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Mozilla unveils Firefox Web Apps

Goes head to head with Google
Fri Mar 04 2011, 11:49

OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE OUTFIT Mozilla has unveiled the first developer release of its web applications project.

Mozilla is designing its Web Apps so that applications can run on Firefox browsers on desktops, tablets and smartphones. The move follows a similar one by Google through its Chrome Web Store.

However unlike Google's Chrome app store, Mozilla has gone a step further allowing Chrome users to run its Web Apps through the release of a plug-in. It also allows developers to create their own app stores or publish directly to users.

Applications can be built using HTML5 and Javascript, with Mozilla releasing various application programmable interfaces to get developers started.

Mozilla says that in the coming weeks it will produce a "deeply integrated in-browser experience" for the location and installation of Web Apps. Software to allow synchronisation of applications with mobile devices and provide native web browser and OS integration will also be developed.

Although it's not ready for prime time, Mozilla's Web Apps effort comes at a time when it is facing significant competition from Google's Chrome. With Mozilla recently releasing its final beta of Firefox 4, it's not certain whether Web Apps will make it into the first Firefox 4 production release.

Mozilla's attempt at creating a web browser application store doesn't sound like it's too far off the mark, however its biggest problem is that, unlike Chrome, Firefox isn't the default web browser on Android smartphones.

Until Mozilla figures out an aggressive strategy to get its web browser into the hands of Android smartphone users, apps developers might find developing for Chrome more profitable. µ


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