tiistai 19. maaliskuuta 2013

Mozilla web apps

Today I will demonstrate the simple steps required to install Mozilla web apps on your N9. To begin, you will need Hydra WRT installed (at least version 1.3.7 that will be released in the near future - hang in there for a while longer!).

Step 1. The first step is to install the Firefox Marketplace shortcut widget. You can do this by opening the Hydra management application ("Web apps" in the launcher), then selecting the paper clip icon in the toolbar. From the shown list, pick Firefox Marketplace and hit the Install button (as shown in the screenshot below). After this, details of the Marketplace widget are shown and you must confirm the installation.

Step 1 - Installing Firefox Marketplace widget
Step 2. When the installation is complete (it really only takes a second), you can use the normal web interface of the Firefox OS Marketplace to browse it's content. Please note that you the system's default browser is not compatible with the Marketplace and the installed shortcut widget must be used to browse and install new content from the store (a "Marketplace" shortcut is created in the application launcher view during installation). To install an item from the store, simply hit the blue colored "Free" button shown on app details view. The button's text will change into a progress spinner (as shown in the screenshot below) and soon an installation confirmation view will be shown.

Step 2 - Installing content from the Marketplace

Step 3. After installing a web app, you can find a shortcut to launch it from the system's regular application launcher view. Enjoy.

Step 3 - Running the apps

Known issues and limitations:

  • Only a few web app permission requests are recognized, for any apps requesting Firefox OS specific APIs the installation will simply fail
  • Apps requiring geolocation are allowed to be installed, but geolocation is not actually provided
  • Marketplace widget shows some minor graphical errors
  • Marketplace widget crashes randomly (appears to be a webkit issue - actual installation is done by another process so there is no risk of corrupting any files)
  • Marketplace sometimes returns corrupted app manifest, which will cause the installation to fail (Marketplace bug, though it seems possible to create a work-around for this)
  • Some unsupported web app management APIs such as uninstall, check for updates, request app details and request apps installed from same origin
  • App details returned by the JavaScript API after successfully installing a web app contain a timestamp that is (slightly) different from timestamp stored to disk by Hydra
  • HTML5 offline cache and web storage are not supported (yet) 

My top-3 web app recommendations so far:

lauantai 9. maaliskuuta 2013

Next frontier in web applications

Just wanted to give you a bit of a teaser for a very special upcoming new feature for Hydra WRT. In a few weeks (a bit longer for non-pro version users),  I'm going to release a version with an experimental support for Firefox OS web apps. The nice thing about Firefox OS platform is that there is already an app store with some content available at https://marketplace.firefox.com/ and I will also be releasing a web application that makes it possible to install apps directly from the store.
Firefox marketplace app details view on N9

Installed Twitter web app running on N9