Tag Archives: Firefox

OSIM 2009

Yesterday I spoke at Open Source in Mobile USA 2009 (OSiM) . The theme of my talk was really that that web’s the platform of choice in mobile, and that it distills the riotous assembly of choices for mobile development (J2ME, Java SE. BREW, Objective C, to name a few) to web development in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Device APIs are thus really web APIs exposed to JavaScript; Geolocation is currently the prime use case. I also discussed our unique Mozilla modus operandi, which is often an exercise in structured, beautifully productive chaos.

Of course, mobile Firefox (Fennec) isn’t available on many devices, and we’ve got a lot of work left to realize the vision of the web being the platform of choice on mobile. How will that manifest itself? I got plenty of questions about WebKit vs. Firefox, and ease of use of each codebase for mobile projects. Mozilla’s platform (including XUL, extensions, and XPCOM) stands as a sometimes weighty alternative to WebKit, but people love the platform with its extensibility, and that’s where the promise lies. This theme will make a brief reappearance (amongst other themes) in my panel on March 16 at SxSW 2009, in which I’m sticking a Chrome guy, a Microsoft guy, an Opera guy, and a Mozilla guy together for a panel discussion on where the web is going.

Here’s my talk at OSiM 2009, available as a PDF file:

Building the Web, One Spec at a Time

I’m admittedly being a bit glib in my title. Can innovation and advancement of the web platform occur at all, given the temporal straight jacket that standards bodies sometimes impose? There are certainly proprietary platforms that leverage the web (Flash and Silverlight) and developers do happily bivouac in them, building some fairly compelling stuff. Some even argue that these proprietary platforms push the envelope more than what the web can do by itself, given the stagnancy of standards bodies.

But let’s talk about the web platform. Stagnant, really? Innovation at Mozilla ultimately manifests itself as innovation for the web platform. Let’s leave the intricacies of the standards process for another discussion — it isn’t ideal, and big questions about consortia (like W3C and ECMA) are probably valid ones. Great ideas are vetted for interoperability in forums such as the WHATWG, and the W3C’s WebApps WG, and we browser vendors deliver as rapidly as feasible on implementations (some are slower than others — you know who you are). Both IE8 Beta and Firefox 3 now support postMessage, for example, so talk of AJAX methodologies being stagnant ought to be revisited. And support of Canvas2D in browsers such as Opera, Safari, and Firefox results in stellar innovations such as processing.js, which — any “open platform” chauvinism on my part notwithstanding — gives Flash a royal run for its money.

Mozilla’s involvement in standards encompasses enhancements to JavaScript, graphics, and APIs for new capabilities. Below is a breakdown of the work that will eventually be a part of the web platform. Don’t stop and stare for too long — there is nothing stagnating here :-)

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He’s Gone Pink

Taboca (aka Marcio Galli aka Syncope) e-mailed a bunch of us with characteristic gusto about his Pink Paula Theme, “just in time for Valentine’s Day.” Hah! In an act of romance and impromptu bravado, our favorite Brazilian gifted his girlfriend Paula a pink theme for Firefox, all her own. When Firefox 2.0 shipped, she obliged him to tweak the skin to work with the latest release, and then he decided to release his work to the masses. Roses are red …

Honestly, this made my day. Taboca’s also behind CCPhotos, part of his master plan of digitizing the known (Cartesian) world. Ah, life, life, life.