Mozilla Announces WebExtensions API for Cross-Browser Extensions

Mozilla recently announced its new WebExtensions API. The API was created to streamline the creation of Web extensions for Firefox. Mozilla readily gives credit to Google Chrome extension APIs as the inspiration for the new Mozilla API, and hopes that the new API will become standardized.

WebExtensions are built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Accordingly, a single code base for your extension will work in many places. Currently WebExtensions APIs are supported in Opera, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. If Mozilla is able to standardize, expect more sharing capability between browsers and more customization capabilities.

Extensions modify the functionality of the web browser. As mentioned, the extensions are written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Additionally, some dedicated JavaScript APIs are used within WebExtensions. The API is largely compatible with the Chrome Extension API. Check out the WebExtensions site for more information.

Mozilla has published a number of resources to assist those interest with using the WebExtensions API. Check out the docs on MDN. Learn about the benefits of WebExtensions on the Mozilla Add-ons Blog. To get started, read through the MDN tutorial. A web-ext CLI tool is available for developers using command line. You can also test existing Chrome extensions in Firefox if interested.

Be sure to read the next Browsers article: Google Announces Web Budget API Support in Chrome 60