addons.mozilla.org (AMO) has supported a way for developers to upload beta versions of their add-ons. This allowed power users to test upcoming features and fixes before they are published to all users. It has been a useful feature to have for some developers.
However, the feature suffers from a few problems:
- Users can’t be easily moved to the release channel. This can strand users in an abandoned beta channel.
- Because of this, the beta channel needs to be updated as frequently as the release channel.
- It adds complexity to some of the most complex AMO code.
For these reasons, and because usage of this feature is low, we will be discontinuing support for this feature in the next month.
Using self-hosted versions for testing
AMO supports signing self-hosted (unlisted) versions, which we believe is a good replacement. With self-hosted versions, developers can create multiple development update channels if needed. They can easily move users between channels. The main caveat is that the files and update mechanisms need to be hosted by the developer. This documentation on add-on distribution explains this a little further.
We communicated this change to developers who use beta versions a few weeks ago. If you have a beta version installed, you may be notified soon with instructions on how to move forward. We also recommend that you visit the add-on’s listing page for any updates from the developer.
This change will ease AMO development moving forward. Moreover, it helps us work on new features that more users will enjoy. If you have questions or comments about this, we invite you to join this discussion thread.