Mozilla's Web App Marketplace Open to Developers

Another big step towards the web app marketplace opening up for everyone

By on February 29th, 2012 09:43 GMT

Mozilla's drive to build a device and platform agnostic market place for apps is taking shape. It's been working on it for a while and has now announced that it is taking app submissions for the Mozilla Marketplace which is slated to go live sometime later this year.

For now, developers can secure their spot, familiarize themselves with the environment and continue testing their apps for when the Marketplace debuts for regular users.

"The Mozilla Marketplace is now open for developer app submissions. That means you can secure your app’s name and place in the Marketplace in preparation for the consumer launch later this year," Mozilla announced.

Things are still early for Mozilla, but there is great momentum for the marketplace but also for Boot2Gecko, the web-only operating system Mozilla is working on.

The one thing that differentiates the Marketplace and Boot2Gecko, unsurprisingly since they come from Mozilla, a quintessentially web company, is that apps built for them will use strictly standard web technologies, specifically, HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

In Mozilla's vision, one that is taking shape, the app layout and functionality will be handled by HTML5, the look and feel by CSS3, and the logic by JavaScript.

There are plenty of advantages to this approach. For one, there are a lot more developers that are familiar or well versed in these technologies than they are in other programming languages.

The perfect example of this is the Chrome Web Store which is brimming with apps and extensions all built with web technologies. Mozilla itself moved away from XUL and its old add-on APIs to the Jetpack set of APIs for extensions, built for web technologies.

That said, the apps in the Mozilla Marketplace will be more than extensions or the type of web apps you'd see in the Chrome Web Store. There will be plenty of those of course, converting a well-built website into an app to be installed locally shouldn't be much of a problem.

But Mozilla is working on a set of APIs which will enable apps built for the web to access functionality and features which have been only available to native apps, such as sensors or the dialer on a phone, or things like a camera or microphone on a laptop.

The focus though, for now, is on the mobile front, in particular with Boot 2 Gecko. But the app platform and the Marketplace aim to be as widely available as possible and this means desktops and laptops too. In fact, there already is a Firefox add-on for the Mozilla Marketplace.

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