Mozilla Lauches Jetpack, Browser Extensions Take FlightMozilla Labs is at it again (aren’t they always?). This time the dream team is aiming to streamline Firefox users’ experiences with extensions.

Say what? We thought the whole extension process was already pretty easy. After all, it doesn’t take much brain power to click an install button and reboot a browser. But…what if you didn’t have to reboot your browser? What if it were as simple as just clicking the install button? Well, now it is. Enter: Mozilla Jetpack. Blast off.

 Engines Ready

Jetpack was unveiled this week on the Mozilla Labs blog page with the tag line: “Exploring new ways to extend and personalize the Web.”

What that means exactly, is that Jetpack aims to enhance the browser (e.g. HTML, CSS and Javascript) by allowing anyone who knows how to build a website to participate in the application development process. Mozilla says in this way, they will be able to increase the number of people that contribute to making the Web a better place to work, communicate and play.

While that’s all well and good from a developer’s point of view, there’s also a little sweetness for the user—which is, perhaps Jetpack’s most promising feature, at least as of now. The new tool allows applications to be added to the browser without a restart or compatibility issues, meaning that Firefox users will no longer be disrupted if they decide to add on an application mid-work, mid-chat, mid-whatever.

Can’t believe it? Aza Raskin of the Jetpack development team offers a video that not only demonstrates the non-need for rebooting, but also how easy the development process is.

Testing, 1, 2, 3…

Bear in mind that this initial release is a 0.1 and bugs are to be expected. For now, trying on Jetpack for size will bring the following to your life:

  • Initial Jetpack APIs with support for statusbars, tabs, content-scripts, animations, and more.
  • Support for external API libraries (e.g. Twitter)
  • jQuery support
  • Integrated development environment with Bespin, with immediate installs and a fast development cycle
  • Inline debugging with Firebug
  • NOT a fully formed security model

Mozilla plans to entirely revamp the tool over the next days and weeks, but of course, making the right moves is going to take lots of user feedback. There are various ways in which you can get involved, all of which are listed on the Mozilla Labs page here.

The Battle Zone

Criticism is already circulating the Web and includes a lot of concern over whether or not this is just another example of how Firefox is becoming the most bloated browser in all the land. This comes as no surprise, as we’ve recently reported a turn toward browsers with less “jank” in the trunk, like Google Chrome for example.

Of course, there are pros on both sides of the fence, so what do you think? Is this the next big step in the world of browser extensions, or is Firefox in dire need of a fire sale?