the All-in-One Sidebar turned twelve this year. Is this a reason for a party? I don’t think so, because I announce the end of development, the end of life of this extension.
What are the reasons, you may ask. There are a handful of reasons, but mainly there is one reason caused by life, and one reason caused by Mozilla.
The complete lifetime of the extension was a big up and down – maybe with a very big "up" a decade ago. At some point later on, I stopped using Firefox, and I also nearly stopped the development of AiOS. But I returned to Firefox as a user and a developer – finally I moved the codebase to GitHub and I started to completely rewrite parts of the the extension to get rid off outdated stuff. All this was a lot of fun over the years, but also a lot of hard work, which was for a while the main part of my life.
But life isn’t standing still. Twelve years after the start of All-in-One Sidebar I’m again a user of Chrome and I think I will stick with it. I have reasons, of course, but it isn’t the time for this discussion. Additionally some changes in my private life, and also in my professional life, compel me to new decisions. Nowadays I have less and less time to develop the extension. These both points are the first main reason for stopping the development:
I'm simply not prepared to spend my less free time for developing an extension for a browser, which I don’t use anymore and in which I have no more personal interest.
But that’s not all. The other main reason is, that even if I had free time and desire, I now would stop the development, because of the upcoming release of Firefox 57. Maybe you know that Mozilla plans to make Firefox 57 the first version of the browser that supports only WebExtensions. I spent some time to check if I could migrate AiOS to a WebExtension, but it’s simply not possible, even if I would completely rewrite the extension. Manipulation of the browser window's interface and functionality is extremely limited by definition.
An extension like AiOS, which is heavily changing the interface of the browser, isn’t viable with Firefox 57 onwards.
I have a very clear opinion about the new extension system and the previous unique selling point of Firefox in my point of view. I really hope they will succeed with the new direction – but without me as a user and extension developer.
It was always very important for me to be honest and fair to the users. I had very good offers to sell the extension, but I didn't want to see that AiOS turn into adware or spyware. The last few years were not marked by a lot of new features, the bugfixing was very slow and I did not respond very well on mails and GitHub issues. I apologize for all of this.
The code of AiOS is on Github, anyone who’s interested can fork it – but I don’t recommend it. Big parts of the code are 10 to 12 years old and I was then on a completely different level of programming skills.
I would like to thank you all very much! You, the users, supporters and last but not least the awesome donators! It was a great time and a fantastic community. I learned very much on many levels, but everything is coming to an end. I'm thankful for all the years with such a fantastic userbase! I have nothing more to say but goodbye!
August 16th, 2017
PS: You could send me a beer via Paypal and I would highly appreciate it, but it will not result in an opinion change. ;)
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