Tech

Firefox improves extension management

What would web browsers be without extensions? Obviously they would continue to be among the most used applications, of course, but they would be limited to what their developers consider they should do. The very clever idea of ​​allowing and encouraging the development of add-ons that add new functions and improve existing ones is, without a doubt, one of the best successes of the software industry (and games, of course) in the history of the game. software.

Thus, thanks to the extensions we can expand the information on certain websites and services, modify the display of a website either for aesthetic or accessibility reasons, protect our privacy… the list is endless. And this, which is generally very positive, nevertheless causes a sensation somewhat similar to that which we experience when we are faced with an all-you-can-eat buffet in which each dish that we observe looks better than the previous one.

This circumstance, with regard to browsers, brings back certain memories of the first decade of this century, when browser toolbars became popular, primarily but not exclusively for Internet Explorer. If you lived it, you will also remember it, because it was very common to find installations in which, when opening the browser, you saw that it had three, four or even more bars. For those who did not experience that exercise in digital baroque, this image can be equally revealing and disturbing:

Image: Elmundoestaloco

Without going into an assessment of the impact on performance and security risks, staying exclusively (even if it costs) with the aesthetic impact and the enormous loss in usability caused by these bars, with that alone, we already have more than enough reasons to reject the excess of “external” elements in browser interfaces. And it is that, although in some cases it may not seem so, as a general rule the design of its interfaces tends to address issues of usability and efficiency.

With the extensions, as I mentioned before, you run the risk of falling into a similar problemgiven that these are accumulated on the right side of the browser address bar, being able to reduce very substantially the space of the same that gives it its name, that is, the one we use to write and to review the URLs of the pages we visit.

To avoid this problem, several of the Chromium-based browsers allow the user to configure which extensions are displayed in the address bar and which are not. For its part, Firefox adds them and, when they don’t fit any more, create an overflow menu (unless we pin them to the address bar via their context menu), similar to what happens with the favorites/bookmarks toolbar in most browsers.

Already now it seems, as we can read, that Firefox developers are working to improve the management of extensions in the browser, adding a button that allows access to the main administration functions of these plugins, instead of making us use the context menu of each extension. In this way, the browser will adopt a model similar to the one already offered by those based on Chromium.

Although still in development, this new button can now be found in Firefox 105 Nightlyso those users who have this version already have the opportunity to try it.

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