May 09

Introducing Jetpack

jetpack_logoToday, Mozilla Labs announced Jetpack, a new and experimental way of creating add-ons in Firefox.  The best way to explain the Jetpack experience is by showing how add-ons are created using the new platform.

To get started, install the new Jetpack Extension and restart the browser (this will be the only time you’ll need to restart when doing development).  When Jetpack installs, you’ll be taken to the about:jetpack page, which contains a couple of sample Jetpacks (the name for extensions created with the Jetpack API).

Install some demos and check them out!  For the time being, the experiment is limited to status bar widgets, but I was able to put together a Delicious Notifier Jetpack Feature in less than an hour using simple JQuery, CSS, and html. All I did was install the GMail Notifier widget and pasted it into Bespin, read the 20 lines of code that made it work, and started hacking away to get the information i wanted.  Since I didn’t have to restart and could inspect and debug via Firebug, development was painless.

If you have Jetpack installed, check out my Delicious Notifier, I find it incredibly useful when browsing the web, as the count of saves in Delicious is a great indicator of how interesting a particular page on the internet can be.

As with all experiments, there’s a lot of polishing to do with Jetpack, but we felt that it was true to Mozilla’s values to get this out early and involve the community in determining its future- please let us know what you think!