Installation

Prerequisites

To develop with the Add-on SDK, you'll need:

  • Python 2.5, 2.6 or 2.7. Note that versions 3.x of Python are not supported on any platform. Make sure that Python is in your path.

  • Firefox.

  • The SDK itself: you can obtain the latest stable version of the SDK as a tarball or a zip file.

Alternatively, you can get the latest development version from its GitHub repository.

Installation on Mac OS X / Linux

Extract the file contents wherever you choose, and navigate to the root directory of the SDK with a shell/command prompt. For example:

tar -xf addon-sdk.tar.gz
cd addon-sdk

Then run if you're a Bash user (most people are):

source bin/activate

And if you're a non-Bash user, you should run:

bash bin/activate

Your command prompt should now have a new prefix containing the name of the SDK's root directory:

(addon-sdk)~/mozilla/addon-sdk >

Installation on Windows

Extract the file contents wherever you choose, and navigate to the root directory of the SDK with a shell/command prompt. For example:

7z.exe x addon-sdk.zip
cd addon-sdk

Then run:

bin\activate

Your command prompt should now have a new prefix containing the full path to the SDK's root directory:

(C:\Users\mozilla\sdk\addon-sdk) C:\Users\Work\sdk\addon-sdk>

SDK Virtual Environment

The new prefix to your command prompt indicates that your shell has entered a virtual environment that gives you access to the Add-on SDK's command-line tools.

At any time, you can leave a virtual environment by running deactivate.

The virtual environment is specific to this particular command prompt. If you close this command prompt, it is deactivated and you need to type source bin/activate or bin\activate in a new command prompt to reactivate it. If you open a new command prompt, the SDK will not be active in the new prompt.

You can have multiple copies of the SDK in different locations on disk and switch between them, or even have them both activated in different command prompts at the same time.

Making activate Permanent

All activate does is to set a number of environment variables for the current command prompt, using a script located in the top-level bin directory. By setting these variables permanently in your environment so every new command prompt reads them, you can make activation permanent. Then you don't need to type activate every time you open up a new command prompt.

Because the exact set of variables may change with new releases of the SDK, it's best to refer to the activation scripts to determine which variables need to be set. Activation uses different scripts and sets different variables for bash environments (Linux and Mac OS X) and for Windows environments.

Windows

On Windows, bin\activate uses activate.bat, and you can make activation permanent using the command line setx tool or the Control Panel.

Linux/Mac OS X

On Linux and Mac OS X, source bin/activate uses the activate bash script, and you can make activation permanent using your ~/.bashrc (on Linux) or ~/.bashprofile (on Mac OS X).

As an alternative to this, you can create a symbolic link to the cfx program in your ~/bin directory:

ln -s PATH_TO_SDK/bin/cfx ~/bin/cfx

Sanity Check

Run this at your shell prompt:

cfx

It should produce output whose first line looks something like this, followed by many lines of usage information:

Usage: cfx [options] [command]

This is the cfx command-line program. It's your primary interface to the Add-on SDK. You use it to launch Firefox and test your add-on, package your add-on for distribution, view documentation, and run unit tests.

Problems?

Try the Troubleshooting page.

Next Steps

Next, take a look at the Getting Started With cfx tutorial, which explains how to create add-ons using the cfx tool.

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: Luke314, XrXrXr, wbamberg, jsantell, ahmadnoormuhamm, maybe, WaitWhat
Last updated by: jsantell,