Mozilla Labs Apps Developer Preview
Mozilla Labs Apps are built using standard Web technologies with additional metadata from the Mozilla app manifest that allows the User Agent to discover, install, launch, and grant apps additional privileges. You only need to create an app manifest to create an app for an existing website. Of course, apps will have to take into consideration many factors to give the best user experience on different devices. This includes a responsive Web design that will look good on all devices, offline caching and storage, and device APIs like geolocation, orientation.
Similar to the concept of the Mozilla Labs app manifest, the W3C Widgets specification standardizes the packaging and metadata of HTML applications. Opera fully supports the W3C Widgets specification and operates a "widget store" at http://widgets.opera.com. Google also allows you to create a Chrome Web App, taking metadata from a Chrome Web app manifest file. These Chrome Web Apps can be packaged and distributed on the Chrome Web Store.
What's coming next? Here are a few things the Mozilla Labs Apps team is working for the next few months.
- WebRT. A cross platform App Runtime that has better OS integration and does not depend on Firefox.
- WebAPI. Provide apps with more device APIs like camera and file system access.
- Web Activities. The ability for apps to communicate with each other.
- Standards. Standardization of app APIs.
To get started, visit the Mozilla Apps Getting Started page. The Developer Preview website where you can test the features of the Mozilla Apps marketplace is limited only to 3,000 developers and is currently closed. To get notified of future openings, you can subscribe to the Apps Developer Newsletter. For more information about the preview, read the official announcement at hacks.mozilla.org. For a more in depth look into the Mozilla Labs Apps system, read the Behind the Mozilla Apps Developer Preview blog post.
InfoQ Sep 01, 2015