Mozilla Labs Apps Developer Preview and documentation are here!

The Mozilla Labs Apps project


The Mozilla Labs Apps project enters a new phase with today’s launch of the Apps Developer Preview and App Development documentation in the Apps Developer Community on MDN.

The tools and resources in the MDN Apps Developer Community documentation enable developers to create rich, cross-platform and cross-device app experiences using web standards and open technologies such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. The Mozilla Labs Apps project also aims to create a rich distributed ecosystem of app stores including a Mozilla HTML5 app marketplace to launch in 2012.

To get started, sign up for the Mozilla Labs Apps Developer Preview, where you can test the features of the marketplace app-submission and sale process. The preview is limited to 3,000 developers on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to reserve your spot now.

Visit to register now.

If you are a Firefox user, please install the Mozilla Labs App Runtime Add-on, and if you are an Android user, please install the Mozilla Labs App Runtime application before you sign up for the Developer Preview. If you currently do not use Firefox or Android, go directly to the Apps Developer Preview.

Your installed HTML5 apps can be found at

Why is Mozilla focusing on apps?


As part of Mozilla’s mission to make the web better we believe that apps should be available on any modern web-connected device, operating system or browser, allowing billions of people worldwide to use and interact with apps.

Today, apps are tied to closed ecosystems. Apps also can’t be used across all devices; data within apps is silo-ed and inaccessible to other apps or Web services; and user choice is limited and undervalued.

In an open ecosystem, developers should have the ability to build apps using open Web technologies and resources. They should then be able to distribute and sell those apps with the reach, flexibility and choice that the Web provides.

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  1. LorenzoC wrote on December 13th, 2011 at 10:35:

    Mozilla has focused on several things before to abandon them after a while. The effort of providing a platform to develop software is nothing new for Mozilla, it has just moved to the mobile/cloud arena after it became a popular trend.
    Now the question is if “apps” are worth it or they are just useless gadgets.

    1. Robert Nyman [Mozilla] wrote on December 14th, 2011 at 13:41:

      I understand what you are saying.

      Mozilla believes that offering web apps from an open app store, or hosting them on your own web site in the future, is a very important part in our mission to keep the web open and available for everyone.

      All I can say is that I definitely hope it is worth it!

    2. pd wrote on February 3rd, 2012 at 06:59:

      I’d have to agree with LorenzoC wholeheartedly. In addition, if Mozilla is trying to keep the web open, why does their “app” implementation depend on downloading a runtime!? Surely support for whatever this apps thing is should be built into Firefox? How is this different to XULRunner which Mozilla abandoned? After all, the article states “cross-platform and cross-device”. Wouldn’t that include desktops? So is Mozilla just wrapping up a new (I presume, it could just be XULRunner again) runtime and some marketing fluff (“app”) with perhaps (yet another?) a packaging, hosting and monetization mechanism?

      Really, how is this different from adding “buy” to “donate” and “app” to the “add-on” within AMO? Why isn’t this ‘runtime’ just an expansion of Jetpack?

      If most of the above is true, this is just another of Mozilla’s ongoing rapid baulks in direction, all be it with the admirably lofty and righteous goal of openness.

      If only someone would admit that! I guess that’s too much like straight-talking for even an independent org like Mozilla.

      Oh well, pardon my cynicism. I’m all in favour of anything that destroys the walled garden approach or crApple and the like.

  2. aaaaaaarggggghhhhhh wrote on December 13th, 2011 at 20:08:

    why login? i dont see apps… are you stupid?

    1. Robert Nyman [Mozilla] wrote on December 14th, 2011 at 13:38:

      You could express your opinions in a more respectful way.
      The log in is there to ensure that apps and content being uploaded can be connected to a certain user, and that’s why we are asking for it.

  3. Jos Hirth wrote on December 14th, 2011 at 14:46:

    What are the differences between this and widgets[1]?

    What’s wrong with widgets and why wasn’t it possible to fix those issues?


    1. Robert Nyman [Mozilla] wrote on December 15th, 2011 at 01:32:

      I believe Web Apps are more focused on becoming full-fledged apps no matter the operating system and device, which seems to be bigger than the scope of widgets.

  4. Jeremy Mall wrote on December 14th, 2011 at 23:29:

    Mozilla is really dynamic. They create add-ons, plugins, applications, etc. I am really like their effort in making mozilla a user-friendly browser. I can say mozilla web applications maybe worth it to all users.

    1. Robert Nyman [Mozilla] wrote on December 15th, 2011 at 03:34:


  5. Russell Krupke wrote on December 15th, 2011 at 07:48:

    Instead of adopting an existing App format, whether it be W3C Widgets (used by Opera) or Chrome’s JSON-based format, Mozilla apparently decided to create a third option. How is diverging from existing formats beneficial for the web, as it clearly creates more separation from what we have today? Or, more directly: why did you decide to introduce a third proprietary application format while you could have taken the opportunity to start discussion about a unified and standardized approach, which potentially could be shared among multiple vendors?

    1. Robert Nyman wrote on December 19th, 2011 at 06:34:

      I’ve heard discussions on this, and I believe there was some good reasoning on it, but I don’t have more information right now. I’ll try and get it for you.

      1. Erik wrote on February 2nd, 2012 at 18:20:

        Got any more information yet? :)

        1. Robert Nyman wrote on February 3rd, 2012 at 04:10:

          As I understand it, when Web Apps development started, all existing formats had parts that weren’t exactly in line with what we wanted to accomplish.

          That said, all I know is that there are discussions, and we hope to find a solution that everyone gains from.

          1. pd wrote on February 3rd, 2012 at 07:30:

            Sounds like yet another situation of “standards support” when it suits. Or as I like to call it, the Google Chrome “meh” approach to standards, as made infamous by this cartoon:


            The middle-right panel in the killer.

            Then again maybe standards support is not a boolean concept?

  6. Ibrahim wrote on December 16th, 2011 at 03:23:

    Finally ! thanks , html5 is real fun

    1. Robert Nyman wrote on December 19th, 2011 at 06:31:

      It is indeed!

  7. cris_ wrote on December 18th, 2011 at 06:51:

    hi ! how will these apps be available on every browser ? i really don’t understand the difference with add-ons, plug-ins etc.

    1. Robert Nyman wrote on December 19th, 2011 at 06:32:

      Hopefully the Apps Architecture helps in explaining that.

  8. JM wrote on December 19th, 2011 at 02:08:

    What about malware? One arguments of closed and controlled stores is that software is reviewed and checked against malware. This may even be the main reason for users to move to such solutions: escape the malware world of Windows. Linux distributions are reviewing the code of their repositories. What is your answer to this issue?

    1. Robert Nyman wrote on December 19th, 2011 at 06:37:

      That’s a valid question. In the Mozilla App Store there will naturally be all the normal precautions to deal with this, just as we do for add-ons and extensions.

      Then in the long run, companies will also have the choice to offer web apps from their own web site, and then it will be up to you if you trust that company and their products or not.

  9. Rolf wrote on February 8th, 2012 at 01:26:

    Downloading an app for the first time the user has to confirm the installation. I think in an intranet app store (checked by the server IP address 10, 192, 172) it should be possible to do it without confirmation.
    Where is the area to make proposals like this one?

  10. Neel wrote on February 12th, 2012 at 07:53:

    This is gonna be great! I’ve published an HTML5 game I wrote to the Chrome app store and I hate how proprietary it is. I’m glad Mozilla is making a “store” that works on, you know, ALL browsers. Great work!

  11. fabian wrote on June 29th, 2012 at 16:30:

    html5 is really intresting for the online/offline.
    my blog is it’ all about html5 web-apps.

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