All popular web browser makers agree to improve and standardize extensions: Addons, or Plugin creators can choose to remain independent

Web Browsers Extensions Plugins Addons
All popular web browser creators come together for a good cause? Pic credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge web browser creators are coming together to improve and standardize extensions. The creators hope popular add-ons or plugins can get better and offer enhanced security.

Developers from Apple, Mozilla, Google, and Microsoft have decided to join forces to standardize the methodology for developing extensions. Developers of plugins, extensions, and add-ons too can voluntarily participate in this initiative.

WebExtensions Community Group (WECG) created to simplify the process of developing an extension for every mainstream web browser:

The WebExtensions Community Group aims to offer engineers a unified and more secure core foundation for extensions. The web browser creators hope the newly formed group will make it easier for developers to write extensions.

The WECG will strive to create a unified and shared standard that could help bridge differences between browsers, indicated one of the group members. “We aim to identify common ground, bring [browsers] into closer alignment, and chart a course for future evolution”.

Representatives from all major browser developers would be involved in the standardization of extensions. Timothy Hatcher from Apple and Simeon Vincent from Google will jointly lead the WebExtensions Community Group.

Every popular web browser has several extensions, plugins, or addons. These tiny programs can perform a variety of tasks that browser makers cannot execute. From hunting for discount coupons to protecting user privacy, these pieces of software do a lot of work.

However, differences between browsers and the way they incorporate plugins mean it’s less likely that an extension developer will support other browsers. Standardization could align browsers and help reduce developers’ difficulties.

Browsers will continue to perform individually. However, the community group plans to ensure a common core of abilities just for extensions.

Browser extensions or plugin creators can perform independently:

The primary agenda behind the WebExtensions Community Group is to simplify the process of developing extensions. By creating a consistent model and common core, functionality, API, and permissions, addons could have a simplified path to ensure they work on all browsers.

The group also plans to compose a description of the architecture. This could improve the performance of the created solutions owing to a unified base, just like Microsoft Edge. Moreover, the process could also improve security.

The WebExtensions Community Group has stressed that it does not intend to “concretize every aspect of the development of extensions or to stifle innovation”.

This basically means, every browser maker, as well as plugin creator, can continue to operate independently in accordance with their own rules and policies.

Additionally, each browser maker has its own extensions download site. And each has a way of vetting them. The group reportedly chose not to touch this topic.

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