Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla Partner on Browser Extensions


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Apr 24, 2016
The makers of the world’s most popular web browsers are teaming up to improve the security and usability of browser extensions.

“With multiple browsers adopting a broadly compatible model for extensions in the last few years, the WebExtensions Community Group (WECG) is excited to explore how browser vendors and other interested parties can work together to advance a common browser extension platform,” the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced. “Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla are initiating this community group, and we welcome other browser makers, extension developers, and interested parties to join this effort.”

The new community group will work towards standardizing how extensions install and work across different web browsers using the existing extensions model and APIs supported by Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari. “Specifically, we plan to make extension creation easier for developers by specifying a consistent model and common core of functionality, APIs, and permissions; [and] outline an architecture that enhances performance and is even more secure and resistant to abuse.”

The first step, they say, is to create a specification. Then, it can chart a course for future evolution. There are, however, no plans for a single extension store that all browsers will use. Instead, each browser vendor will continue to operate their own extension stores independently.

You can learn more by reading the WebExtensions Community Group Charter.


Level 3
Nov 14, 2016
The teams behind the Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browsers have banded together to improve extensions, the add-ons you can download to customize the software. That should mean your extensions will work better and come with a better security foundation to protect you from malware.

On Friday, the teams unveiled a discussion and development forum at the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, dedicated to developing standards for extensions. The forum, the WebExtensions Community Group, gives engineers a place to build a unified and more secure core foundation for extensions.

The group also hopes to make it easier for developers to write extensions because a shared standard will help bridge differences between browsers.

"We aim to identify common ground, bring [browsers] into closer alignment, and chart a course for future evolution," community group members said of their goals. There's not yet a public timeline for publishing a draft of the standard or building it into browsers.
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