Web applications are universal applications. The run on any device. They use standard technology that works on desktop PCs, smartphones, and tablets. They can be installed on devices automatically when users authorize their devices, and are personalized so that users keep their preferences and data with them wherever they go.
Mozilla-provided products to support Web Applications
The Gecko WebRT: The Best Runtime for Applications
Mozilla will provide the best runtime for HTML5 applications. It will have the richest set of APIs, the best user experience of navigating and running applications, and the safest and easiest-to-use user controls. It will communicate with the application cloud to keep the user's application choices always up-to-date.
On desktop operating systems, applications will run as first-class applications, with their own icons, launcher, place in the taskbar/dock, and menus. On mobile operating systems, web applications will run full screen, with rich user interactions (touch, orientation, motion) and access to device APIs. On Boot to Gecko-powered devices, the entire user-facing operating system is powered by HTML5.
- The Web Runtime
- Mozilla's WebAPI project
- Boot to Gecko
- mozilla.dev.security group for discussions of WebAPI security
The Mozilla Application Marketplace: The Most Complete, Trusted Directory of Web Apps
Mozilla operates an Application Marketplace, which is a safe, fast, fun place for users to find web applications, and for developers to reach their customers. It is a reference implementation for a web application store, which developers can download and set up on their own domains. It is implemented as a web application, and is easily reachable from the Firefox browser or from any other web browser on mobile or desktop. It understands the characteristics of major web browser platforms and helps users configure their devices to get the best experience.
The Marketplace is a payment processor, providing a place for developers to list their applications and for users to purchase them. It also supports in-app purchasing (by itself being an application), allowing developers to offer digital goods to their users after install. The Marketplace also allows developers to list applications that are free, or that are sold by the developer on their own site.
The Marketplace understands the complexity of delivering web applications to multiple platforms. It provides a features-and-capabilities system that shows users apps that can run on their platform, and suggests available platforms for the user's device if a more capable platform could provide a better experience.
- The Mozilla Marketplace wiki page
Apps in the Cloud
Mozilla will implement and host a generic "app cloud service, which can be freely called by any store, dashboard, or application. It provides a full implementation of the Application Client API in HTML5, and runs on any modern browser. This service can run purely locally (with no user login), or can store all of the user's applications on the server, for access across all of a user's devices. This service is visible to users through an easy-to-use "application dashboard", which always has their applications ready for use.
This service will store the user's applications and any receipts needed for proof-of-purchase; in the future it may also include per-application storage for user data, allowing applications to give users a consistent experience across devices.
The BrowserID protocol and persona.org service
Mozilla has proposed a decentralized identity system that allows applications to verify a user's identity, and operates a high-availability implementation of the identity system at persona.org. Applications can use this system to perform easy, secure authentication of users.
Standardization and API Development to Support Applications
Mozilla provides APIs, and works with other browser vendors to define standards, that enhance the web application ecosystem
Standard Device APIs
The WebAPI project is defining many device APIs and proposing them as standards to the W3C.
- WebAPI wiki root
- Application The application manifest definition used by Gecko-based applications
- The Web Client Application API used to install applications, and to introspect on installation metadata.
Web Application Receipts
Mozilla proposes a standard web application receipt format, to allow proof-of-purchase claims to travel from stores to applications using user-centric storage. This allows users to log into a new device and receive all their applications, including paid content, with no additional steps required.