September 25, 2017

About a year ago, I decided to write noturno a Firefox extension to toggle proxy configurations on/off, since it used to be really boring to do that on Firefox (too many clicks needed) and I knew no other extensions to do that.

Now, over a year later, I have heard that there are a couple extensions that can do that (and many other things), meaning that noturno is a little behind compared to these other extensions.

By the time I started writing noturno, Mozilla was announcing its plans for supporting WebExtensions, which would allow us write portable browser extensions. At that time, there was no support for a proxy API in Mozilla’s WebExtensions implementation, so I decided to use their old SDK, which was not that old back then.

A few months later, Mozilla announced its plans to drop support for the SDK after Firefox 57, so I needed to either drop noturno, or port it to WebExtensions. Since it is a simple (and very small) extension and there is (a small) user base, I decided to re-write noturno using the new API.

It is important to note that the WebExtensions proxy API is completely different from the SDK proxy API: the former uses Proxy Auto-Configuration files, while, with the latter, we could actually access Firefox internal configurations. This means that noturno >= 1.0, the versions using WebExtensions, deprecated noturno former feature, which would toggle between using custom proxy configurations or no configurations at all, for a new feature: It asks the user for a proxy host, port and protocol and the user can switch between using that one proxy or not using a proxy at all.

My future plans for noturno are:

  • Improving android support
  • Supporting multiple proxy configurations
  • Porting noturno to other browsers

noturno is Free Software, licensed under GPLv3, and its development is hosted in github, at github.com/athos-ribeiro/noturno


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Athos Ribeiro, Software Engineer, Graduate Student in the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics at University of São Paulo and contributor at the Fedora Project

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