W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-mobile@w3.org > September 2013

Re: "Closing the Gap with Native"

From: Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:01:41 +0100
To: Jose Manrique Lopez de la Fuente <jsmanrique@gmail.com>
Cc: public-web-mobile@w3.org
Message-ID: <5D65C54FD2714D949A2CBEBB5E4114DD@marcosc.com>

On Monday, September 16, 2013 at 1:17 PM, Jose Manrique Lopez de la Fuente wrote:

> That's exactly what I was asking.. could FirefoxOS be an alternative to "native apps" based market? And as you've said: it could ;)

Sure - but let's be clear: Firefox OS is a proprietary platform that leverages some aspects of the Web platform (the HTML, CSS, HTTP, and JavaScript bits). Mozilla had to introduce it's own proprietary extensions to the Web platform to make it competitive with native - but it could only do this with "packaged apps".  

Making APIs that access underlying hardware is relatively easy - which is why Firefox OS was able to get off the ground quickly and why projects like Apache Cordoba are so successful)…. but this comes with a huge caveat that is a threat to the Web: it requires centralization, marketplaces, digital signatures, and packaging to thwart malware and other security issues. Putting things in packages effectively takes applications off the Web: sure, it looks like a web app with all that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript… but without linkability and the ability to use the Web's security model… well, it just ain't the Web platform, buddy:)  

The challenge remains making these APIs available generally on the Web platform without requiring packages, centralization, whitelists, and digital signatures - AND actually making the APIs safe from attacks. That's the challenge that is before us - and it's not just a security problem, but a larger architectural problem. One that the SysApps WG is struggling with at the moment; for instance, they've canned their "runtime" spec and a few of their APIs are looking to be at risk because they can't be used without requiring a digital signature granted by some centralized authority.   

So yes, Firefox OS could be an alternative to native apps - but at the risk of fragmenting the Web further. That's not really what Mozilla wants, at least. We want to learn from Firefox OS and provide what we learn to the W3C … like with Apache Cordoba, Firefox OS should eventually converge with the Web Platform.  
> Mozilla's developers tool and FirefoxOS are a good example of what can be done in a "one web" market,

Yes, and we have a great set of tools in Firefox Nightly as well as the firefox emulator. It's a completely different take on traditional Web development tools, so I encourage people to check them out!  

(FWIW, yes, I'm biased because Mozilla pays for my lunch - but I'm not pitching here, I'm serious: the FxOS development experience is quite unique - particularly in managing remote debugging connections, launching applications, and so on … having said that, it would be interesting to see what the experience is like on iOS, Android, etc. I have no idea).  
> but it might open a new debate: mobile web vs web app .. at least, there is still web :D  

There is only one Web - hence there is no argument to be had ;)  

Kind regards,
Received on Monday, 16 September 2013 17:02:12 UTC

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