Mozilla Ubiquity: Is Mozilla building out a different kind of RIA platform?

Mozilla Ubiquity: Is Mozilla building out a different kind of RIA platform?

Summary: Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.I watched the Mozilla Ubiquity video last night and it struck a chord.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

I watched the Mozilla Ubiquity video last night and it struck a chord. The crew over at Mozilla Labs is doing some very cool, forward thinking stuff. In the process, I think they're evolving what the browser is into something more of an RIA platform. Rafe over at WebWare makes a couple of good points about Ubiquity and IE8. What's happening to web pages? It seems like they're going away and I think that's a good thing.

The web's page-based model has been slowly dying for a long time. We just don't interact with the web as pages any more. Sure there's a lot of infrastructure built up around that model but we're seeing more and more applications reside in the browser and fewer and fewer actual pages. What pages we do see are mostly related to SEO or content. So why should those static, boring pages continue to exist? Legacy? All that matters is the content on those pages. That's what's so compelling about Ubiquity. It takes those static pages, grabs the content, and allows you to do something useful with it. I'm a huge fan of Microformats and Ubiquity is kind of like Microformats and Greasemonkey on steroids. You get content when and how you want it and you can interact with it in a meaningful way.

As a developer, I think what makes Ubiquity a platform is that people are going to want to create content for it. I don't see they how they could abstract or generalize something like the Yelp example. Just like a lot of startups today are looking to create AIR applications for the desktop, I see the same phenomenon with Ubiquity. You're going to want to expose your content like that to the user. And Ubiquity seems like the closest thing we've got.

So props to the Mozilla Labs team. You're definitely pushing the envelope and I think you're doing a lot to help move the web in a good direction. The more we can abstract the data, the better, richer experiences we can build around that. For some that may be the command line, but it's not hard to see other applications popping up that would put a GUI face on the Ubiquity infrastructure.

Topic: Browser

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9 comments
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  • And this is why Mozilla is so important. MS wants to keep the standard web

    dumbed down, so you have to use MS only technologies for anything fancy. Mozilla will not let that happen!!

    But, the monetization issues are going to have to be sorted out for this. Not all sites are like Google where they figure out how to get market share first, then worry about monetizing it later.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: And this is why Mozilla is so important. MS wants to keep the standard

      Monetization is key. You've got to figure out a way for folks like Yelp (all driven by advertising) to continue to make money when they're content is being used.

      =Ryan
      ryanstewart
      • As web infrastructure gets dirt cheap, the amount that a website makes on

        each data use, can be extremely low. In fact, it will be so cheap that most will not worry about monetizing directly each and every data access. If you gain enough mind share, you will also get users visiting your site and viewing ads. If they know the data you have been accessing, they will be better able to target ads. Sites may be able to charge a subscription for some high value data, but that kills adoption and use.
        DonnieBoy
  • RE: Mozilla Ubiquity: Is Mozilla building out a different kind of RIA platform?

    Shit! This seems to be a super cool stuff!!!
    rajdyp@...
  • "page-based model has been slowly dying"

    I hope the dying procedure could speed up a little. I for one don't like it for a long time. It's useful when viewing documents but doesn't fit in a real work flow, yet you cannot turn off those annoying back / forward buttons on a browser when your web apps are running.
    LBiege
    • re: page-based model has been slowly dying

      The one big speed bump I see is the overall lack of forward thinking by designers and developers who cannot get past the idea of *pages*. Getting them to the mindset of a screen area with infinite views vs pages with links to other pages has been extremely difficult. Even the Ubiquity demo opened unnecessary pages, IMO. Composing an email or returning results from Wikipedia could use an overlay. I'm not taking away from how cool I think it is though.

      It's a design and development mindset that has to change and until folks *get it*, I don't see the page-based model dying at a faster rate.. unfortunately.
      brandonthedeveloper
  • Mozilla Ubiquity

    I would not be surprised if this (Mozilla Ubiquity) is the direction that was [b]hinted at[/b] either late last year, or early this year in comments regarding the direction that [b]Firefox 4[/b] may take. IIRC, those comments (paraphrased) implied "extending the browser into the computer (or was it desktop) and into the internet.

    We shall see.
    fatman65535
  • Forking the web.

    OK these new webpages are way cool. But they are way heavy. Are we going to have a bilateral web? One fork for computers and one fork for smartphones.
    Sagax-
  • RE: Mozilla Ubiquity: Is Mozilla building out a different kind of RIA platform?

    This appears to do two things. It makes the web harder for an amateur to build his own site, and it makes ti harder to avoid "paid for content" that serves the portal only and not the user.
    b2miller