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most downloaded custom theme has less than 10 000 weekly dls

Discuss application theming and theme development.
jivko

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Post Posted July 30th, 2013, 3:46 pm

I can't believe that the most downloaded custom theme has less than 10 000 weekly downloads. I know it's summer and that downloads usually drop during the summer but come on less than 10 000. There's no point to keep theme support anymore. I miss the old Firefox 3 days :(

patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted July 31st, 2013, 3:40 pm

I never had a theme with 10,000 weekly downloads. But then, that was never why I did it.
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Aris

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Post Posted August 1st, 2013, 12:49 am

About two years ago the top ten themes had at least about twenty thousand downloads per week, the top three far more (~30-45k). After this years themes hiding in January and Personas favoring over full themes, all full themes lost and are still losing many users. (My theme had about 185k users in its top days less than a year ago and now about 120-125k with a downward trend).

Over seven month passed since Mozillas choice to merge Personas with themes and making full themes less important and attractive to AMO visitors. Now we see this decisions result and where themes are going to.

With Austalis design coming to Fx 26 or 27 theme authors will have to change many things for their themes to stay compatible and I'm not sure, if it is worth the time.

Edit

@David: I read in the builds area 'Australis' won't make it into Fx 25 Aurora/beta/final and probably not even into Fx 26 Aurora/beta/final. It could enter nightly channel for "testing" purposes only and get backed out for Aurora channel.
Last edited by Aris on August 1st, 2013, 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

David.Vincent

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Post Posted August 1st, 2013, 12:42 pm

For me, daily users are now around 100 000 instead of 160 000 in november 2012). This number decrease every day. But my real users (userEnabled) are around 30 000 and this number is stable since I come back (they were 60 000 in november 2012).
I don't know now what will be Firefox 25 : Australis or not Australis? Mozilla developers are not very communicative.
If I based future Firefox on actual Nightly UX, the work for my theme will be huge : I must re-write all the code of Noia Fox and I don't know if Firefox users will follow this new version.
Firefox is not Chrome and I don't understand why Mozilla developers want to clone this browser that I don't like.
Firefox 3 was a great browser with a lot of add-ons and themes. Firefox 25 will be a browser with only 10 themes and a few add-ons (no more toolbar is authorized, no status bar,...)
Wait and see......

jivko

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Post Posted August 1st, 2013, 1:21 pm

If these changes come with Firefox 25 or 26 I have to rewrite most of the theme code. The toolbar is changed a lot. Guess it's time for me to reduce the number of supported themes from 10 to 4 which will use the same base. I don't like chrome. Making Chrome themes is like personas and I don't have the freedom to style each element of the browser the way I want. Hoping for better days guys. I've been developing themes since I was 15. Now I'm 20 and I've been in the theme world for almost 5 years now and when they started to mess with the browser versions something when wrong. Till then everything was OK, after that came the we must make personas popular attempts and with the merge of both things have become worse. My Blue Fox theme lost 1/2 of its users (160000 before 80000 now) and weekly downloads well (nearly 30000 before, nearly 4000 now).

Frank Lion

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Post Posted August 1st, 2013, 3:24 pm

Yep, it wasn't always like this.

This is from around June 2007 -

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jivko

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Post Posted August 1st, 2013, 3:40 pm

Amo design from the Firefox 2 days :)

jivko

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Post Posted August 2nd, 2013, 12:10 am

Let's not forget that back in 2007 there was no chrome. A lot of users started using chrome and we and extension developers as well lost a lot of users because of chrome. :? It's a factor but Mozilla is the one to blame for the loss of users and downloads.

patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted August 2nd, 2013, 12:45 am

I suppose it's hyperbolic, but I think it's worth noting that when Firefox 3.0 came out a great many theme developers jumped ship. The situation was dire for awhile until a few new people (like myself) decided to start themeing because the stock 3.0 theme was just. so. bad. compared to 2.0. For anyone who's never looked at the internals of Firefox 2.0 vs. 3.0, I'll sum it up... they were as different as from 3.0 to one of the current releases. The entire theme structure was reorganized and many UI elements renamed. What has taken ~ 5 years and ~ 20 releases to happen today, happened in one big release back then. What had been completely stable for 2 years was suddenly changed in dramatic ways in a very short development cycle (the theme parts of 3.0 landed very late, shortly before the release date) and most developers felt they didn't have time or energy to catch up.

