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Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla aim to standardise web extensions

In a bid to establish a common browser extension platform, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla have joined hands to launch the WebExtensions Community Group (WECG).

The group will work towards standardisation for browser extensions in the future. They aim to make it easier for developers to create extensions by specifying a consistent model and common core of functionality, APIs and permissions. They’ll also be working towards outlining a more secure architecture that enhances performance and is also resistant to abuse.

Over the past few years, browsers have adopted a broadly compatible model for extensions, and with WECG, the four companies will explore a common browser extension platform.

While the four aforementioned companies will initiate this community group with their respective browsers — Safari, Chrome, Edge and Firefox — other browser and extension developers, among other interested parties, are invited to join the group once they’ve laid down the first draft for new specifications..

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“Our work will be guided by a common set of HTML and W3C TAG design principles: user-centred, compatibility, performance, security, privacy, portability, maintainability, and well-defined behaviour,” the group announced on Friday.

The group will start working on a specification based on the existing extensions model and APIs supported by the four browsers. They’ll then identify common ground and set a course for the future to align the implementations better.

“We are not aiming to specify every aspect of the web extensions platform or existing implementations. We want browsers to keep innovating and shipping APIs that may serve as the basis for further improvement of the web extensions platform. In addition, we don’t plan to specify, standardize or coordinate around extension signing or delivery. Each browser vendor will continue to operate their extension store fully independently, with their own technical, review, and editorial policies.”

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