Implement a settings page

A settings page gives users a way to see and change settings (sometimes also called "preferences" or "options") for the add-on.

With WebExtensions, settings are generally stored using the storage API. Implementing a settings page is a three-step process:

  • Write an HTML file that displays settings and lets the user change them.
  • Write a script, included from the HTML file, that populates the settings page from storage and updates stored settings when the user changes them.
  • Set the path to the HTML file as the options_ui key in manifest.json. By doing this, the HTML document will be shown in the browser's add-on manager, alongside the add-on's name and description.

You can also open this page programmatically using the runtime.openOptionsPage() function.

A simple WebExtension

First, we'll write an extension that adds a blue border to every page the user visits.

Create a new directory called "settings", then create a file called "manifest.json" inside it with the following contents:

{

  "manifest_version": 2,
  "name": "Settings example",
  "version": "1.0",

  "content_scripts": [
    {
      "matches": ["<all_urls>"],
      "js": ["borderify.js"]
    }
  ],

  "applications": {
    "gecko": {
      "id": "settings-example@mozilla.org"
    }
  }

}

This add-on instructs the browser to load a content script called "borderify.js" into all web pages the user visits.

Note that we've also included the applications key.  We need this (in Firefox only) because of a bug that means we must explicitly set an add-on ID if we also include the options_ui manifest key. Although we're not using the options_ui key right now, we will do in the next section. See bug 1269545.

Next, create a file called "borderify.js" inside the "settings" directory, and give it these contents:

document.body.style.border = "10px solid blue";

This just adds a blue border to the page.

Now install the WebExtension and test it — open up any web page you like:

Adding settings

Now let's create a settings page to allow the user to set the color of the border.

First, update "manifest.json" so it has these contents:

{

  "manifest_version": 2,
  "name": "Settings example",
  "version": "1.0",

  "content_scripts": [
    {
      "matches": ["<all_urls>"],
      "js": ["borderify.js"]
    }
  ],

  "applications": {
    "gecko": {
      "id": "settings-example@mozilla.org"
    }
  },

  "options_ui": {
    "page": "options.html"
  },

  "permissions": ["storage"]

}

We've added two new manifest keys:

  • options_ui: This sets an HTML document to be the settings page (also called options page) for this add-on.
  • permissions: We'll use the storage API to store the settings, and we need to ask permission to use this API.

Next, because we've promised to provide "options.html", let's create it. Create a file with that name inside the "settings" directory, and give it the following contents:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html>
  <head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
  </head>

  <body>

    <form>
        <label>Border color<input type="text" id="color" ></label>
        <button type="submit">Save</button>
    </form>

    <script src="options.js"></script>

  </body>

</html>

This defines a <form> with a labeled text <input> and a submit <button>. It also includes a script called "options.js".

Create "options.js", again in the "settings" directory, and give it the following contents:

function saveOptions(e) {
  e.preventDefault();
  browser.storage.local.set({
    color: document.querySelector("#color").value
  });
}

function restoreOptions() {

  function setCurrentChoice(result) {
    document.querySelector("#color").value = result.color || "blue";
  }

  function onError(error) {
    console.log(`Error: ${error}`);
  }

  var getting = browser.storage.local.get("color");
  getting.then(setCurrentChoice, onError);
}

document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", restoreOptions);
document.querySelector("form").addEventListener("submit", saveOptions);

This does two things:

  • When the document has loaded, it fetches the value of "color" from storage using storage.local.get(). If the value isn't set, it uses the default "blue".
  • When the user submits the form by clicking "Save", it stores the value of the textbox using storage.local.set().

Finally, update "borderify.js" to read the border color from storage:

Due to a bug in browser.storage.local.get() in Firefox versions prior to 52, the following code will not function. To make it function in Firefox versions below 52, the two occurrences of item.color in onGot() must be changed to item[0].color.

 function onError(error) {
  console.log(`Error: ${error}`);
}

function onGot(item) {
  var color = "blue";
  if (item.color) {
    color = item.color;
  }
  document.body.style.border = "10px solid " + color;
}

var getting = browser.storage.local.get("color");
getting.then(onGot, onError);

At this point, the complete add-on should look like this:

settings/
    borderify.js
    manifest.json
    options.html
    options.js

Now:

  • reload the WebExtension
  • load a web page
  • open the settings page and change the border color
  • reload the web page to see the difference.

In Firefox you can access the settings page by visiting about:addons and clicking the "Preferences" button next to the add-on's entry.

Learn more

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: xiangjianhetaiji, Makyen, wbamberg, n8chz, chrisdavidmills
 Last updated by: xiangjianhetaiji,