Mozilla rethinking extensions with Jetpack

Show me a ‘Mozilla Labs’ page on Facebook and I’ll click on that ‘Become a fan’-button immediately. ‘Labs‘ is where new and often exciting browser-functionality is being prototyped (think Prism, Weave, Ubiquity, About:tab, Personas), and where the everyone can get involved in the process. How great is that?

Last week the omnipresent Aza Raskin introduced ‘Jetpack‘ to the community. To summarize; Jetpack aims to simplify extension development by requiring only html, css and -off course- javascript, with a simple API, jQuery and Firebug-integration built in. Publishing your Jetpack is as easy as referencing it in a link on a webpage and installing it is very straightforward as well as it requires no browser restart (and as a bonus Firefox upgrades won’t break Jetpack-extensions either).

Aza’s demo on Vimeo is a great introduction:
(This embedded video can be watched on blog.futtta.be)

It’s still early days and some important features are not implemented yet (e.g. persistent storage, access to the browser’s chrome beyond notifications and the status bar, ajax when behind a proxy), so as far as I’m concerned Jetpack doesn’t outdo Greasemonkey just yet, but looking at the draft specs and at some of the functionality that they would like to introduce in the next milestone, Jetpack could indeed bring browser extensions to a whole new level.

But don’t take my word for it, just install the Jetpack extension and see for yourself.

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