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Promising AMO update - with serious flaws

The new addons.mozilla.org (AMO) version (v3, codenamed "Remora") finally is was online today, and it's it was quite promising. Unfortunately I still see some minor flaws with it - and one more serious issue. (And it has been temporary rolled back to the old version - for performance issues, as I was told on IRC. You can view it on the AMO preview site in the meantime.)

First, the positive sides: It really looks good, polished, professional and friendly at the same time. Then, it has sections for 4 applications, adding SeaMonkey and Sunbird to the previously supported Firefox and Thunderbird. And yes, I'm very happy to see that new SeaMonkey Add-Ons section there. Even more, AMO is now fully localized, available in 10 languages as far as I see, and I'm sure more will be added in the future. From a localizer's point of view, this is really great. Good work, web development team!
AMO has also gained a few features, such as localizable add-on descriptions, flags for pre-releases of add-ons, publicly viewable source, and similar stuff, it even can display add-ons of specific types that are compatible with a specific application - you don't see lots of Firefox-specific stuff on SeaMonkey pages now. And then, there's a sandbox (can be activated by registered users), where add-ons can be accessed that are not approved and made public yet.

And that's where the serious problem happened: Many add-ons that were public previously on AMO are now in the sandbox only and not shown to anyone - unless he's a registered user, has checked to see the sandbox in user prefs and actively clicks on the sandbox link he then gets to see. So, one thing is, it's really hard to get there. One reason for this may also be that once you're logged in, you have to realize that clicking on you mail address at the right top of the page is the link to "Edit user prefs". Another reason it that the sandbox is, as I said, pretty well hidden.
The biggest issue with that sandbox is not that it's hard to find though, but that many previously public add-ons are now hidden in there, including 3/4 of all dictionaries and all SeaMonkey themes! I don't understand why those add-ons, that already had been reviewed and approved for the old AMO site, are suddenly hidden in this sandbox and treated like they are insecure and not approved. (This includes my Swiss dictionary and both my SeaMonkey themes, BTW.)

There are some other flaws as well, but all of those are minor: The "Themes" and "Extensions" sections for SeaMonkey wrongly mention Firefox; once you're logged in, the site feels quite slow; the SeaMonkey themes section is missing almost all categories (only "Misc" is shown, but not all themes available [in the sandbox] have that category set); if you click a link to a listing that results in no add-ons to display (e.g. popular SeaMonkey themes) you get a page without any site decoration, only a "No add-ons in this category!" message that looks unprofessional. This may be just a page that forwards you to a normal one after a few seconds, but as empty as it is it looks strange.

I hope those issues, esp. the hiding of many previously public add-ons, will be fixed soon, as that new system really looks promising!

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on March 23rd, 2007 17:19 | Tags: Add-Ons, L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey | 1 comment | TrackBack




from Australia

The idea with loads of add-ons being pushed into the sandbox is that we want to raise the bar for being publicly available on AMO - Grandma and That Guy With The Moustache should only be offered polished add-ons of the highest quality - personally I think there are about 500-1000 of these, but I'm not quite sure how it'll end up.

Yes the sandbox is a feature and I agree that it should be far more discoverable.
2007-03-23 18:50

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