Browser Extensions: A Call For Standardization

I use Firefox as my main browser, and have since it was released pretty much. Over that time I have become dependent on a variety of extensions. ColorZilla, Web Developer, Firebug, StumbleUpon, etc.. I use them daily, and a browser without them would feel…incomplete to me.

What if I wanted to switch to another browser, say Safari? The new Safari 4 Beta is pretty good. I couldn’t take those wonderful extensions with me. (Of course, I’m happy with Firefox…providing Mozilla can fix it’s slow launch time soon…)

Many browsers support extensions of some sort. Safari and Internet Explorer do now, following Firefox’s lead.

I think it’s high time that browser extensions be standardized. I think that the WebKit and Mozilla projects should get together and develop an open browser extension standard to be implemented across browser platforms. (Microsoft too, if they’ll cooperate…)

Imagine a set of specifications, for XML and JavaScript-based extensions, that could be implemented by any browser maker. The same extensions that run in Firefox could run in Opera or Safari or Chrome. It’s certainly possible, and I could see it happening, providing the stars align properly.

Greasemonkey, Firefox, Safari

A common extension API would benefit users greatly, preventing them from being tied down to one browser as easily.