With the release of Windows 8 widely expected to happen later this year, we have a lot to look forward to. The next version of Microsoft’s operating system is unique for its inclusion of a touch-friendly UI, called Metro, in addition to the classic Windows desktop environment that we have all gotten so used to over the years. Microsoft may have used college interns to develop sample Metro-style apps for the Windows 8 developer preview build, but you can look forward to seeing a number of triple-A third party apps at the time of Window 8’s launch. One such app will be Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.
Mozilla on Sunday published its Firefox roadmap for 2012, spilling the beans on its Firefox on Metro release plans. The open-source outfit plans to have a proof-of-concept app ready in the second quarter of 2012, with alpha and beta builds coming in the second half.
According to the Windows 8 page on Mozilla’s Wiki site, the Metro version of Firefox will be a Gecko-based browser built either in XUL, C/C++, or HTML/CSS/JS. For this purpose, Mozilla is hoping that Microsoft will allow the Metro style Firefox app “to run as a Medium integrity app so we can access all of the win32 Firefox Gecko libraries avoiding a port to the new WinRT API for the bulk of our code.”
“Firefox on Metro is a full-screen App with an Appbar that contains common navigation controls (back, reload, etc.,) the Awesomebar, and some form of tabs,” reads the Windows 8 page on the Mozilla Wiki site. “Firefox will have to support three "snap" states -- full screen, ~1/6th screen and ~5/6th screen depending on how the user "docks" two full screen apps. Our UI will need to adjust to show the most relevant content for each size.”
“In order to provide users with access to other content, other apps, and to Firefox from other content and apps, we'll need integration with the share contract, the search contract, the settings contract, the app to app picking contract, the print contract, the play to contract, and possibly a couple more. We'll be a source for some, a target for some, and both for some.”