File Under: Browsers

Mozilla’s JetPack Prepares to Take On Chrome Extensions

Mozilla Labs has announced the release of JetPack 0.7, an update to the new extensions framework for Firefox. It lets people use common web development tools like HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build browser add-ons.

Eventually, Mozilla plans to incorporate JetPack into a future Firefox release. JetPack will most likely make its way into Firefox 3.7, which is due during summer 2010, or Firefox 4.0, due at the end of next year. At the moment, however, interested developers can grab the JetPack add-on that allows JetPack to work within current version of Firefox. Yes, for now JetPack is an add-on for installing add-ons.

JetPack is designed to make it easy for anyone with basic web developer skills to build Firefox extensions. While JetPack was innovative when Mozilla first announced it, Google has since added an extension system to its Chrome browser that works on the same principles as JetPack — using web-based tools like HTML and CSS. It would be nice if Chrome extensions would work with JetPack and vice versa, but differences between the underlying browsers make such compatibility unlikely.

Jetpack is still an experimental Labs project, but the 0.7 release sees JetPack moving closer to a stable project. Among the new features in this release are a unified first-run API that explains JetPack for new users, as well as some improvements to UI elements like status-bar widgets. The latest version also restores the debugging features available through Firebug.

There are also quite a few more working JetPack extensions available than last time we checked in with JetPack. the new extensions include a very handy tool for web developers: CSS Refresh can refresh the CSS on a page without reloading the whole page.

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