Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Firefox Extension hack

If you are willing to use a Beta version of Firefox to help Mozilla test the software, then you have noticed that your favorite extensions may not work with the beta version. This is especially true in the case of Firefox Beta 1 (Version 1.6a1 and in some cases 1.5 Beta). The following methods work in the case of some of the simpler extensions such as IE View and undoclosetab which has not been updated since version 0.9.1+.

  1. Well one option is to go to the author's website to see if they have posted a newer version not yet updated on Well in the case of undoclosetab there is, if you are willing to risk adding an unknown site to your list of sites allowed to install software on your machine.
  2. But if the author has not updated their website also, then there is a hack available that may (A BIG "MAY", IF I MAY SAY SO) work. Try the following:
    • The .XPI that you find for your extension at is nothing but a zip file with a ".xpi" extension (FYI: xpi stands for cross platform installer).
    • Download the xpi from Mozilla Addons to your computer. Rename the file to have an extension of .zip. e.g. filename.xpi would end up as
    • Open the Zip file and edit the file named install.rdf with a text editor (in Windows use Wordpad as it formats the document better). Find the line that says <maxversion> with a value such as 0.9.1 (the version number maybe any number not necessarily 0.9.1). Replace 0.9.1 with the version number of the Firefox Beta install (you can find the information using Help->About in the Firefox Beta Window).
    • So finally you should have this 1.6a1 instead of the old version number.
    • Save the install.rdf file back in the zip file.
    • Rename the file back to filename.xpi.
    • Drag the new, update filename.xpi to the Firefox Beta Window and install as normal. If the extension is a simple one (more complicated ones may also work but I have had not luck with MenuX for e.g.) then your new extension should work just as normal.
Of course since this is Beta software you are aware of the risks involved with hacks such as this. But I must say I have not had any problems for the two extensions that I have mentioned with the 1.6a1 version of Firefox in the nightlies (latest-trunk).

---EDIT 12/01/2005---
An alternate method you could try is mentioned in this blog by iDan Cameron (the page is missing at this time). This alternate method seems a more graceful workaround although I have not tried it so dont know how useful it is. Also try the Nightly Tester Tools which may help install old extensions. Though this second option did not work for my Bookmarks Synchronizer. For this particular extension see my next post.
---END EDIT---

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