Andy McKay

Oct 27, 2017

Here we are

I’ve been at Mozilla for seven years now doing various things. Just over two years ago I was tasked with my biggest project yet at Mozilla, transitioning the add-ons community over to WebExtensions. In about three weeks Firefox Quantum will go out to all the Firefox users and WebExtensions will be the only way to run an add-on on Firefox 57.

That’s over two years of work from an awesome team of people at Mozilla who came together and decided to make this change. I remember clearly the feeling in those first weeks of sheer dread at what I’d gotten myself into. There’s many who have helped and supported me on this project, but I think without Kev Needham guiding us, we would have been sunk. A good example was those first weeks when I went from a severe state of panic and dread, down to only a mild state of panic as a result of multiple conversations with Kev.

In those first weeks we had Kumar McMillan, Stuart Colville, Matthew MacPherson and Kris Maglione on the engineering team and the job of going out and finding more engineers was my main goal in those months. We were soon joined by Christopher Grebs, Mathieu Pillard, Mark Striemer and Luca Greco. By the time we got to our first work week, Berlin in 2016 we had Matthew Wein, Andrew Swan and Bob Silverberg as well. Later we were lucky enough to be joined by Shane Caraveo and Andrew Williamson.

The quality of these engineers can’t be overstated, with a diverse set of knowledge and skills it’s been amazing what they’ve been able to accomplish. I tried to make a list of all the things that they’ve done in this post, but this post would be extremely long. Just go read all the many, many blog posts we’ve done or even <a href=”>better</a> go and write a WebExtension.

For me its been hard not to take this project personally, there are many people who disagree with the decision to do this. They let us know about this regularly in many different ways. I’ve never encountered this at Mozilla to this level. That’s given me a real appreciation for what others at Mozilla have had to deal with.

The navigating around those concerns has been rocky and sometimes I didn’t handle it very well and that didn’t help. There’s been a learning curve there for me.

On the other hand, the support from other people who do agree with this decision has been wonderful. Just last week in Toronto multiple people came up to us and gave us thanks for the changes we’ve made. To all of you who have helped, a big, big thank you.

I remain steadfastly convinced that this is one of the best things we could do for Firefox and I’m proud the work that’s been done. It’s been a big change and with it comes risk and uncertainty. To say that I’m a little nervous about how this will go, will be an understatement.

But here we are, in about three weeks Quantum will be rolling out and there won’t be legacy add-ons.