Cross-domain Content Scripts

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.

From Firefox 53 onwards, no new legacy add-ons will be accepted on addons.mozilla.org (AMO).

From Firefox 57 onwards, WebExtensions will be the only supported extension type, and Firefox will not load other 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.

A wiki page containing resources, migration paths, office hours, and more, is available to help developers transition to the new technologies.

By default, content scripts don't have any cross-domain privileges. In particular, they can't:

However, you can enable these features for specific domains by adding them to your add-on's package.json under the "cross-domain-content" key, which itself lives under the "permissions" key:

"permissions": {
    "cross-domain-content": ["http://example.org/", "http://example.com/"]
}
  • The domains listed must include the scheme and fully qualified domain name, and these must exactly match the domains serving the content - so in the example above, the content script will not be allowed to access content served from https://example.com/.
  • Wildcards are not allowed.
  • This feature is currently only available for content scripts, not for page scripts included in HTML files shipped with your add-on.

Cross-domain iframes

The following "main.js" creates a page-worker which loads a local HTML file called "page.html", attaches a content script called "page.js" to the page, waits for messages from the script, and logs the payload.

//main.js
var data = require("sdk/self").data;

var pageWorker = require("sdk/page-worker").Page({
  contentURL: data.url("page.html"),
  contentScriptFile: data.url("page-script.js")
});

pageWorker.on("message", function(message) {
  console.log(message);
});

The "page.html" file embeds an iframe whose content is served from "http://en.m.wikipedia.org/":

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <!-- page.html -->
    <html>
      <head></head>
      <body>
        <iframe id="wikipedia" src="http://en.m.wikipedia.org/"></iframe>
      </body>
    </html>

The "page-script.js" file locates "Today's Featured Article" and sends its content to "main.js":

// page-script.js
var iframe = window.document.getElementById("wikipedia");
var todaysFeaturedArticle = iframe.contentWindow.document.getElementById("mp-tfa");
self.postMessage(todaysFeaturedArticle.textContent);

For this to work, we need to add the "cross-domain-content" key to "package.json":

"permissions": {
  "cross-domain-content": ["http://en.m.wikipedia.org/"]
}

The add-on should successfully retrieve the iframe's content.

Cross-domain XMLHttpRequest

The following add-on creates a panel whose content is the summary weather forecast for Shetland. If you want to try it out, you'll need to register and get an API key.

The "main.js":

  • creates a panel whose content is supplied by "panel.html" and adds a content script "panel-script.js" to it
  • sends the panel a "show" message when it is shown
  • adds a button which shows the panel when it is clicked
// main.js
var data = require("sdk/self").data;

var forecast_panel = require("sdk/panel").Panel({
  height: 50,
  contentURL: data.url("panel.html"),
  contentScriptFile: data.url("panel-script.js")
});

forecast_panel.on("show", function(){
  forecast_panel.port.emit("show");
});

require("sdk/ui/button/action").ActionButton({
  id: "get-forecast",
  label: "Get the forecast",
  icon: "./icon-16.png",
  onClick: function() {
    forecast_panel.show();
  }
});

The "panel.html" just includes a <div> block for the forecast:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<!-- panel.html -->

<html>
  <head></head>
  <body>
    <div id="forecast_summary"></div>
  </body>
</html>

The "panel-script.js" uses XMLHttpRequest to fetch the latest forecast:

// panel-script.js

var url = "http://datapoint.metoffice.gov.uk/public/data/txt/wxfcs/regionalforecast/json/500?key=YOUR-API-KEY";

self.port.on("show", function () {
  var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
  request.open("GET", url, true);
  request.onload = function () {
    var jsonResponse = JSON.parse(request.responseText);
    var summary = getSummary(jsonResponse);
    var element = document.getElementById("forecast_summary");
    element.textContent = summary;
  };
  request.send();
});

function getSummary(forecast) {
  return forecast.RegionalFcst.FcstPeriods.Period[0].Paragraph[0].$;
}

Finally, we need to add the "cross-domain-content" key to "package.json":

"permissions": {
  "cross-domain-content": ["http://datapoint.metoffice.gov.uk"]
}

Content Permissions and unsafeWindow

If you use "cross-domain-content", then JavaScript values in content scripts will not be available from pages. Suppose your content script includes a line like:

// content-script.js:
unsafeWindow.myCustomAPI = function () {};

If you have included the "cross-domain-content" key, when the page script tries to access myCustomAPI this will result in a "permission denied" exception.

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: wbamberg, Sheppy, Brettz9, erxin, evold
 Last updated by: wbamberg,