Mozilla had announced on Wednesday that it will be doing away with the plug-ins built in its Firefox browser by the end of 2016. What this means is that all the NPAPI plugins in the Firefox browser will be history when you start to use the Firebox browser in 2017.
Netscape Plug-in Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) is one of the most popular and standard plug-in used by many browsers. Google had recently done away with the NPAPI plug-ins and now Mozilla has followed suit. There are many other popular browsers that still make use of the MPAPI plug-ins like: Opera Software’s Opera browser and Apple’s Safari browser.
Mozilla has said that it will not be taking out the Flash plug-in option from its Firefox browser and will continue to support it. This is an exception to the general plug-in policy. The main problem with the NPAPI plugins is that it slows down the browser’s speed and affects its stability. The performance of the browser is greatly compromised when making use of the NPAPI plug-ins. The code base is also very complex in nature. This means that some of the plugins like Silverlight, Unity, Java and others will not be featured on the Mozilla Firefox browsers from the end of 2016.
Google had dropped the support to all the NPAPI plug-ins in its popular Chrome browser and was the first company to criticize NPAPI for what it did to the browsers that supports it. The Internet Explorer browser from Microsoft made use of its Active X technology to slowly relieve the users from the age old technology of NPAPI plugins.
The new move by Mozilla on NPAPI is another step that it is taking to synchronize its efforts with Chrome browser and also to some extent with the Edge browser. The Edge browser at the moment only supports Flash plug-in is looking to adopt Chrome like extensions like Mozilla.
Mozilla has been announcing an update for its Firefox browser every six weeks. If it sticks to this schedule, then the support for the NPAPI plugins will be cancelled by Mozilla in the Firefox 52 update that will be announced on December 27, 2016. The present Firefox version is 41 and the next Firefox version 42 will be released on November 3rd.
Firefox is just having a share of 1.5% of all the popular browsers in the month of September and will have to do something to prevent its share from slipping further.