Firefox Aurora Marketplace for Android available now

Today, Mozilla announced the Firefox Aurora Marketplace release. We’re hoping that Aurora users, our awesome early adopters, will go experience the Firefox Marketplace on their Android phones and let us know what they think.

Our goal is to collect as much real-life feedback as possible about the Marketplaceā€™s design, usability, performance, reliability, and content. Feedback from early adopters helps us enhance the quality of the Marketplace before it is released to larger audiences.

The developers we’ve talked to so far are excited to be listed in the Firefox Marketplace when it opens. They’re creating great app experiences with the Web technologies they’ve already mastered. They’re getting timely and thoughtful critiques from our Marketplace app reviewers.

In addition to being a cool site, Firefox Marketplace also offers APIs for app submission, payments, and app discovery. Like everything Mozilla does, this ecosystem is always open — users have choices and developers have control over their content, functionality and distribution.

The Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) and the DevHub contain extensive documentation, FAQs and emulation tools to help you get started building your App.

We need your feedback, and we need your Apps! Get Firefox Aurora for Android, learn about the Marketplace, and post your Apps to the Firefox Marketplace.

keep rockin’ the free web,
-Bill


8 comments

  1. Kevin Galligan

    I run an Android dev shop. As of today, HTML5 app solutions are generally not great, but there’s the feeling that eventually it’ll get there. We’ve done some work porting HTML5 apps from iOS, and its been mostly miserable due to minor UI/UX incompatibilities. I’ve been watching the dev of Firefox OS and love the look, but thought it would be quite a while before we jumped into anything with it.

    However. I just tried out the marketplace. Had a thought. I generally advise against fully HTML5 for app dev due to the above mentioned issues. I have theories about why HTML5 isn’t really taking off on mobile

    http://touchlabblog.tumblr.com/post/26438566222/html5-taking-over-the-app-world

    although possibly a little on the conspiracy side, I think if Apple/Google wanted HTML5 as a solid option, it would be.

    The thought. If your runtime was available to embed in an app, it would reduce the risk of developing HTML5 apps. Say an HTML5 project on Android winds up taking WAY longer than planned due to minor incompatibilities. Having access to the FF runtime would be like a safety net. It would add quite a bit to the download size, but presumably would operate smoother.

    The summary, it would be easier to deploy not only the Firefox market, and Firefox OS if it gets traction, but also to Android and iOS markets. A reasonable cross platform solution.

    Also, one of the big issues with cross platform is that the output generally looks like one or the other platforms UI design, or some horrible middle. I’ve been advocating for doing “something else”. If you’re going to go multi-platform with one app, there should be a multi-platform design guideline that doesn’t attempt to mimic either one. It would seem like the Firefox OS design standards, judging from the Firefox OS renders I’ve seen, would slot in there nicely.

    The big apps (Foursquare, etc) wouldn’t bite, but there’s a huge middle range that would take the trade off of larger download to spare extra development effort.

    Anyway, I dig it.

    October 18th, 2012 at 23:59

    1. David Mulder

      Not possible on iOS of course due to Apple rules, you’re right that apple doesn’t want HTML5 apps to work great, but for google it’s the future, as it safes *and* earns them a lot of money.

      October 19th, 2012 at 05:57

    2. groovecoder

      Take a look at http://x-tags.org for a way to do multi-platform UI components.

      October 20th, 2012 at 07:03

  2. Kevin Galligan

    I would have assumed Android was better with HTML5 support, but that seems to not be the case. We had major problems better the different versions. Not “crashy” problems. Little UI stuff, but it was basically unending. Whack-a-mole type of thing.

    If not allowed by Apple, that does put a major kink in it. Real apps need serious data storage and whatnot, and it looks like the IndexedDb thing is only supported by Firefox (mobile). I think it’ll seriously be a while before HTML5 is generally viable. See how it goes.

    October 19th, 2012 at 08:38

    1. Daniel Buchner

      In your comment you cite the most significant issue you faced when developing an HTML5 web app was “UI Whack-a-mole” – to that end, Mozilla has been developing a set of HTML Custom Elements using X-Tag, the W3 Custom Elements “polywrap”. This officially supported set of custom elements will be cross-browser tested (browsers with app-ready levels of HTML5/CSS support – Firefox Mobile, Chrome Mobile, iOS Safari 5+, and desktop equivalents) to ensure they maintain consistent render/functional quality. The custom elements we are creating are meant free developers from the 1000 papercuts and mole-whacking that often results when developing a single HTML5 web app intended to run on many different browsers with incongruent levels of HTML, CSS, and JS API coverage.

      October 19th, 2012 at 15:40

  3. Kumar McMillan

    Hi Kevin. Offering an embeddable Firefox Android view is a most excellent idea and it’s definitely on our radar. We had to do some refactoring to make that happen and that landed here https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=753102 I’m not sure what the next bugs are blocking it from happening but I know we are getting close!

    As for Apple, yeah, they have been pretty strict about not allowing non-webkit browser engines into their app store unfortunately.

    Despite not having an embeddable Firefox web view for Android I don’t think that should prevent one from building the average app in HTML5. In other words: webkit is pretty good.

    October 19th, 2012 at 14:27

  4. Brett Zamir

    If the apps are written in HTML5, why does there appear to be no way to view the source code? Could this be added? If it is indeed not possible to view source code, I feel this would be a very scary move as it may facilitate moving away from the web where source code has been traditionally viewable, manipulable, and an object for study.

    What about running apps within the browser? How about showing them as options on creation of a new browser tab (again, preferably leading to an in-browser, manipulable version)? Yes, I know one can currently pin a site as an app which is great, but this doesn’t involve the ability to condition it on a purchase, to allow the site to prompt the user to store their app as such, etc. I’d think this API could also automate some of the cache-manifest directives, esp. if the user never needed to go online.

    October 23rd, 2012 at 19:50

  5. Android Phones

    How many apps are there in the Firefox Aurora Marketplace as of today?

    December 5th, 2012 at 20:34

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