Web publishers can offer visitors a Firefox sidebar to encourage their engagement. There are two ways to create a sidebar for Firefox users: the Social API and an extension. You can choose either depending on your needs and resources.
The Social API
This content covers features introduced in Firefox 17.
The Social API is a new API from Mozilla that allows social media services to integrate their content into the browser window. At this time, Facebook, Cliqz, mixi and MSN are partnering with Mozilla as social providers. Now the API is available to all Web developers so it's worth checking out if you are offering a social service.
An extension is a kind of add-ons that adds new functionalities to Firefox. There is a wide range of extensions available, and some of them provide a sidebar. Such kind of sidebar can be a simple Web panel or a full-featured extension that is completely integrated with the browser. There are some ways to create an extension:
- The new sidebar API has been implemented in Firefox 29 as part of the Add-on SDK. It's the easiest way to create an extension with a sidebar.
- You can also build a restartless extension yourself without the SDK. A sample extension to add a Web panel is available as a starter.
- If you'd like to have a deeper integration with the browser to offer more complex features, a traditional overlay extension can be an option. The document might be obsolete, though.
Obsolete since Gecko 23 (Firefox 23 / Thunderbird 23 / SeaMonkey 2.20)
This feature is obsolete. Although it may still work in some browsers, its use is discouraged since it could be removed at any time. Try to avoid using it.
As of Firefox 23, the
addPersistentPanel functions have been removed from the deprecated, Netscape-derived
window.sidebar object. That means the ability to add a traditional sidebar panel is no longer available from Web content. The new Social API or an extension can be used instead as described above.
- Bootstrap addon demo which adds a sidebar with browser for HTML content: https://gist.github.com/Noitidart/8728393