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Splitting AMO and the Marketplace

Years ago someone asked me what the fastest way to stand up an App Marketplace was. After considering that we already had several Add-on Types in AMO I replied that it would be to create another Add-on Type for apps, use the AMO infrastructure as a foundation for logins/reviews/etc. and do whatever minor visual tweaks were needed. This was a pretty quick solution but the plan evolved and “minor visual tweaks” turned into “major visual changes” and soon a completely different interface. Fast forward a few years and we have two separate sites (addons.mozilla.org and marketplace.firefox.com) running out of the same code repository but with different code. Much of the code is crudely separated (apps/ vs mkt/), but there are also many shared files, libraries, and utilities, both front and backend. The two sites run on the same servers but employ separate settings files.

There has been talk about combining the two sites so that the Firefox Marketplace was the one stop shop for all our apps/add-ons/themes/etc. but there was reluctance to move down that path due to the different user expectations and interfaces – for example, getting an app for your phone is a lot different flow than putting a theme on Firefox. While the debate has simmered with no great options the consequences of inaction continue to grow. Today’s world:

  • Automated unit tests which take far longer than necessary to run because they run for both sites.
  • Frustration for developers who change code in one area and affect a completely different site.
  • Confusion for any new employees or contributors as they struggle to set up the site (despite our decent documentation).
  • A one-size-fits-all infrastructure approach with no ability to optimize for the very different sites (API/service based vs standard MVC)

The best way to relieve the stress points above is complete separation of addons.mozilla.org and marketplace.firefox.com. Read the full (evolving) proposal. Feedback welcomed.

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Benjamin Kerensa | February 1, 2014 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    The proposal seems good but I’m wondering if Firefox Marketplace would be renamed to something more suitable like Firefox OS Marketplace to reduce ambiguity surrounding the purpose of the Marketplace.

  2. Wil Clouser | February 1, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    No rename planned. The Marketplace is targeted more broadly than just FxOS. Apps have been installable on android and desktop platforms for months and we’ll be emphasizing the two in the first half of this year (android in Q1, desktop in Q2).

  3. Axel Hecht | February 5, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    More out of curiousity, why does AMO end up on a different repo than where it began, and marketplace ends up being zamboni?

  4. Wil Clouser | February 5, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    That’s just the way it worked out. Marketplace is the primary focus right now and there are more (many automated) systems set up using it so it’s less work if we move AMO than if we move Marketplace.

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