Add-ons using the techniques described in this document are considered a legacy technology in Firefox. Don't use these techniques to develop new add-ons. Use WebExtensions instead. If you maintain an add-on which uses the techniques described here, consider migrating it to use WebExtensions.
Starting from Firefox 53, no new legacy add-ons will be accepted on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) for desktop Firefox and Firefox for Android.
Starting from Firefox 57, WebExtensions will be the only supported extension type. Desktop Firefox and Firefox for Android will not load other extension types.
Even before Firefox 57, changes coming up in the Firefox platform will break many legacy extensions. These changes include multiprocess Firefox (e10s), sandboxing, and multiple content processes. Legacy extensions that are affected by these changes should migrate to WebExtensions if they can. See the "Compatibility Milestones" document for more information.
A wiki page containing resources, migration paths, office hours, and more, is available to help developers transition to the new technologies.
This page contains links to documentation for the approach to developing extensions for Gecko-based applications which uses:
- XUL overlays to specify the interface
- APIs available to privileged code, such as
XUL School is a comprehensive add-on development tutorial, focusing on Firefox extension development but mostly applicable to other Gecko-based applications.
- Setting up your environment
- Setting up the application for extension development.
- Tutorials and reference for the user interface language used by XUL extensions.
- Code snippets
- Sample code for many of the things you'll want to do.
- Installing extensions
- How to install an extension by copying the extension files into the application's install directory.
- Firefox add-ons developer guide
- A guide to developing overlay extensions.
- Extension preferences
- How to specify the preferences for your extension that will appear in the Add-ons Manager.
- Extension packaging
- How extensions are packaged and installed.
- Binary Firefox extensions
- Creating binary extensions for Firefox.