MOZILLA HAS LAUNCHED a reference prototype app that it calls an integrated development environment (IDE) to help would-be developers write apps for the Firefox web browser and operating system (OS).
WebIDE is now live in the latest nightly build of Firefox and gives users a foundation on which to start building apps.
Mozilla director of development tools Dave Camp said on the nightlies blog, "Developers tell us that they are not sure how to start app development on the Web, with so many different tools and templates that they need to download from a variety of different sources.
"We're solving that problem with WebIDE, built directly into Firefox. Instead of starting from zero we provide you with a functioning blueprint app with the click of a button."
Users who wish to try the service will need to turn on the "devtools.webide.enabled" flag in the about:config menu of the nightly build.
Apps can be fully written, compiled, filed and tested on simulated devices, and once complete they can be submitted to the Mozilla app market. Camp explained that this is just the beginning for the project.
The Firefox Remote Debugging Protocol at the heart of the WebIDE service will soon get an API and protocol adapter that will allow clients to use the Firefox Remote Debugging Protocol (FRDP) and Firefox Developer Tools regardless of rendering engine or runtime environment, with Safari and Chrome cited as the first external "targets".
With the company's Firefox OS coming late to a crowded market, it is imperative to its success that developers are attracted to write for it. However, Mozilla has abandoned OS support in the past. Last month it stopped work on the Windows 8 "Metro", er, "Modern", version of the web browser, citing a complete lack of developer interest. µ