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Mozilla Cellphones Communications The Internet Technology

WebAPI: Mozilla Proposes Open App Interface For Smartphones 62

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has an idea for how it can bridge the gap between native apps and web applications: WebAPI will be developed as a set of HTML5 APIs and deliver consistent, web-based application interfaces that can be accessed by any HTML5-capable device, specifically smartphones."
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WebAPI: Mozilla Proposes Open App Interface For Smartphones

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yay! More API sprawl! Just what we wanted!

  • by ifrag ( 984323 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @01:21PM (#37180794)
    I am disappoint. What I really want to know is how big the version number will be. Can we expect the release of WebAPI to start at 11.0?
    • Will WebAPI break my most important apps every time there's an update?

      (Seriously, fuck you, Mozilla.)
  • How we can completely cancel out any battery life improvements of the last 10 years.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      How else would you recommend working around the $300 per year* overhead cost of developing native iOS applications and the iOS application approval process? If phone makers want to diminish their products' battery life by promoting battery-inefficient application platforms, let 'em.

      * Breaks down as follows: $100 per year for the cert, $500 every 5 years for buying a MacBook Air and a copy of Windows to run in VirtualBox instead of a Windows laptop, and $250 every 2.5 years for an iPod touch on which to t

      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        If you can't afford $300 a year then you probably should choose a different job than a professional programmer. $300 is less than a days pay for any professional programmer.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          I know professional programmers working for less than $80k. Protip: Not all of the worlds programmers live in the first world.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yeah, some of them live in America.

          • by Desler ( 1608317 )

            Yes, but even those programmers in the second and third world are more than capable of paying $300 a year (which is mostly inflated since you add a bunch of artificial costs that are not absolutely necessity for iOS development) for the development tools. Hell you'll pay more than for Android development since you'll be forced to buy way more than just a single device to check compatibility of your apps.

            • (which is mostly inflated since you add a bunch of artificial costs that are not absolutely necessity for iOS development)

              What might those artificial costs be? The $99 per year for a certificate is unavoidable outside the underground jailbreak-only ecosystem. People have criticized me for adding the price of a Mac, claiming that someone would have bought a computer anyway. So instead, I added the rough difference in price between a MacBook Air and a Windows 7 Home Premium license on the one hand and what someone would have bought otherwise (a midrange laptop that comes with Windows 7 Home Premium) on the other hand.

        • $300 is less than a days pay for any professional programmer.

          Not all people are in a financial position to move to a place with a high concentration of employers willing to pay a professional programmer $300 per day. They have to start it as a hobby and build it up into a profession in order to build a portfolio to show to employers. They also need some source of income on which to relocate and live while seeking a job, and that source of income might not pay $300 per day.

        • $300 is less than a days pay for any professional programmer.

          I'm living in the wrong country.

        • Well, I live in a major metropolitan area. My day rate is $500 USD.

          But I don't work every day.... so yeah, dropping 400 bucks randomly on some iDevice is something I think twice about.
  • over the death of webOS again.

    Not that this is overlap, but wasn't part of the point of webOS that the UIs were HTML, thus streamlining the presentation layer?

    • Even if only 10% of the zombie touchpads in the field continue to run webOS, the loyal user base will continue to develop for it. Perhaps they are wrong or misguided...but people still buy Morgan cars and build wooden sailboats. And I, wierdo that I am, Bluetooth tether a Pre to an Android tablet and can run the same HTML5 on both.
  • Yeah, I'm sure Apple will get right onto that.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Totally. We are still fighting Apple to support things like HTML5. Oh wait...

      • Yes, Apple's excellent HTML 5 support enables web apps to simply install an icon on the iPhone home screen and behave like real apps.

        Oh, wait...

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:00PM (#37181436)

      They already have one - HTML5 apps are already a feature of iOS. They predate the App Store, even.

      • HTML 5 apps can be first-class apps on the phone with icons and everything, and don't require bundling and placing in the app store, eh?

        No, didn't think so.

        • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

          They can have icons and everything, and can be launched right from your home screen.

          There's currently a speed discrepancy between apps launched this way and the exact same app navigated to from within Safari due to an older version of Webkit being used from the home-screen-launched version, due to security and sandboxing complexity (the new version is faster, but would create a security problem without a proper sandbox), but this is being fixed in iOS5.

          And no, you don't have to have them bundled with the ph

    • by scuba0 ( 950343 )
      Well like the Swedish company called Ericsson who has been working on technology like this for about or over a year. See Ericsson Labs and [] for mor information on this.

      For those that do not know of Ericsson, they are very large within telecom infrastructure, and if they still do, also owns the Ericsson part in phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson.)
  • Man, Mozilla, as a mobile web developer, I wish the best for you, but get ready for disappointment.

  • PhoneGap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How is this different than PhoneGap? If there is already a popular open source project that does this, why does Mozilla want to develop another?

