Mozilla Web Apps - take the web page out of the app
Written by Ian Elliot
Sunday, 06 March 2011
Mozilla has released the latest milestone in its Web Apps initiative - and it seems to make sense. Are web apps the single platform solution we are looking for?
There is no doubt that things are changing - they always do - but we are in the middle of the app revolution and just when you think things are settling down something happens to make you think again.
The big problem with apps is fragmentation. You can develop apps for too many platforms and even platforms that should be a single target are fragmented. Perhaps the best solution is to look to the single big platform - the web. Google's web app model is interesting but it hasn't really caught the imagination. Web app is still synonymous with web page and what you can do with a web page seems limited.
Now Mozilla labs is trying to free the web app from the web page mentality. Its latest milestone release of the Web Application Project spells it out clearly:
Web Apps are applications that run on any device, and can be distributed through any store or directly by the developer.
Notice the "any device" - this is the whole point.
If you want to follow what Mozilla is proposing check out the video below and take a look at the gallery.
The important point is that as well as HTML5 and other new technologies Mozilla is working on how to create installable web apps. To see this in action take a look at the App Directory and the Demo Dashboard that is use to control the apps.
Of course web apps have their fragmentation problem in the form of different and slightly incompatible browsers. Currently this is a real problem but as browsers converge towards HTML5 it should improve. To make its vision of web apps running on the most common browsers a reality Mozilla has a Web App extension for FireFox and Chrome - no news of one for IE however.
Only time will tell if this particular incarnation of the web app will be more successful than say Chrome web apps or some other flavour of web app but it is a good direction to go in.