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InfoQ Homepage News The WebThings Iot Platform Continues on Its Own after Mozilla Disengages from Iot

The WebThings Iot Platform Continues on Its Own after Mozilla Disengages from Iot

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David Bryant recently announced that Mozilla WebThings was leaving the Mozilla umbrella to become an independent community-led open source project. The project name is shortened to WebThings. The project’s website also moves from Mozilla IoT webpage to its own ( The move ensures the continuity of operations for the WebThings user base while Mozilla continues to focus on its restructuration.

David Bryant, vice president of platform engineering at Mozilla, explained the rationale behind the transfer to the community:

Mozilla is winding down its direct investment in WebThings and is transitioning control and responsibility to the community. It is important this happens in a way that allows easy continued contribution to the project as an open source effort, and so all the WebThings Gateways running around the world continue to function properly.

Mozilla started to work on WebThings four years ago. Ben Francis, part of the original Mozilla IoT team, explained in his article titled Building the Web of Things the project goals to make connected devices inter-operate securely in a decentralized and open way:

Mozilla is working to create a Web of Things framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices.
[The Web of Things] is about creating a decentralized Internet of Things by giving Things URLs on the web to make them linkable and discoverable, and defining a standard data model and APIs to make them interoperable.
The Web of Things is not just another vertical IoT technology stack to compete with existing platforms. It is intended as a unifying horizontal application layer to bridge together multiple underlying IoT protocols.

A significant portion of IoT devices today uses vertical technology stacks that are often proprietary, incompatible, or hard to bridge. In a few weeks, developers will no longer be able to freely create new projects with Google’s Android Things (launched in 2016 as an OS for smart appliances). While Google (which also operates Google Nest) and Samsung (which operates SmartThings) very recently partnered on Nest SmartThings to bring compatibility between their devices, interoperability across vendors is not frictionless in general.

The Web of Things specifications, under the W3C umbrella, seek to facilitate the creation of applications without the need to master the disparate variety of IoT technologies and standards. Digital twins for sensors, actuators, and information services are exposed to consuming applications as local software objects with properties, actions, and events, independently of the physical location of devices or the protocols used to access them.

Mozilla, in the meanwhile, continues its restructuration by transferring responsibility or discontinuing projects in order to focus its project portfolio on a selected few opportunities. Mozilla this year already discontinued Firefox Send and Firefox Notes.

Many impacted developers expressed their happiness that WebThings would continue its operations. One developer said:

Glad to hear this. I think WebThings is the most flexible and underrated IoT platform that exists today with a great community behind it. Would be willing to assist in any way possible. Thanks.

As WebThings is now entirely driven by the community, community contributions become instrumental to the project. Francis identified areas of contribution that encompass development, testing, add-ons, documentation, localization, and more.

WebThings is an open source implementation of the Web of Things, including the WebThings Gateway, WebThings Framework, and WebThings Cloud. The WebThings project was incubated at Mozilla for four years, before being spun out as an independent open source project.

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