Recovering Installed Firefox Extensions (i.e. – Socialite)

Let’s ignore the fact that today that my car got repossessed – not because of me, but because the previous owner that I bought it from a year ago declared bankruptcy and the credit union still had a lien on the vehicle, all news to me. As usual, it gives evidence to my conjecture that people are stupid and everyone will let you down. But enough of that.

I like Reddit. I also like the firefox extension for Reddit called Socialite. Socialite gives you an extension-level toolbar at the top of the screen when you click on a link to an article in Reddit. Some people like that for the up/downvote and submitting links. I don’t use it for any of that garbage. I use it to get me back to the comments page for the link, since I tend to open a half-dozen tabs at a time and then can never find the original comments thread for it again.

Problem #1: The current Firefox is 3.6 (4.0 is in Beta, I don’t use 4.0). The current version of Socialite does not install under 3.6, despite saying it has compatibility. The author at one point pushed out an update ( that did install and work under firefox 3.6 – but it was labelled as experimental.

Problem #2: This extension has disappeared completely from the mozilla add-ons site. Or at least, I can’t find it anymore. doesn’t install, and is gone. I don’t think the author is working on it anymore since it’s been 2009 since an update. I can’t blame them, I wouldn’t want to deal with updates. There are also reports that voting is broken on Reddit with (perhaps due to an API change in reddit itself).

Problem #3: Alternative? The reddit “toolbar” you can turn on in your Reddit preferences really just sucks. Frequently you don’t get the page content because it’s been re-framed. Things like Reddit Enhancement Suite really don’t do this function.

So, what? I had the problem I was installing Firefox on a different machine and couldn’t install Socialite from the Mozilla Add-Ons (and hence how this whole thing started). The saving grace: I already had Socialite installed on another computer. Except…

Problem #4: It’s not that obvious how to move an extension from one Firefox installation to another. I could move the whole profile, but I didn’t want to do that.

So, I eventually fixed this by doing some google searching and found a Firefox extension called FEBE or, the “Firefox Environment Backup Extension”. FEBE allows you to back up stuff from your Firefox installation. The nice part? It collapses the extensions back into .xpi files.

Long story short: I installed FEBE onto a machine with working Socialite. Did the backup, pulled the Socialite{}.xpi from the backup, copied it to another machine, and installed it into Firefox. With .xpi files all you need is to open it from “File -> Open File …” and pick the Socialite{}.xpi file. You’ll get the standard warnings about installing things you don’t trust (which, if I look, seems to be just about every got-damned extension on the Mozilla Addon’s site, since none of them have verified authors). Worked like a charm.

Also probably actually useful for backing up your Firefox extensions in general.

Addendum: You can get Socialite as source from Github, but you’ll have to build it yourself.

Addendum: May 12, 2011: Socialite 1.4 is finally released and works with Firefox 4. I can finally upgrade