As a Firefox extension developer, I probably interact with the Mozilla Addons Site more than most people. There has been a fair amount of commenting on whether the recent upgrades to the Mozilla Addons Site are good or bad (take a look at the Mozilla Webdev Blog for information about the AMO upgrades, which is spread across several posts).
I reserved judgement about the AMO upgrades initially, but have now made my decision: the new Mozilla Addons Site is better than the old one. Well, I’ll qualify that: it’s better for me. To see why, take a look at the email I just got when version 0.6 of my extension was approved:
The following files of FFClickOnce 0.6 have been made public by a Mozilla Add-ons editor: FFClickOnce 0.6 - Windows Review Information: Reviewer: Olive Tested on WinXP with Fx 18.104.22.168 Comments: Thanks for the update! If you have questions about this review, please e-mail email@example.com or join #addons on irc.mozilla.org. Mozilla Add-ons http://addons.mozilla.org
Compare that with the message I got from the old AMO site, the last time a version of my extension was approved:
FFClickOnce 0.5 - Approval Granted Your item, FFClickOnce 0.5, has been reviewed by a Mozilla Update editor who took the following action: Approval Granted Please Note: It may take up to 30 minutes for your extension to be available for download. Your item was tested by Olive using Fx 22.214.171.124pre on Win XP. Editor's Comments: Approving update, thanks -olive ---- Mozilla Update: https://addons.mozilla.org/
Notice the difference? It may seem rather subtle, but it makes a huge difference for addon developers. Know what it is yet? The grand answer is: They give me an email address to contact! That’s it. That’s the one thing they had to do to make the Addon development experience immeasurably better for me. My extension has failed review several times for reasons that were never really that clear to me. Important bug fixes that really needed to get out to my users were delayed due to review failures by reviewers who suddenly found some issue with my extension that wasn’t really an issue and had never been pointed out by any previous reviewer. It was so frustrating, because I didn’t have any way to contact them. And the fact that it took several weeks to a month to get through the review queue again just made it all the more frustrating.
To the Mozilla people’s credit, somewhere in the addons documentation it did say that addons developers could go onto the #addons IRC channel, but as someone who doesn’t know how to use IRC and doesn’t want to waste his time wading through chatrooms, this was never an option. Email is the de facto standard of communication nowadays, and if I can’t reach you through email you might as well not exist. I know it’s harsh, but it’s (almost) true.
In summary: The Mozilla Addons people can now be contacted via email, the email address is provided to Addons developers when their extension is reviewed, this makes my work as an Addons developer much less frustrating, and makes me really happy =)
Of course, just having an email address isn’t enough: hopefully there’s someone checking it and responding to it, too…