Build your first Browser Extension

First meeting - Introduction to Browser Extensions


Add-ons provide a safe, simple, and powerful way to personalize your browsing experience. Now, it’s easier than ever to create add-ons for Firefox with WebExtensions APIs. This Web-based technology framework offers a powerful way to create browser extensions that can be easily ported to Chrome, Opera, and Edge, and you only need to know HTML, JavaScript and CSS to build them.

In this activity you will learn about what makes browser extensions great and how to build a simple add-on using WebExtensions APIs. This activity will also prepare you for your next meeting in which you will start diving more into Building your First browser add-on.

Get Started - 10'

Idea Generation - 35'

Now your Club is fired up and ready to go, we invite you to start brain storming ideas for building your first add-on either as individuals or together as a group.

Break into small groups (less than 4 people) and:

  • Search and test extensions
  • Discuss what do you like/not like about them?

Now that you have seen some extensions in action, work as a group for answering the following question:

What would you like to solve for by building an add-on?

Useful tips on Idea generation from the Open Innovation Toolkit:

Part 1: Aim to spend about ⅓ of the allotted time on divergent thinking. This is the rapid creation of random, unorganized, wild, free-flowing, novel ideas in a short period of time. This method helps people to think outside the usual constraints. This type of thinking encourages people to get comfortable with ideas that may not be immediately valuable, but could provide the key ingredient for driving innovation.

Part 2: Aim to spend about ⅙ of the allotted time on convergent thinking. This is a selective critique and combination of ideas in order to develop strong concepts. The convergent thinking method helps intelligently refine ideas by strengthening them and/or putting them together. The combination forces new thinking and creativity around how new solutions can be made and differentiated. Create clusters of complementary ideas and add more texture and detail by using affinity clustering.

Synthesize - 10'

Now that you have thought about and processed some of the ideas, it's time to synthesize your final proposal.

Pick at least one of the strongest ideas and refine by imagining the scenario of usage and the social, emotional attributes your target user would experience or need to accomplish by using your browser add-on.

Spend some time discussing how to answers the following questions:

  1. What is the problem you want to solve?
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. What is the impact your add-on will have on your audience's experience of the web?

Are you ready to submit you ideas?

Submit your idea - 5'

Congratulations! It's time for all student groups to share their ideas with the rest of the Open Source Clubs community and Mozilla's Add-ons team!

Fellow students and the experts will be able to see your idea, ask questions and provide feedback or insights which will help you build your browser add-on.

Are you ready to take the next step and build your extension? Ask your Club Captain when the next meeting will be.