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Yesterday Digg decided to launch their first Firefox 3 extension, and being a Firefox extension developer myself one of the first things I noticed was the preferential treatment they apparently received. Before I get into that let’s take a look at their well-designed extension.

The top toolbar aspect of the extension is nothing new as we’ve already seen other extensions offer similar functionality. Basically the toolbar provides a quick glance at how many Diggs and comments the page you’re currently visiting has.

The real power, however, comes from the notification system that it includes. When a new story is posted you’ll see a popup notification window in “near real-time.” Similarly you can also receive notifications for when your friends post new articles. Here’s an explanation by Kevin Rose on how it all works:

My only pet peeve is that when I click the “Digg It” button I shouldn’t be taken to the Digg page. The action should happen instantaneously without the Digg site having to load. If I wanted to go to the Digg page I’d just click the link for the comments.

–Eliminating the Need for the Digg Toolbar–

I don’t need another toolbar in my browser, and I’m sure that will be addressed in a future version of the extension. There’s an easy work around though. Go to View -> Toolbars -> Customize, and drag any of the objects from the Digg toolbar onto another toolbar. Here’s what it looks like when I dragged the two primary items up onto the Menu bar:

digg toolbar moved.png

I don’t recommend dragging the Digg menu item from the Digg toolbar up there, otherwise it will stretch out the images a lot on those buttons. They still get a little stretched out, but it’s not as bad as it would be if you dragged that button up to the top.

–Digg is “Above” Other Firefox Developers–

There’s just one thing that I, as a Firefox extension developer myself, find a bit frustrating. Digg is apparently being given special treatment on the Mozilla Add-ons site considering that their extension has been out less than 3-days, and it is no longer experimental. Extension editors/moderators are supposed to examine user reviews to determine whether an add-on should make it out of the Sandbox. Interestingly enough the Digg extension was made publicly available before they even had a single review.

Yet our extension, CyberSearch, has 47 reviews (thanks everyone!) than theirs and it is still stuck in the Sandbox after over a month. I know the editors are overloaded, but I think they need to keep a fair playing field. Stuff like this is pretty discouraging for developers.