Developing for Mobile Devices – The Mozilla Way

As you might have heard, Mozilla is working on a mobile browser (codenamed Fennec). If you are interested in Mozilla and mobile, I’d encourage you to start following the project. Besides the just plain awesome idea of a Firefox browser running on mobile devices, there are other reasons I like the project.

Fennec is using XULRunner to power the application. The same XULRunner that is already available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Longtime XULRunner fans should be happy to hear of a Mozilla project building directly on XULRunner. Besides the additional focus, look for improvements to the Mozilla platform related to mobile devices. Mozilla prides itself on building applications that look and feel native, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see new support and APIs for mobile devices and applications.

Fennec project documents call out Nokia’s n800/n810 (Maemo) and Windows Mobile as targeted platforms. The Maemo XULRunner builds already exist and are (almost) built nightly. Windows Mobile XULRunner builds are very close as well.

Getting XULRunner ported to mobile platforms has the obvious benefit of allowing anyone to build mobile applications using the Mozilla platform. So, if you have experience building XULRunner applications on the desktop, get ready to start exploring the world of mobile development! So if you have a supported device, start hacking! Antonio Gomes has already been doing some great work porting Prism to Maemo.

5 Comments

  1. funTomas said,

    June 20, 2008 @ 2:34 am

    No Android?

  2. Mark Finkle said,

    June 20, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

    @funThomas – Android deploys application using a Java-like bytecode system. Since XULRunner is C/C++, we would need lower level support from the Android system. Not out of the question, but not something we are targeting now.

  3. .jon said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 6:59 am

    No Linux? I dislike the browser they are using in OpenMoko. With XUL one could replace the whole GUI and write all applications as simple as XULled Ajax.

  4. Mark Finkle said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 9:26 am

    @.jon – N810 is Linux

  5. .jon said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 8:41 am

    Oh, that is good :-) Thanks for pointing that out. I thought it’d be Symbian.

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