need to fear having your current FF setup altered by trying different versions. As a matter of interest FF8-64Bit is fast compared to the current 32-Bit versions and Moxilla seems to have solved the infamous memory problem with FF6 on. Whew!
    Hope this helps and please correct if I've erred on the cycle info.

    Harry

    Win7Pro-64BitSP1/16Gigs/AMDx4

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeoR View Post
    What is going on with all these updates and the incompatibility of various add-ons? Why are add-ons designed for a specific FF version? What changes in FF cause add-ons to be incompatible?
    Quote Originally Posted by mart44 View Post
    As I understand it, there are a couple of reasons why extensions become incompatible. One is that the changed core code in new Firefox versions alters the API (Application Program Interface) so that some extensions can no longer interact with it.

    Another reason is that the version number in the extension's install.rdf file doesn't go high enough.
    There is a lot of good information in this thread, but it might be a little bit technical for most users so I'll describe it a little differently.

    Extension version range

    When you look at the Add-ons pane (from the orange Firefox button or the Tools menu), you will see several categories on the left. The Extensions are the ones that usually include a list of compatible versions. Firefox honors this list by disabling the extension if the current version doesn't match that list. If you want to override Firefox and try it anyway, you can use (what else) another extension to add that option.

    Add-on Compatibility Reporter :: Add-ons for Firefox

    After you install this add-on and restart Firefox (you might need to restart twice), there will still be a message that the extension "--- is incompatible with Firefox 6.0" but the add-on will be enabled and a Disable button will appear for that entry. If Firefox becomes unstable, that could indicate that the extension really is incompatible with Firefox, and then you would want to disable or remove it.

    Changes in Firefox

    There are many examples of program changes breaking extensions. For example, starting in Firefox 4, the cache folder was reorganized to have numerous sub-folders. This broke some add-ons that fished particular files (such as videos) out of the cache so they could be saved separately. The add-on author knows best whether the add-on can be made compatible again...
    Last edited by jscher2000; 2011-08-20 at 13:37. Reason: Added quotations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscher2000 View Post

    Extension version range

    When you look at the Add-ons pane (from the orange Firefox button or the Tools menu), you will see several categories on the left. The Extensions are the ones that usually include a list of compatible versions. Firefox honors this list by disabling the extension if the current version doesn't match that list. If you want to override Firefox and try it anyway, you can use (what else) another extension to add that option.

    Add-on Compatibility Reporter :: Add-ons for Firefox

    After you install this add-on and restart Firefox (you might need to restart twice), there will still be a message that the extension "--- is incompatible with Firefox 6.0" but the add-on will be enabled and a Disable button will appear for that entry. If Firefox becomes unstable, that could indicate that the extension really is incompatible with Firefox, and then you would want to disable or remove it.
    ...
    This is really great info. Just installed it in FF8-64Bit. Tried one addon that is now enabled. Works without as before. If any crash FF8, I'll report here. Might give FF9 a go as it's now available (see Softpedia for specifics). Thank for the headsup.

    Harry

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    Mozilla explains its accelerated development cycle at its main support site. Unfortunately one of the things they didn't anticipate, or ignored, was the difficulty this causes for add on developers. But I've upgraded as each new version becomes available (will NOT use Chrome until they allow me to have a file-edit-view, etc. menu again so probably almost never lol - you should see the scathing comments about that topic when looking at Chrome's help section) now using FF 6, and what I've found is the tweaks to each version are so small that even though the new version tells me some add ons are incompatible, the developers very quickly modify them, and FF re-enables them automatically. So not a problem for me, may be for others who use more add ons than I do, I use just a few, on purpose, so it hasn't been much of an issue for me, the longest something like IE tab has been unavailable is a couple days. Not a real inconvenience. Though their accelerated development cycle is annoying, the changes are so minute, I don't know why they bother... :^) gene

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    I found the update from FF 3.6.18 to FF6 extremely difficult and annoying. The problem is mostly one of extensions. Extensions are a superb part of FF. Yet the FF developers (as opposed to the extension developers) seem to pay little heed to extensions where updates are concerned.
    1. I use FF extensively for many purposes. Losing access to it would be very serious. FF is not used as a toy - it is a business system. FF developers need to recognise this fact - but would seem not to. All my banking systems run through RoboForm (as excellent security mechanism) so a failure in FF prevents me from banking.
    2. I found it extremely difficult to determine compatibility specifications PRIOR to updating FF. Not to know in advance is a little like Russian roulette.
    3. FF does not suggest alternative extensions for incompatible ones - you have to go on a search and experiment for them.
    4. Some of the extensions that I use are old and the developers no longer maintain them. It seems a shame that these extensions then get abandoned just because of small format changes in FF. Usually all that it needed is to update the comparability 'record'. A way of managing these older extensions is necessary.
    4. I discovered the extension: Add-On Compatibility Reporter (by chance). This overcame many problems. It lets 'incompatible' extensions load. Mostly these incompatible extensions then ran successfully. I am running 3 extensions in this way. Only 1 extension really is incompatible.
    5. It seemed that most of the Appearance themes were incompatible with FF6. I use Noia. Fortunately a new developer has picked this up with a similar product - Noia Fox. However, because most of the Themes were incompatible with FF6, the initial load of FF6 was quite unusable. Extension manager was particularly badly affected.
    6. I suffered another problem. RoboForm (RF) itself was incompatible with FF6. It was necessary to go to a new version of RF. This was a major upgrade requiring considerable care. It was also chargeable. And the new version required specific versions for the various FF versions. Very unpleasant.

    Summary. FF developers must pay more attention to extensions at each new release. It MUST be possible to determine compatibility BEFORE updating FF. And this must be sub divided to determine if it is only the compatibility record that needs updating. Then one can plan one's own update - locating replacement extensions were necessary. This can then be done as time permits BEFORE the FF update. As a consequence extensions need to be backward compatible as well.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Apparently in a future release, Firefox will let you postpone the update if the add-ons identified as incompatible are important to you: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Silent_Update_not_now_prompt

    (More future feature information: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Firefox)

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    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscher2000 View Post
    Apparently in a future release, Firefox will let you postpone the update if the add-ons identified as incompatible are important to you: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Silent_Update_not_now_prompt

    (More future feature information: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Firefox)
    You can do that now, in fact you could always do that. Just turn off 'auto update'.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
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    5 Star Lounger chowur's Avatar
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    FOR,ALL the people that want the Old-Ons work with Firefox.
    Option1:Install the Compatibility Reporter add-on which will make the old addons work properly.
    Option2:IF not interested to install an extra add-on,then simply follow the steps below to avoid Compatibility Test.

    Goto your address bar in Firefox & type about:config
    A new window will open.Now right click anywhere on it & select New->Boolean.
    A new pop up box will appear where you need to type;extensions.checkCompatiblity.4.0 (or what ever your version of Firefox is)
    That's it!Now all your old addons will work.
    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einsten

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussB View Post
    You can do that now, in fact you could always do that. Just turn off 'auto update'.
    Well, it will be great to have an option between not being notified about updates at all, have updates just happen, and knowing beforehand whether a key add-on will stop working.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscher2000 View Post
    Apparently in a future release, Firefox will let you postpone the update if the add-ons identified as incompatible are important to you: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Silent_Update_not_now_prompt

    (More future feature information: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Firefox)
    That would be a big improvement.

    Thanks to all who replied to my questions. As someone wrote, broken add-ons can be a real pain.

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