October 9, 2017

Retiring the More Bookmarks Toolbar

Filed under: Software Blog — marcstober @ 9:46 pm

Once upon a time, when web browsers did a lot less than they did today, and Google Chrome wasn’t yet a twinkle in Alphabet’s eye, Toolbars were a thing. You could install a Toolbar (such as the Yahoo! Toolbar) into Internet Explorer and get features like a search box, notifications, the ability to store bookmarks in the cloud, and even tabs back before browsers did all these things.

A few years ago I built a Firefox extension to “scratch my own itch” and add a second row of bookmarks to the Firefox UI, and it used this same functionality the browser provided to allow adding a toolbar. I called it the More Bookmarks Toolbar. It has had a four-star review average, over 5,000 downloads and over 500 current users as of today. I was pretty proud of it.

Well, things never stay the same in technology. The current version of Firefox (56) broke the toolbar and the next version (57) is not going to support toolbars at all, in fact all of the add-on functionality that used to distinguish Firefox is being dropped in favor of a new extension API that is harmonized with other browser (i.e., Google Chrome). I guess this is what Mozilla needs to do, but unfortunately I’d need to do a completely rewrite of the Toolbar and it wouldn’t even be able to work the way it did before.

In addition, the Toolbar is no longer a part of my daily workflow and I’ve changed focus to other things professionally both inside and outside of the software industry so I don’t have time to work on this. So, sadly, I’m going to retire the More Bookmarks Toolbar; I’m not planning any more versions and it’s not going to compatible with Firefox 56 or later.

The code has always been on Github so anyone who has the developer skills to make use of that it welcome to try to keep it working.

To all of you who have used, reviewed or commented about the Toolbar have been important, thank you for your support and I’m sorry to say goodbye.