Firefox Gets A Social API - Why?
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The latest beta of Firefox has a new facility that might puzzle many. The social API allows developers to integrate social networks into the browser. The real question is why is this part of the remit of a browser at all?

There are many who think that Mozilla spreads its development efforts too thinly. There are too many Mozilla projects and APIs that never really get very far. The Social API might be another of these failed attempts, but at the moment it has a high profile as it is part  of the latest beta, i.e Firefox 17. It is being likened to OpenSearch API but the similarity is very tenuous.

 

The API works via the Social API sidebar which lets users interact with services such as Facebook. As the Firefox blog says:

"..it will be easy for you to keep up with friends and family anywhere you go on the Web without having to open a new Web page or switch between tabs. You can stay connected to your favorite social network even while you are surfing the Web, watching a video or playing a game."

Currently it isn't clear which social networks are supported, but the intention is to support multiple providers. The documentation suggests that the beta will support Facebook Messenger. The interaction with the service appears to be via a separate thread - a social worker thread - that is implemented in the style of a web worker. The new thread is responsible for receiving push notifications from the server and adding them to the sidebar/share widget.

 

firefoxsocial1

 

Currently the API is not a standard, but Mozilla states its intention to get it turned into one.

The main opportunities here are to provide new social services that can be interfaced to the Social API sidebar. There is also a new DOM object, MozSocial, which allows you to control the social media providers panel.

What seems to be interesting about the Social API is not that it give programmers ways to interact with existing social networks - it isn't even clear that it does. It seems to offer a chance to set up new services and have them supported by Firefox. Could this be a way of getting started in a market dominated by Facebook and Google+?

The strange truth is that if Facebook and Google simply ignore the API, then it will probably just whither. But if they do support it, they provide ways for startups to get into their territory.

 firefoxsocial2

 


blog comments powered by Disqus

 

To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, install the I Programmer Toolbar, subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Linkedin,  or sign up for our weekly newsletter.

 

Banner


StreetPong - Makes Waiting For Traffic Fun
13/12/2014

If you get bored waiting for the lights to change so you can cross the road at pedestrian crossings, technology may have a solution for you.



Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor Of Typing
23/11/2014

It seems incredible that in the 21st century schools are still teaching children to scratch marks on paper. Well in Finland they are taking a step in the direction of the future by giving up teaching  [ ... ]


More News

 

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 October 2012 )
 
 

   
RSS feed of news items only
I Programmer News
Copyright © 2014 i-programmer.info. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.