Firefox Add-On: Instant Bug Report in Lean Testing

Posted in: Product news by: Simon on:

Firefox logo

Update 10/7/2015: A few hours after the publication of this article, someone part of the Mozilla review team sped up the review process and the Add-on is now live. To the person who did this: thank you! That is a very refreshing news after a frustrating process.

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I wanted to take a minute to update our users on the progress of our Firefox add-on. Over 5 weeks ago, we submitted our “Instant bug report” add-on to the Mozilla Developer Hub for publication.

Unlike the publication process for the Chrome Web Store or the Safari Extensions Gallery, the Firefox add-on review process has been extremely slow and painful.

I’m going to say it: the Firefox add-on review process sucks.

Clearly, Mozilla/Firefox is having a hard time managing the add-on review process. Just take a look at the comments on their Add-ons Update post dated June 10th.

A disenchanted Firefox add-on developer explains the issue very eloquently on his blog: Writing Extensions for Firefox Is Barely Worth the Trouble:

“Once you’ve managed to successfully produce a working add-on by pounding rocks together, now it’s time for code review! Yay! Fortunately, the review process is an easy, three-step system:

0 Package your code and submit for review.
1 Wait
2 GOTO 1

Haha! Just kidding! It’s actually a four-step process:

3 Get rejected for silly reasons.

So far, we’ve had code rejected for using a version of jQuery that was one patchlevel too new to be recognized by the reviewer’s scan tools as jQuery; because we used regexes that were “too general” (in some unspecified way); and because we didn’t provide the reviewers with information that they submission tools never asked us to provide. But all of that would be forgiveable, if it weren’t for the fact that each review cycle takes weeks to complete. Couple a capricious rejection process with a latency that’s measured in weeks, and you’ve got the primary reason that we’ve released five full updates to our Chrome extension, in the time that we’re still awaiting one full approval from Mozilla. It’s infuriating.

After being rejected for using that too-modern version of jQuery, we waited for two weeks to get reviewed again (without advancing at all in the queue) before giving up and resubmitting for a “preliminary review”…which still took a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Google’s approval time for our Chrome plugin has consistently been less than a day.”

So…

There is nothing we can do but wait. We hope that this last submission will not be rejected for a silly reason. As it stands, it seems unlikely that our Firefox add-on will be reviewed before another 2 months. Based on our experience so far, it may very well be rejected again for a silly reason. If this happens, the best case scenario is that our Firefox add-on would be officially available in 4 or 5 months, at the earliest. This is completely out of our control.

There is another route: we could host the add-on ourselves, but this would imply a more complex installation process for our users. If you’re willing to put up with it to get access to the Lean Testing Firefox add-on earlier, please comment below and we’ll make it happen.

Thank you,

Simon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Simon

Simon is the founder of Crowdsourced Testing. After 10 years in interactive software development, he set his sights on building a world-class crowdsourcing platform to facilitate the software testing process for developers.