The Skype Toolbar Is Off the Add-on Blocklist
Article by George Norman
On 04 Mar 2011
As you may remember, back in January Mozilla decided to put the Skype Toolbar (which detects phone numbers in web pages, and re-renders them as a clickable button that can be used to dial the number using the Skype desktop application) on the blocklist because it didn’t play well with Firefox 3.6.

By 'didn’t play well' I mean the Skype Toolbar extension caused the browser to crash; in just a week the extension was involved in more than 40,000 Firefox crashes. Furthermore, the extension caused the browser to render pages at a snail’s pace. The Mozilla Add-ons team explained at the time that “depending on the version of the Skype Toolbar you’re using, the methods it uses to detect and re-render phone numbers can make DOM manipulation up to 300 times slower, which drastically affects the page rendering times of a large percentage of web content served today.”

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That’s the story so far. Since January 20 (the date when the Skype Toolbar was added to the blocklist) until this March, the Mozilla Add-ons team has been in contact with the Skype team. Mozilla provided Skype with detailed information on how the toolbar impacts the browser, and Skype used that information to try and fix the problems that caused the browser to crash or load pages very slowly. After much work, Skype rolled out a new version of the Skype Toolbar for Firefox, version that doesn’t negatively impact the browser. Mozilla responded by removing the toolbar from the blocklist.

“We’ve tested this new version, and have found it corrects the conditions that caused Firefox to crash, and significantly reduces the performance impacts that led to its blocklisting. As a result, we’ve modified the blocklist such that versions of the extension equal or greater than 5.2.0.7165 are no longer soft-blocked,” explained the Mozilla Add-ons Team. “Skype users can obtain the new version of the extension by updating their copy of Skype, or by downloading a new version from the Skype website.”



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Skype, Skype Toolbar for Firefox, Crash, Blocklist
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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