MozCampEU2012/Opening Up the Mobile Web for Firefox

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Overview of Session

Title of Session: Hands-on: Opening Up the Mobile Web for Firefox



  • Jason Smith
  • Lawrence Mandel

Are you paid or volunteer staff?: Paid

Area of Contribution (Team Name): Mobile Web Compatibility and Evangelism

How are you currently involved with the community?:

  • Jason - Testday management by moderating some QA test days and ran a couple of them for apps, answering initial inquires for the QA department on the contribute mailing list, helping keep a core contributor on apps involved by helping remove blockers he hits as needed, and participating and providing input into QA community discussions.
  • Lawrence - Mobile Web compatibility project manager, creator of report, moderator of compatibility mailing list, works with developer engagement and Mozilla pr to get information out to contributors

Location of Work (where do you reside?):

  • Jason - Mountain View, CA
  • Lawrence - Toronto, ON, Canada

Talk Length (please choose between 30, 60, 90, 120 minutes): 60 minutes


Here at Mozilla we are working tirelessly on two mobile efforts: the revamped Firefox for Android and Firefox OS, a mobile phone that’s powered by the Web. With both of these efforts Mozilla controls only part of the user experience – delivering the products. The other part of the user experience is controlled by the mobile Web content that is available. Sadly, the state of the mobile Web is not one of standards compliance but one of Webkit specific functionality. This is not surprising as the default browsers on the iPhone and on Android devices are both built on the Webkit rendering engine. Developers have simply been conditioned to code for the Webkit based browsers on these platforms. This poses a significant problem for browsers like Firefox, Opera, and, believe it or not, Internet Explorer that use different rendering engines (Gecko, Presto, and Trident respectively) resulting in top sites returning desktop content, inferior mobile sites, or sites with broken layout and functionality.

In this session we review the issues that exist due to the Webkit specific nature of the mobile Web. We then discuss the impact of these issues on Firefox for Android and Firefox OS, tactics that we have underway to combat these issues and get you hands on helping us open up the mobile Web!

This session will be broke into two distinct parts:

  • 15 minute overview of the mobile Web compatibility problem, tactics to combat it, and details on how you can help the fight
  • 45 minute hands-on workshop that teaches you how to analyze a site on Firefox for Android and how to contact the site author with a problem report

The hands-on workshop will include the following two exercises:

How your session furthers the MozCamp Goals (

This session furthers the Firefox for Android, Firefox OS, and Grow Mozilla goals:

  • For Firefox for Android and Firefox OS, this session focuses on a key factor to the success of these projects - the delivery of good mobile content to these platforms - that is out of the hands of the engineering team.
  • For Grow Mozilla, this session provides a introductory workshop to build the skills of the community and engage them in this important effort. Moreover, we NEED the community's help to be successful.

Expected Outcome or Deliverable:

  • Mozillians will be able to articulate the problems with a Webkit centric mobile Web and how the problems impact Firefox for Android and Firefox OS.
  • Mozillians will have hands-on experience testing mobile Web sites for compatibility issues and communicating problems to site authors.

Desired Audience Type or Skill-set: This is an introductory session. Basic knowledge of Web technologies will be beneficial but is not required. If you are interested in testing Web compatibility for Firefox for Android and Firefox OS or evangelizing best practices to open up the mobile Web, this session is for you.

Equipment Needs (Video projector already included):

  • Mozillians attending this session should bring
    • if you have one, an Android Phone for testing
    • a laptop for filing and reporting bugs