Mozilla has announced that it is to release a Metro-specific version of Firefox for Windows 8.
There's not an awful lot of information, but what's there makes interesting reading.
- The goal is a new Gecko based browser built for and integrated with the Metro environment. This will require a new Firefox front end and system integration points.
- Firefox on Metro will be full screen and focused on touch interactions.
- The browser will bring all of the Gecko capabilities to this new environment. Mozilla hope that the browser will run as a medium integrity app so that the win32 Firefox Gecko libraries can be accessed to avoiding a port to the new WinRT API for the bulk of the code.
- The browser will feature an Appbar that will house common navigation controls (back, reload, etc.,) the Awesomebar, and some form of tabs.
- It will support three "snap" states - full screen, ~1/6th screen and ~5/6th screen depending on how the user "docks" two full screen apps.
Mozilla hopes to have a proof of concept ready for the second quarter of 2012, and alpha and beta releases are expected to be made available in the second half of 2012.
I'll be interested in seeing what effect this transition to Metro has on Firefox. The browser has over the years become bloated and feature heavy and it's hard to see how Mozilla can put all that into a Metro app that's designed for a touch interface. The Firefox UI is currently very dense and I'll be interested in seeing how Mozilla plans to transition that into an app.