Google and Microsoft aim to work together on standardizing browser extensions to improve their security and performance which is why the two tech giants, along with Apple and Mozilla, have launched the WebExtensions Community Group (WECG).
Over the last few years, multiple browsers have adopted a broadly compatible model for extensions and this is why the WECG wants to explore how browser makers and other interested parties can work together to help advance a common browser extension platform.
Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla are essentially joining forces to create a set of standards for browser extensions that will be guided by a shared set of HTML and W3C TAG design principles. These principles include “compatibility, performance, security, privacy, portability, maintainability and well-defined behavior” according to an announcement from the World Wide Web Consortium.
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By using the existing extensions model and APIs supported by Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Safari as a foundation, the WECG will start by working on a specification.
Standardizing browser extensions
Together the founding members of the WECG will develop a shared vision for browser extensions as they work towards future standardization.
They plan to do this by focusing on making it easier for developers to create extensions by specifying a consistent model and common core of functionality, APIs and permissions while also outlining an architecture that enhances performance and is even more secure and resistant to abuse.
However, the group will not specify every aspect of the web extensions platform or existing implementations. At the same time, browser makers will continue to operate their extension stores fully independently with their own technical review and editorial policies.
While Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla are the founding members of the WebExtensions Community Group, other browser makers, extension developers and interested parties are also welcome to join the effort as well.
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