Mozilla’s Jetpack Survey Shows What the Developers Really Want

The Jetpack team now knows where to focus their attention

Mozilla is getting into Firefox 4 fever and, while the first beta is just around the corner, there are still plenty to do. Mozilla does a lot of experimenting in Mozilla Labs and plenty of Firefox 4 features started out as a Labs project. But one of the most promising and one that is not yet ready to be included in the main browser is Jetpack, the new add-on platform which has been in the works for more than a year.

The project recently got a reboot and the Jetpack SDK is now slowly evolving towards a complete product to potentially replace the current Mozilla add-on platform in Firefox, Thunderbird and other products. Jetpack is beginning to take shape, but there are plenty to do just yet and Mozilla has asked the developers what would they want to see in Jetpack SDK first.

“In this survey we asked current and potential Mozilla add-ons developers which APIs they felt were most important to them in their development efforts. The feedback the community gave was quite informative. Many of our assumptions about which APIs the community wanted were confirmed, but there were quite a few APIs which ranked higher than expected,” Mozilla’s Daniel Buchner, who is working on the Jetpack SDK, wrote.

The most requested API was Page Mods, which would enable add-on developers to alter web pages by modifying their HTML, CSS or JavaScript sources. Userscripts, which generally do the same thing, have proven to be very popular so it’s no surprise that this functionality came on top.

The second most requested feature are JavaScript libraries like jQuery, MooTools, Dojo and others. Again, this choice should come as no surprise as shouldn’t the third option, a Panel API to enable developers to open a panel UI element.

Mozilla says the rest of the survey provided more interesting results with the Clipboard, Localization, and Third-party Data Services APIs being the most popular choices below the top three. The next step for the Jetpack team is to get more detailed info on the popular choices and then to decide where to focus the attention.

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