Weekly HTML5 Apps Developer Resources, October 24th 2012

Weekly Resources for HTML5 Apps Developers



Bonus Link

If you find a link that you think should be included, please feel free to forward it to JStagner at Mozilla.com

About Joe Stagner

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  1. Jon

    I am a hobby programmer and getting really confused about html5/webrt etc. Can I produce a cross-machine, desktop app using html5/js? Can I do this now, or is this just a glint in someone’s eye? Does the end user need to have a ‘special’ form of firefox (nightly) installed? If they don’t have *any* firefox installed, will the install process include an automatic (invisible) firefox-install process within it?

    The kind of thing I was after (but it seems to be deprecated) was the way Silverlight Out-Of-Browser worked. You had your web-app, you clicked an install button, and it popped out of the browser and you could use it as a desktop app (with an optional desktop launch icon or start menu launch icon). The thing I did not like about Silverlight was you needed it installed to view the web-page, which might put off users who did not want **another** plugin for their browser.

    Ideally anyone could view and use the web-page, and if they liked it could install the program to their desktop with an invisible install of firefox (possibly with a notification that firefox was going to be installed if you plumb for the desktop app.)

    Anyway, that’s my incoherent ramble for the day. Do my questions make any sense? Does anyone know the answers?

    PS. In any response, please remember I am a self taught programmer, so I might not know all the lingo.

    November 21st, 2012 at 05:01

    1. Joe Stagner

      Hi Jon,

      With Mozilla HTML5 apps you can build an app and install it wherever the Web Runtime is installed. As of today, that means Firefox on Windows, Mac, or Android (Linux works in the nightly builds as does FirefoxOS) and the app “could” also be a web page – though making the app also work without a connection to the internet requires extra work.

      So yes, your questions make perfect sense. You want to be able to write an app that will run both inside and out of the browser. That’s where modern web development technology is going. There are still challenges, but many apps can be built using the state of the technology today.


      November 21st, 2012 at 06:39

  2. Jon

    Thanks for the reply Joe.

    I have taught myself the html5/js I need for the webpage I am going to do. Its nearly finished now.

    Do you know of any ‘Hello World’ examples that explain how to make it a desktop app. Is this what your following page explains?


    I thought it did until I read the sentence at the end: ‘It’s important to remember that, while these launchers have been created on the user’s system the application itself still exists in the cloud.’ That sentence made me think it was not actually installed on the desktop. This is where I am getting confused.

    Also you wrote in your reply above: ‘though making the app also work without a connection to the internet requires extra work.’

    Do you know of any links explaining the required steps?

    November 21st, 2012 at 17:04

  3. Joe Stagner

    Hi Jon,

    I’ll write a more detailed blog post but there are basically three things that you need to do.

    1.) Implement AppCache https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/HTML/Using_the_application_cache

    2.) Next you need to implement whatever offline storage mechanism you choose to use. I prefer IndexedDB – https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/HTML/Using_the_application_cache

    3.) Figure out how you want you app to handle the difference between when it has a network connection and when it doesn’t.

    You are probably also interested in “Packaged” HTML5 Apps – https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Apps/Packaged_apps

    Have fun !

    November 23rd, 2012 at 10:08

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