Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox are the main web browsers and now they join forces to improve the extensions of our favorite browsers. Now, they have driven the creation of the WebExtensions Community Group (WECG) with a clear objective: to make developing extensions easier.
These extensions have become one of the great attractions of browsers. Almost like apps for smartphones. In order to make it easier for the different extension developers, the industry’s top players have come to an agreement.
After sheathing the weapon of healthy competition, WECG has issued a statement: “With multiple browsers adopting a broadly compatible model for extensions in the last few years, the WECG is excited to explore how browser vendors and other interested parties can work together to advance a common browser extension platform.”
The goals of Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox are clear and they divide them into two branches. First, to facilitate the process of creating extensions for developers by providing a consistent model and a common core of functionality, APIs and permissions. And second, to create an architecture that improves performance and is even more secure and resistant to abuse.
“Our work will be guided by a common set of HTML and W3C TAG design principles: user-centered, compatibility, performance, security, privacy, portability, maintainability, and well-defined behavior.”
They want to use the existing extensions model and APIs supported by Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Safari as a foundation. And go from there moving forward. “We aim to identify common ground, bring implementations into closer alignment, and chart a course for future evolution.”
This statement of intent has also been accompanied by a clarification of what WECG will not do on the matter. “We are not aiming to specify every aspect of the web extensions platform or existing implementations,” they point out. The new initiative seeks to encourage browsers to continue to innovate and submit APIs that can serve as the basis for further enhancements to extensions.
“Each browser vendor will continue to operate their extension store fully independently, with their own technical, review, and editorial policies.” Thus avoiding entering into the conditions imposed on each platform, one of the red lines that are usually put to continue to have some command when reviewing that everything is correct. For example, to avoid that extensions can be used to sneak malware or steal data.