Around this time Mozilla also began what I would consider a full-on campaign against Themes. It was subtle at first, with neckbeard and a few others dropping hints that Themes were the root of all problems with Firefox. And for a brief few months while people attempted to force 2.0-compatible themes to work in 3.0, that may have been true... but there was a big response from the community and the 3.x development cycle saw more new unique themes as well as classic retro themes supported than ever before. But for reasons that only Mozilla can explain, they kept up their campaign. With Firefox 3.6 and the arrival of Personas, they made it clear that Themes were dead to them. There were quotes in newsgroups and bugs from high-ups that expressed a desire to kill-off or at least de-popularize Themes, Themes were systematically removed from the front-page of AMO as well as from the "featured addons" section of the Addons Manager. To make matters worse, Mozilla did to Personas exactly what they accuse theme/extension developers of doing... they spent too long on meaningless details, half-assed the implementation, then removed the primary developer and let the code rot for the next 5 years. I don't think it would be unfair at all to say that Mozilla has put more brain-power and effort into the marketing of Personas than they ever did in the development.

Add to that mess the current development cycle where bored Mozilla devs just aimlessly rename and restyle theme elements in ways that require support for NO APPARENT REASON every few months for the last 3 years, and the fact that Mozilla would NEVER consider very simple skin restructuring that would allow for very simple toolbar-button-only themes, and you have why, despite disappointing tens of thousands of dedicated users, I abandoned Firefox Theme development. I still have hope that Mozilla will one day wake up and realize why and how they became the most popular browser of choice in the late 2000s... maybe then they will reverse this idiotic course they are on and get back to making an excellent unpretentious product for nerds and their families.
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Zigboom

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Post Posted August 6th, 2013, 7:41 am

Following Patrick's brilliant analysis (I agree with every word) ..
It seems to be all part of a strategy to copy Google Chrome and give the user less options for customization - even though customization was always the strongest advantage of Firefox.

Another issue (maybe it's just me) - I posted 2 important updates with bug-fixes to my themes that haven't been approved for about a month, a third update is ready .. it never happened before.
It used to take days, not weeks or months and anyway my themes have never been 2 or 3 versions behind (and buggy) .. seems that we're not getting much love recently (or is it just me?).
The result is getting a step closer to giving up (I'll try not to) and having bugs that annoy the users, not fun anyway so what's left for us? (not money of course - Mozilla keeps it all:) ...
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LoudNoise
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Post Posted August 6th, 2013, 8:06 am

I think the delay in approval has more to do with the dumb way AMO is set up rather then anything else.
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Zigboom

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Post Posted August 6th, 2013, 8:13 am

Thanks LoudNoise!
Anything I can do to get my themes approved in a timely manner?
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jivko

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Post Posted August 6th, 2013, 8:21 am

Well I had problems with approval two years ago but I like what they're doing recently. Last month was like: I submit a new version and 3-4 days later it gets approved. I remember two years ago I waited two months for approval. I don't know how but one of my themes was stuck in 10th place or something but other themes got reviewed before it.

Frank Lion

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Post Posted August 6th, 2013, 8:29 am

jivko wrote:Let's not forget that back in 2007 there was no chrome. A lot of users started using chrome and we and extension developers as well lost a lot of users because of chrome. :? It's a factor

No, it's not. Don't forget you were 13 back in 2007, but I was doing this stuff then. :) Chrome didn't come out until December 2008 and has always had little appeal to anyone wanting to customise their browser appearance properly.

I'm sure I've covered this before, but here's the quick version - late in 2007, all the download counters froze, the extensions figures were sorted, but afterwards the theme download figures were 10% of what they were.

Cameron Nicks (Shift Themes) put feelers out and I confirmed that I was seeing the same. - https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=402796 He also asked other themers and they were deafening in their cowardly silence, sitting on cc lists and just watching. If themers had thought of someone apart from themselves back in those days and helped on that bug, then things might have turned out differently.

All history now, but extension writers in IRC never liked the high figures we used to get and after that above bug Mozilla then knew how easy Firefox theme writers were to push around. ...and since then have changed the theme figures downwards, less drastically, a few more times since then. Like what were they going to do about it?

Thus, a self fulfilling prophesy came about and Firefox themes have these days all but collapsed, err, like I said they would -


I would ask, therefore, that either this bug is fixed or else that AMO confirm here that this 10% is the position, for whatever reason. Otherwise, at sometime in the future, I suspect that someone at Mozilla will be waving about a totally meaningless set of figures to support a position that third party Firefox Themes are not in great demand by Firefox users.

Thanks :)
Last edited by Frank Lion on August 6th, 2013, 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Metal Lion latest SeaMonkey & Thunderbird Themes - Sea Monkey and Silver Sea Monkey
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Zigboom

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Post Posted August 6th, 2013, 8:30 am

Strange, for me it's the complete opposite, two versions in a row totally stuck. Anyway, does anyone know who can I check it with?
-=# LavaFox & Black Fox - Dark & hot themes for Firefox #=-
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/4710003/

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