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There are no extension program en IE, but sometimes, you are asked if you want to install a toolbar. The two browsers don't rely on the same technology, and they must have different internal methods and conventions, but I was wondering if you can still convert a Firefox extension through some toolbar installation.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

No. Apart from API differencies, Firefox toolbars are based on XUL and Javascript which is fully interpreted (by Gecko, Firefox' rendering engine) and portable code, and IE toolbars are pieces of native code executed by OS and CPU. There cannot be more incompatibilites between two than they are.

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Ok, thanks. But wouldn't it be possible to have a toolbar on IE (written in native OS code) that could interpret some XUL and javascript (not necessarily from firefox extensions)? – BenoitParis Jan 22 '10 at 13:20
Theoretically yes, but then you will need to embed almost full Gecko engine into your toolbar, and it will be relatively large both on disk (around 10Mb) and in RAM (isn't 50 Mb a bit too large amount of memory for a small toolbar) – whitequark Jan 22 '10 at 13:27
... You make a good point. Too bad IE is dominant :( – BenoitParis Jan 22 '10 at 13:44
@BenoitParis: Not really...not anymore. They're close up the same (IE/Firefox). And you can still play the game the other way round "You need Firefox to do this". – Bobby Jan 22 '10 at 14:52
"There cannot be more incompatibilites between two than they are" - As a developer working to rewrite a firefox extension for IE, I could not agree with you more. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jan 22 '10 at 17:05

No, it would require a rewrite of the interface since Firefox and IE are written in different ways.

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It's not just the's two completely different AddOn-Systems. – Bobby Jan 22 '10 at 13:35

The Mozilla ActiveX Control can be used to run Firefox extensions. Here are the installation steps:

  • Get XULRunner
  • Register the Mozilla ActiveX control
  • Mark the ActiveX control as Safe or allow ActiveX full rights in the IE security config

Preinstalled Chrome extensions combined with GCF may allow the same portability for crx files as well.


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