Mozilla Labs Introduces Jetpack
Article by George Norman
On 21 May 2009
While we are patiently waiting for the Firefox development team to work out all the kinks and blockers in Firefox 3.5 and roll out a Release Candidate (RC) just as Mike Beltzner announced, we are presented with one very interesting offer from Mozilla Labs: Jetpack. According to the Mozilla Labs team, this project is a means of exploring “new ways to extend and personalize the Web,” but in fact it is nothing more than an API (application programming interface) that lets you to use the web technologies you are already familiar with and write Firefox add-ons.

“With Jetpack, we’re building upon our experience over the last four years empowering a community of more than 8,000 developers to produce more than 12,000 add-ons to imagine and build the next generation of the add-ons platform. We want to grow our community of developers by orders of magnitude through making add-on creation much more accessible, and yet more powerful by developing it as an extensible platform for innovation itself. Many useful Jetpack feature’s can be written in under a dozen lines of code,” explain Jetpack team members Aza Raskin, Atul Varma, and Nick Nguyen.


For the person that can build a web page and wants to make the Web a friendlier work/play/social environment, Jetpack will provide the means to use Web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript and enhance the web browser. For the regular user, Jetpack means the capability to add new features to the browser without needing to restart it; of course, all enhancements will come with no compatibility issues, meaning that your online experience will not be disrupted.

For the time being, you can check out the official Jetpack web page, and you can download the Jetpack add-on (version 0.1) which comes with the following features:
- APIs with status bar, tabs, content-script, animations support.
- External API libraries support.
- jQuery support.
- Bespin integrated development environment.
- Firebug inline debugging.
The thing to keep in mind is that work on Jetpack has just recently began, the Jetpack add-on is at an early stage in its development. The Jetpack team again: “This is a 0.1 release, so it unpolished, unfinished, and still highly prototyped. We are planning on entirely revamping things for the next iterations within the coming days and weeks. We need your feedback, both on the particulars as well as the direction. In particular, we are actively seeking feedback on the API design.”

If you would like to visit the Jetpack official web page, please click here.
If you would like to get the Jetpack add-on, a download location is available here.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Mozilla Labs, Jetpack, Add-on
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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