Today we would see, in plain English, how the Google authentication works, and how bad it could be when things go wrong. And there are a few advises at the end of the article.
I wrote the first version of Firefox extension of Simple Gmail Notes about one and half year ago, and now I am forced to develop a new one using WebExtension technology, because the old jpm addons would be fully disabled after Firefox 57.
That was quite a surprise, because when I started to develop the extension back then, jpm was the most recommended technology for Firefox addon development. And I suffered so much during the development.
Anyway, now the the extension already got some problems with new Firefox (FF 50+), especially with the OAuth. So I am left no choice except starting on this ASAP.
Very soon, the extension would need to support 4 different environments, it would be run for:
- Chrome + Gmail
- Firefox + Gmail
- Chrome + Google Inbox
- Firefox + Google Inbox
Starting from weeks ago, there were two strange bug reports about Simple Gmail Notes. Bug reports of this extension were actually not rare, there were users complaining about various items from time to time.
However, those reports were a bit unusual, the users claimed their Gmail accounts were temporarily locked by Google because of excessive network requests, and they believed this extension was the culprit.
I was shocked at first, as it was a very serious charge. I carefully inspected my code, checked all possible places with network requests. Nothing suspicious was found. And according to my calculation, there was no way for the extension to perform endless network requests.
So after some further investigations, I concluded that they might be just false alarms.
Now, after 5 months of development for Firefox extension of Simple Gmail Notes, most features are stabilized and the features could be shared between Chrome and Firefox easily. In the last few revisions, the cross-browser migration (Firefox -> Chrome or Chrome -> Firefox) all took less than 1 hour. Basically, the initial pain on the development of extension development gradually passed away.
However, I would like to further discuss the review process of Firefox. As mentioned before, Firefox uses a manual review process, it is much more strict than Google Chrome extensions (which is, basically, nil).