When I started ImageTweak a few years ago, the decision of building an extensions was mostly due to the fact that the Firefox codebase looked, frankly, quite scaring. Even only attempting to compile Firefox on Windows looked like an impossible endeavor, let alone building a modified version.
Compared to this, writing an extensions looked like a piece of cake (looking back, this was a rather naïve evaluation, but that’s another story…).
Fast forward a few years: ImageTweak has gotten pretty mature, so the question pops up again. Wouldn’t it be better to tackle the source of all problems (pun intended) and bring at least a subset of ImageTweak to all Firefox users? And so, on a fine spring day, while working on my MSc thesis, I finally found the courage to make a real attempt at producing a patch that would at least bring feature parity with ImageTweak 0.9, i.e. centering stand-alone images on a dark background.
After a few rounds of patches, I finally managed to produce a working patch that had a single, HUGE, issue. It produced an awful lot of failed tests in the regression tests. If you add to this that, by the time the working patch was ready, I was on the eve of my dissertation (that would be followed by a fair amount of AFK holidays and by a close-to-immediate hiring for a consultancy firm) the amount of time I could devote to Mozilla-related tasks dropped rather quickly to nil.
Luckily, my (clumsy) attempt at a patch had the effect of setting the proverbial ball rolling: somebody (Jared Wein) over at BMO picked up where I left off and fixed all regression tests. And, just like that, a couple of weeks ago, I received a notification about the fact that my patch had been pushed to mozilla-central and that it will be part of Firefox 11. Proudness ensued.
Obviously, as with any other user-facing change, this is prone to (hopefully constructive) discussion. And that’s good, I guess, because those are yet more proverbially rolling balls.
update: Unlike Daniel Glazman, Jared Wein seems to like it: Blinded by the light! – An improved image viewing experience in Firefox