Mozilla's Open Web Apps Have Made Great Progress

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When building apps for Firefox OS, developers use modern Web tools like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS to deliver apps with near native performance on mobile devices. Now Mozilla is helping those same developers bring their Firefox OS apps to other platforms.

A while back, Mozilla introduced a new technology called Open Web Apps that would help developers bring HTML5 apps to platforms like Android, Windows and OS X. The best part was that these apps would require no additional development as Mozilla's tools would automatically convert the HTML5 app into a native app upon being downloaded to a non-Firefox OS platform.

Here's a video demo that shows how an app built for Firefox OS is automatically converted into a native app on Android, Windows and Mac OS X.

Mozilla notes that privileged apps will also seamlessly install from the Firefox OS marketplace to an Android device. Just like in the Google Play store, the app will ask for a number of permissions upon being installed. All of this is accomplished without any further code being written.

So, what about Open Web Apps on iOS? At the moment, that's not possible as Open Web Apps requires a platform that supports Gecko, Mozilla's Web rendering platform. The non-profit does not, however, that it's working with Cordova to allow Open Web Apps packaged by Cordova to run on iOS. You can read more about that here.

The above video demo may have you itching for a native app experience for your Open Web Apps, but Mozilla isn't quite ready yet. At the moment, it only supports hosted, unprivileged apps on desktops using Firefox 16 or newer, and mobile apps on Android via Mobile Firefox Aurora. Mozilla notes that the native app experience is not available on Android just yet, but it should hit Mobile Firefox Nightly in December.

[Image: Mozilla Hacks]

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