Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

Summary: Mozilla doesn't want to be left out of the Windows 8 Metro fun.

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Mozilla has announced that it is to release a Metro-specific version of Firefox for Windows 8.

The announcement was made as part of a larger set of announcements in the company's roadmap for 2012.

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.

Thoughts?

Topics: Windows, Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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22 comments
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  • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

    AWESOMESAUCE!
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

      @Cylon Centurion Except for the fact that Metro has been roundly rejected by smartphone buyers worldwide and is probably the worst interface to come out of Redmond since the MS Bob debacle, yeah, "AWESOMESAUCE!"

      For Google and Apple that is:)
      Nathan A Smith
      • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

        @Nathan A Smith

        It has?

        I went to the Verizon store today, wanted to make sure they had a good phone for my future purchase (about a month from now). I asked him about WP, and he told me "I'd stay clear of that, I'd get an Android".

        If sales people are actively steering people away, the product doesn't matter.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

        @Michael Alan Goff The salesman was giving you good advice. In other news, your anecdote is pretty much worth the price I just paid to read it.
        Nathan A Smith
      • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

        @Nathan A Smith

        How is it good advice? I have an Android Tablet, it's decent. I don't really care if it goes any higher than ICS. If I am going to be stuck with this phone for 2 yrs, I don't want to get 1 update max.

        As for my story... that is pretty much what happens constantly.

        But I suppose you've used it, given it a chance, and disliked it.

        By the way, I ended up going to Best Buy mobile. I'm definitely getting a WP7 device. Android is all well and good, but the fact is that WP7 is just smoother. It's smoother on... inferior hardware. Just think about that for a moment.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

        @Michael Alan Goff

        "Android is all well and good, but the fact is that WP7 is just smoother. It's smoother on... inferior hardware. Just think about that for a moment."

        I have a Nexus S running ICS and an HD7 running Windows Phone 7. They are both very smooth. It's close enough to not be a concern either way. For the things that do matter such as app availability, built-in navigation, over-all pleasure of using the OS, Ice Cream Sandwich stomps Mango into the ground. Period. But if you want a windows phone, more power to ya.
        Nathan A Smith
      • The Lumia 800 is selling at 'iPhone levels' in many EU markets

        @ Nathan A Smith

        It's still early days, but in several EU markets, the Nokia Lumia 800 is selling at levels similar to the iPhone. That's partly why most analysts predict that Windows Phone will overtake the iPhone within the next couple of years. Catching up with Android is a much bigger challenge, and it's too early to say if Microsoft/Nokia can do that.
        WilErz
      • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

        @Nathan A Smith

        If Michael Alan Goff is looking for a WP, then the Verizon rep has every right to show him what Michael wants to see. Also, I have seen no evidence of WP's UI being rejected. In fact, I often see it praised on tech blogs, and it won a design award just the other week if I recall.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

      @Cylon Centurion

      I'm afraid FF won't pass the first code evaluation for the app store. Do you really want a slow, buggy browser to compete with IE10 configured for ARM or IE10 on the desktop?

      Afraid the end of FF is coming.
      tonymcs@...
    • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

      @ Adrian: I suggest you try using Firefox Mobile on Android before making silly statements that Firefox is bloated. I suspect it will work a lot like this.

      Where's Firefox Mobile for Windows Phone?
      bradavon
  • Are they ready to fix their existing versions as well?

    Chrome is a far more stable version compared to this Firefox thing.
    LBiege
  • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

    The only feature it needs is to run Flash
    nanderto
  • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

    'South Park' did their bit on 'Metro-Sexual' (read - 'specific') several years ago (watch the re-runs). I predict that Win 8 will meet a similar fate. In the meantime, while nature runs its' course, Mozilla may be all that assists us in maintaining our sanity, or whatever.....
    Regulus
  • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

    What? Bloated, dense? The Firefox UI has been heavily streamlined for a couple years now. It's no more "bloated" than Chrome. You have the option to install a ton of addons to the point where it hurts performance, but you don't have to. Moreover, Firefox for Android clearly demonstrates that Mozilla can modify their browser to fit a touch-first mobile platform.
    rorrr
    • RE: Mozilla plans Metro-specific Firefox for Windows 8

      @rorrr
      What does FireFox do that other browsers don't. Can't think of anything. Thus, I can't understand how one could call it bloated.
      x I'm tc
  • So is this Firefox for WOA?

    I can't imagine desktop users being enamored by a fullscreen "touch-centric" browser. Not least because I don't know any desktop users who even own a touch-screen.
    Zogg
    • You need to get out more, and meet people other than your close family

      members, because, there are probably hundreds of millions of people who do have desktops and also have smartphones, or at least touch-friendly devices.
      adornoe
      • I specifically said "Desktop users".

        @adornoe
        And no, I still haven't met anyone who has a touch-screen [i][b]desktop[/b][/i] system.
        Zogg
      • Zogg:You didn't exactly communicate what you meant in the first place, but,

        there are still millions of "desktop users" who do own a "touch screen", even if it's not part of the desktop configuration.

        BTW, I believe that there will be many millions of people who will be glad to have touch screens for their desktops, including for their browsing.
        adornoe
      • Your terrible reading comprehension aside,

        @adornoe
        [i]"I believe that there will be many millions of people who will be glad to have touch screens for their desktops, including for their browsing."[/i]

        And I don't, because of the terrible ergonomics involved:
        http : //catb.org /jargon /html /G /gorilla-arm.html

        "The side-effect that destroyed touch-screens as a mainstream input technology despite a promising start in the early 1980s. It seems the designers of all those spiffy touch-menu systems failed to notice that humans aren't designed to hold their arms in front of their faces making small motions."
        Zogg