GNOME Web (Epiphany) is Adding Support for WebExtensions

GNOME Web, better known by the codename Epiphany, is adding support for WebExtensions.

WebExtensions are a cross-browser extension API used by Mozilla Firefox and Apple’s Safari. They allow developers to bring additional functionality, ranging from ad-blockers to password managers, to web browser users as a simple add-on.

Epiphany developer Patrick “TingPing” Griffis shares details on work they’re undertaking to bring WebExtensions support to GNOME’s home-grown WebKit browser ahead of the next major release, expected later this year.

And as a result of this effort Linux users will be able to use some of Firefox’s most popular add-ons in GNOME Web, natively.

WebExtensions support in Epiphany v43 (alpha)

“With version 43.alpha Epiphany users can begin to take advantage of some of the same powerful and portable extensions [already available],” TingPing writes.

“Note that there are quite a few APIs that power this and with this release we’ve covered a meaningful segment of them but not all. Over time our API coverage and interoperability will continue to grow.”

While the work is still very much in development at the time of writing, it does work. I downloaded a number of .xpi web extensions from the Mozilla Firefox add-ons website, loaded them in to the latest development build of Epiphany and it all “just worked”.

If you are interested in trying WebExtensions out in Epiphany you will find more details on Patrick’s blog, including the command you currently have to run to enable the feature in Epiphany’s latest nightly Flatpak builds.

In all, this is yet another feature to look forward to in the GNOME 43 release due this autumn.