    • Because of []
      (And I agree, phonegap has this covered!)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How is this different than PhoneGap? If there is already a popular open source project that does this, why does Mozilla want to develop another?

      They don't completely overlap, and they share some APIs. Here's a quick rundown:

      • Accelerometer API - Both Mozilla and PhoneGap have their own APIs. Google is trying to standardize its API via W3C.
      • Camera API / Capture API - I think Mozilla is following the HTML Media Capture spec. PhoneGap uses it's own APIs.
      • Compass API - Appears to be specific to PhoneGap.
      • Connection API - PhoneGap uses it's own API. It's unclear if Mozilla has a similar API.
      • Contacts API - Mozilla is implementing the W3C Contacts API spe
  • by FlyingGuy ( 989135 ) <flyingguy&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:34PM (#37182066)

    This will fail over time but it will fail. We can only hope it fails sooner rather then later.

    The idiocy of mixing a layout specification with code is going to open us up to more and more interesting types of viri and malware.

    Remember CORBA? It has never seen the light of day in any serious way. It WAS a great idea.

    Why have we not learned that a layout engine is most assuredly not the right tool for the job? The amount of hacks and just plain insanity you have to go through just to get thinks to work from one browser to another is starting to make lots and lots of people just go dust off their RAD tools, eg: Delphi, Power Builder, etc and just write the damn app and call it a day.

    At some point the browser will have to be so huge to support the never ending flow of committee designed API's that they will make MS-Access look like a memory efficient application.

    Applications are not documents and the browser needs to get back to doing document presentation and we need to build application processor that takes in application specifications and then runs them because trying to do both has been, is and will forever be a fucking mess.

    • I agree with your sentiment. However, when's the last time you installed a binary from a company you've never heard of? When's the last time you've visited an active website from a similarly obscure company?

      The barrier to entry for web apps is so absurdly low that many companies or projects are going to use them just because it's the only way to run code on users' computers. Given web apps are here to stay for at least a certain market segment, ask yourself if WebAPI is a good or a bad thing; that's real

      • I think that the ideal compromise might be a combination of a VM (e.g.: Java, .NET or NaCl), some object sharing/serialization protocol (like CORBA or even just JSON), a distribution system (like an app store) and some low-level APIs.

        Imagine if webpages were not made of HTML+CSS+JS+Images and a bunch of other files, but instead just code. You go to some URL, and each page is an app, that can run in its own window (or even spawn multiple windows). You wouldn't have to install anything, you just go to the
      • You don't have to take a binary, you can take pure text that is easily parsed and controlled. eg:

        objectMyMainForm : TForm
        left = 100
        top = 100
        width = 400
        height = 200
        caption = 'Application One'
        color = clBtnFace
        font.charset = DEFAULT_CHARSET
        font.color = clWindowText
        font.height = -11 = 'arial' = []
        PixelsPerInch = 96
        TextHeight = 14
        object MyButton : tbutton
        left = 10
        top = 10

  • ... WebAPI will developed ...

    Ha yes, the good old future past tense. I will liked it a lot!

  • by kangsterizer ( 1698322 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @03:03PM (#37182554)

    When I read the comments, even if its unrelated to Firefox, all the top ones are only pure trolling again Mozilla.
    Mozillhate is the new trend I guess. If you hate, you'll get karma and support!

    • You must be new here. It doesn't just end with Mozilla:

      * Chrome
      * IE
      * GNOME
      * KDE
      * iThings
      * Nintendo 3DS/Wii (to be fair, everybody does this everywhere)
      * Google+
      * Facebook

      What's hilarious though is that almost everything that the majority of Slashdot bashes over and over becomes successful (look at Firefox and Chrome usage numbers months after everyone started saying "people are jumping ship left and right"). This is all just "No Wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame" all over again.

    • I think it started with the Awesome Bar. I like the feature but some people didn't, and being told it was "awesome" just made them feel alienated, like the Moz devs were completely out of touch.

  • And of course incompatible with the previous version

  • The comments from the Mozilla haters seem pretty short-sighted and stupid.

    Apple's first SDK for the iPhone was HTML/JavaScript based. It only failed because the renderer and JavaScript engine was pretty horrid and made it hard to produce good quality apps.

    HTML5 is now pretty robust, and between PhoneGap and a UI toolkit (like Dojo Mobile) it is possible to produce good/great applications and be able to take a huge portion of code from iOS to Android to others.

    In the end, the bias in software development sh

  • It sounds like this is just a series of APIs to try and make the hardware of a mobile device available to an HTML 5 application? It would be nice for HTML 5 to have hardware acceleration, and for HTML 5 apps to be able to take advantage of GPS, accelerometer, etc data, but I don't think its the right approach. Personally, I like Adobe's approach to the problem of OS fragmentation with AIR better: create and maintain client-side run-time environments (VM's) that can execute pre-compiled code to facilitate OS

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye