Jorge Villalobos
Ideas, technology and the occasional rant

Saturday, July 05, 2008 1.0

Last Thursday, July 3rd 2008, marked the release of 1.0, an extension built from scratch by a team of two, myself included. This extension allows you to listen to most of the radio stations available at, and it integrates with Firefox smoothly, bringing your browsing experience and music discovery together. Get it now.

And now to the history lesson.
I've always been interested in the Extend Firefox contest. I've always to participate and see if I could win something, even if only experience. But in its last installments, even though I was seriously interested in it, I decided not to participate, shielding myself in excuses such as not having a good idea for an extension, or not having enough time for it. Partly true, but nevertheless they were just excuses. I think I was just afraid of taking the dive.
This year it was different, though. I saw something I hadn't seen in previous years, which kind of clicked on my head. It was the fact that there was a new category in the contest: Best Music Extension, sponsored by I saw this as a great opportunity to make something that was really useful for me and others, and also an opportunity to convince a great XUL developer to join my team. Jose Enrique is also a music buff, so it all fell in place.
Soon enough we began our plans. Honestly I didn't know much about before the contest announcement, but I became a fan in no time. I used to use a site called Pandora, but then it was restricted to the United States alone. seems to work worldwide, and their music database is nothing short of impressive. Their wiki-like approach to all of their content makes the site pretty much build itself, and their social capabilities are very well crafted. Making an extension to interact with seemed like the best idea for our project. I think we were right.
The project at Sourceforge was registered on the 2nd of May, a little over 2 months ago. Our first code commit followed shortly. About 60 days and almost 300 code changes later, version 1.0 was released. At the moment of this writing it is still in an "Experimental" state at AMO, but we hope to get editor approval some time soon. Still, we already have over 500 registered downloads, and only about 4 of those are mine :P . We also submitted the extension to the contest page on the same day it was released as 1.0, one day before the deadline. It'll take about a month before hearing from the judges.
I think we have a chance of winning. We spent a great deal of time polishing every feature, finding out how to bring the best possible user experience, and - luckily - getting rid of bugs, big and small.
This leads to a funny anecdote. We released version 0.5 about a month ago, thinking that it would require a little polish and a bit of new features for it to be done. We told everyone we could to download it and give it a spin... Long story short, we released 0.6 the day after, and 0.7 the day after that. Version 0.8 followed a few days after that, and we finally felt the cool breeze of stability. We had plenty of time to polish the extension for 1.0, fixing a few more bugs, mostly minor things. There are still a few bugs to fix after 1.0, but the support requests we're getting are minimal. I think we've done a good job :).
Thanks to the help of the people at Babelzilla, we were able to release in French, Japanese, Polish and Russian. That on top of the English and Spanish versions, which we provided.
As for the features, we made a big point of making this extension an actual extension. It is very common to see extensions that turn Firefox into Firefox + a media player, or Firefox + some game, or some instance of Firefox + X. These are still nice exercises, and I guess people find them useful, but they aren't really what I would extensions. I think an extension must blend into the browser, and provide to the user an enhanced browsing experience. does this by allowing users to launch stations from hyperlinks, searching stations through the location bar, context menu options to launch stations, and several links between currently played music and their information pages. If you have installed, go to our About page and click on any of the links. You'll see what I mean about integration. The URL pattern is very predictable, so you can easily set up similar links on your own sites.
I'm very excited about We really hope it succeeds. I'm eager to see if the people at Mozilla like it, which is what matters the most to me. We tried to make a real good extension, worthy or Firefox, and I think we did.
Let's just see what happens.
And again, if you don't have it yet, please give it a try.

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