Remote CFR Messages

Starting in Firefox 68, CFR messages will be defined using Remote Settings. In this document, we’ll cover how to set up a dev environment.

Using a dev server for Remote CFR

Note: Since Novembre 2021, Remote Settings has a proper DEV instance, which is reachable without VPN, but has the same config (openid, multi-signoff, …) and collections as STAGE/PROD.

1. Obtain your Bearer Token

Until Bug 1630651 happens, the easiest way to obtain your OpenID credentials is to use the admin interface.

  1. Login on the Admin UI using your LDAP identity

  2. Copy the authentication header (📋 icon in the top bar)

  3. Test your credentials with curl. When reaching out the server root URL with this bearer token you should see a user entry whose id field is ldap:<you>

BEARER_TOKEN="Bearer uLdb-Yafefe....2Hyl5_w"

curl -s ${SERVER}/ -H "Authorization:${BEARER_TOKEN}" | jq .user

2. Create/Update/Delete CFR entries

The messages can also be created manually using the admin interface.

In following example, we will create a new entry using the REST API (reusing SERVER and BEARER_TOKEN from previous step).


# post a message
curl -X POST ${SERVER}/buckets/main-workspace/collections/${CID}/records \
     -d '{"data":{"id":"PIN_TAB","template":"cfr_doorhanger","content":{"category":"cfrFeatures","bucket_id":"CFR_PIN_TAB","notification_text":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-extension-notification"},"heading_text":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-pintab-heading"},"info_icon":{"label":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-extension-sumo-link"},"sumo_path":"extensionrecommendations"},"text":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-pintab-description"},"descriptionDetails":{"steps":[{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-pintab-step1"},{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-pintab-step2"},{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-pintab-step3"}]},"buttons":{"primary":{"label":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-pintab-ok-button"},"action":{"type":"PIN_CURRENT_TAB"}},"secondary":[{"label":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-extension-cancel-button"},"action":{"type":"CANCEL"}},{"label":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-extension-never-show-recommendation"}},{"label":{"string_id":"cfr-doorhanger-extension-manage-settings-button"},"action":{"type":"OPEN_PREFERENCES_PAGE","data":{"category":"general-cfrfeatures"}}}]}},"targeting":"locale == \"en-US\" && !hasPinnedTabs && recentVisits[.timestamp > (currentDate|date - 3600 * 1000 * 1)]|length >= 3","frequency":{"lifetime":3},"trigger":{"id":"frequentVisits","params":["","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","","",""]}}}' \
     -H 'Content-Type:application/json' \
     -H "Authorization:${BEARER_TOKEN}"

The collection was modified and now with pending changes in the workspace. We will now request a review, so that the changes become visible in the preview bucket.

# request review
curl -X PATCH ${SERVER}/buckets/main-workspace/collections/${CID} \
     -H 'Content-Type:application/json' \
     -d '{"data": {"status": "to-review"}}' \
     -H "Authorization:${BEARER_TOKEN}"

Now this new record should be listed here:

3. Set Remote Settings prefs to use the dev server.

Until support for the DEV environment is added to the Remote Settings dev tools, we’ll change the preferences manually.

These are critical preferences, you should use a dedicated Firefox profile for development.

  Services.prefs.setCharPref("services.settings.loglevel", "debug");
  Services.prefs.setCharPref("services.settings.server", "");
  // Pull data from the preview bucket.

3. Set ASRouter CFR pref to use Remote Settings provider and enable asrouter devtools.

Services.prefs.setStringPref("browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.asrouter.providers.cfr", JSON.stringify({"id":"cfr-remote","enabled":true,"type":"remote-settings","collection":"cfr"}));
Services.prefs.setBoolPref("browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.asrouter.devtoolsEnabled", true);

4. Go to about:newtab#devtools There should be a “cfr-remote” provider listed.

Using the staging server for Remote CFR

If your message is published in the staging environment the easiest way to test is using the Remote Settings Devtools addon. You can install this by going to about:debugging and using the Load Temporary Addon feature. The devtools allow you to switch your profile between production and staging and takes care of correctly flipping all the required preferences.

Remote l10n

By default, all CFR messages are localized with the remote Fluent files hosted in ms-language-packs on Remote Settings. For local test and development, you can force ASRouter to use the local Fluent files by flipping the pref browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.asrouter.useRemoteL10n.