Feeds

Why port your Firefox add-on to Internet Explorer?

Because your competitors won't, says Microsoft

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Add-on-Con Is there a good reason to build a browser add-on for Internet Explorer as well as Firefox? Yes, according to Microsoft IE evangelist Joshua Allen. Building an add-on for IE is so difficult, he said, your browser app competitors won't even bother.

"It's harder to write apps for IE - so it's a harder market for competitors to get into," Allen told developers this morning at Add-on-Con, a Mountain View, California, mini-conference dedicated to, yes, building browser add-ons.

Of course, Allen also argued that IE has more market share. "You want to get to that 70 per cent of the market that uses Internet Explorer," he said. "Right now, IE 6 probably has more market share than Firefox."

And he pointed out that Firefox users are more likely to "mess" with your business model. "They tend to install things like ad blockers, whereas the Internet Explorer user is more mainstream."

Allen acknowledged that add-on makers are more likely to launch their tools on Firefox, a platform that offers real developer tools. He even said that launching on Firefox is the way to go because Michael "TechCrunch" Arrington is more likely to review your product. Arrington - blogging's king maker to start ups - is a Mac man, and Macs don't run IE.

But Allen is happy to say IE 8 will solve the developer tools problem. And he insisted that although porting add-ons to IE is annoying, it can be done. "With Firefox, you've got this more enthusiast audience, more of a controlled test bed. It's a good place to try out ideas before porting them to Internet Explorer," he said.

If you port your Firefox add-on to IE, you may have to use C++. And Allen admitted that this is a bit 1998. "The first thing people say is 'That's horrible. No one programs in C++ anymore,'" he said. But he reckoned there are ways of using languages like Python or Microsoft's C#.

This involves using the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR). But the trick here is that you'll have to make sure your add-on works on all versions of the CLR. Microsoft only loads one version of the CLR for each IE executable, so you have to make sure there are no breaking changes between versions. "It's a little bit tricky," Allen said.

But go ahead. Give it a shot. Yours competitors won't. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.