Create Firefox extensions with the Add-on Builder

Elena Santos


Add-on BuilderOne of the pending things in my life – besides the traditional “plant a tree, write a book and have a child” – is learning to code. I’m quite good at languages, but unfortunately I’m not as skilled when dealing with programming languages. I guess my brain is more artistically-oriented and it’s hard for me to reach the levels of analysis and abstraction required to code. But that doesn’t mean I won’t keep on trying!

Luckily there are thousands of coding resources on the web, from tutorials for newbies to online communities around specific programming languages. For the coding-challenged like me, there are also tools that help you create your own apps without requiring a single line of coding, like the Ovi App Wizard or the Android App Inventor. Following this line of simplified software to create apps, I found Mozilla’s Add-on Builder: an online coding tool that lets you create extensions for Firefox with the help of a few extra ready-made elements.

Add-on Builder

I must say I was very excited when I first saw this tool. I thought I would be able to create Firefox extensions just by dragging and dropping elements, like the Android App Inventor. Sadly it seems that the Add-on Builder does require some coding knowledge. Its main advantage is that you can use a bunch of APIs from the core library, check other people’s add-ons in search of inspiration or even make use of third-party libraries thanks to additional APIs.

But apart from that and a short tutorial, you’re pretty much on your own. After logging in with your Mozilla account (or signing up for one if you don’t have it yet), you’re redirected to an online editor where you can start typing code right away. This editor includes tools to manage  modules and libraries, and also lets you test your add-on at any time.

Add-on Builder

Though a bit disappointing for me – not Mozilla’s fault, I simply expected something easier – this handy Add-on Builder might be the encouragement you need to get you started in coding your own software.

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