More information on Firefox for Windows 8 revealed

In February, Mozilla announced its plans to develop a version of its Firefox web browser that would run on the Metro interface in Windows 8. At the time, Mozilla indicated that making a Metro version of Firefox would be much harder than making a normal desktop version, saying, "Metro is an entirely new environment and requires a new Firefox front end and system integration points."

Now Mozilla Firefox programmer Asa Dotzler has written a post on his own blog site with some more information on Mozilla's plans for Firefox running on Windows 8 Metro. One thing that Dotzler states is that Microsoft's own Internet Explorer 10 web browser in Metro isn't a 100 percent Metro app. He states, "It is actually sort of a hybrid program that bridges both the Classic and Metro environments and is built using both the WinRT and win32 APIs."

Dotzler believes that third party web browsers such as Firefox should also be developed in the same way as IE 10 in Metro. He also hopes that Mozilla will be able to offer both the Metro version and the classic desktop version of Firefox as one download file where the browser would be installed for both versions of Windows 8's user interface. He adds, "We'll, of course, have a Metro-specific front-end that fits in with the new environment, but we will not have to deploy two completely different browsers."

As we have reported before, Mozilla hopes to have alpha and beta versions of Firefox for Windows 8 released sometime in the second half of 2012.

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Mozilla is doing it the correct way--one version for touch-based smartphones and tablets and one version for keyboard/mouse based laptops and desktops. Pity, Microsoft didn't follow the same philosophy with Windows-8.

They have truly a lot of work to do. Even the normal Fx on Win 8 Desktop Mode needs a lot of optimisations to work properly. After their last contract with Google, they got billions, so, I hope they will spend 'em well.

And they have to support the fast release cycle. Let's see how that will go. I hope we won't be getting the software with a lot of bugs.

The actual interesting information here, which for some reason you didn't include in your article, is

"In Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the browser that the user sets as the "default" for handling web pages and associated protocols may be designed to access both the Metro style experience as well as the traditional desktop experience. This type of browser is called a "Metro style enabled desktop browser". This guide describes how to create such a browser."

How does one take the time to do a write-up of a blog post and not even bother to include the most interesting part of the blog post?

Firefox for Android tablets looks a bit Metro-ish already...

Can't wait for Mozilla to release Firefox Metro in the future...

Totalaero said,
Why can't Microsoft stick with the simple .exe format and be done.

Because improving things makes sense, especially in the computing world.

FalseAgent said,

it is going to die, though. Metro apps aren't exe's.

Metro apps are a new type of MSI package I think, .app or .appx I think? It's all a nice self contained app that doesn't install things all over the OS like desktop apps like to do for no real reason.

GP007 said,

Metro apps are a new type of MSI package I think, .app or .appx I think? It's all a nice self contained app that doesn't install things all over the OS like desktop apps like to do for no real reason.


Sounds like .app in OS X, which is a package format Apple uses for all applications in OS X. One of the best features in that OS. Just a few support files, if any, are placed in a special folder outside of those (caches etc, but the location is standardized and easy to find), so besides for those, you can basically just trash the applications there to "uninstall".

I'll have no trouble MS using a similar concept to that in Windows 8, since it's a really good idea.

I thought Metro apps HAD to be downloaded from the store? How will they make a setup package that installs a Metro app? And while Microsoft is allowed to break their own rules when making Metro apps, why does Mozilla think they will be allowed to break the rules?

mrp04 said,
I thought Metro apps HAD to be downloaded from the store? How will they make a setup package that installs a Metro app? And while Microsoft is allowed to break their own rules when making Metro apps, why does Mozilla think they will be allowed to break the rules?

Well, I don't know so this is just a guess but if you know where metro apps are installed (which is all in a specific user folder and not Program Files IIRC) then when you install the desktop version of an app I don't see why it couldn't install the metro version as well? What MS could do is lock metro apps with a certificate so you couldn't install them without the store but this being Windows then people will find a way around it I'm sure.

GP007 said,

Well, I don't know so this is just a guess but if you know where metro apps are installed (which is all in a specific user folder and not Program Files IIRC) then when you install the desktop version of an app I don't see why it couldn't install the metro version as well? What MS could do is lock metro apps with a certificate so you couldn't install them without the store but this being Windows then people will find a way around it I'm sure.

Unless there is an exception Meyro apps have to be installed via the store. Doesn't make sense to have a backdoor by allowing installs directly to a directory outside of their managed environment, bypasses the certification process and totally negates the whole store concept. Mozilla is just throwing around bs as usual to see what sticks.

efjay said,

Unless there is an exception Meyro apps have to be installed via the store. Doesn't make sense to have a backdoor by allowing installs directly to a directory outside of their managed environment, bypasses the certification process and totally negates the whole store concept. Mozilla is just throwing around bs as usual to see what sticks.

I'm sure there's some type of lockdown ofc, like needing a cert from the store or the OS won't install the app etc. Maybe one or two other things, but that said there are always people who find ways around it.

Of course as far as metro apps go I don't see the problem with getting them all through the store personally.

My understanding was that it is impossible to have one download install both a desktop and metro app, just as it's impossible (unless you're Microsoft) to write a metro app that calls out to Win32 APIs. Just a couple of the weird limitations of Windows 8...

JonathanMarston said,
My understanding was that it is impossible to have one download install both a desktop and metro app, just as it's impossible (unless you're Microsoft) to write a metro app that calls out to Win32 APIs. Just a couple of the weird limitations of Windows 8...

You can call Win32 apis in Metro apps yourself. Is not a Microsoft-only thing.

MattWeihl said,

You can call Win32 apis in Metro apps yourself. Is not a Microsoft-only thing.

You're right, I was mistaken. It is, however, only a limited subset of Win32 that is available to Metro apps. Not the full API, and no access to 3rd party COM components, etc

JonathanMarston said,

You're right, I was mistaken. It is, however, only a limited subset of Win32 that is available to Metro apps. Not the full API, and no access to 3rd party COM components, etc

Which is better for security IMO. Metro apps should be as closed off from other apps and the OS as can be. That said as they make WinRT better (this is more or less version 1.0) all those Win32 calls you can make in metro will be replaced till we finally start to get off of Win32 itself, even on the desktop since I fully expect MS to open WinRT to desktop apps as well, probably in Windows 9 and WinRT 2.0.

GP007 said,

Which is better for security IMO. Metro apps should be as closed off from other apps and the OS as can be. That said as they make WinRT better (this is more or less version 1.0) all those Win32 calls you can make in metro will be replaced till we finally start to get off of Win32 itself, even on the desktop since I fully expect MS to open WinRT to desktop apps as well, probably in Windows 9 and WinRT 2.0.

More reason to wait for Windows 9. The technology doesn't seem to be mature yet.

Still I think it's a good decision to finally get rid off Win32 (the legacy), whenever possible, and MS is on the right track for bringing WinRT to the desktop, if it were the case.

The_Decryptor said,
I wonder if they'll end up using the existing tablet front end, it'd make it easier for extension developers.

Does the existing tablet frontend have a Metro look and feel?

The_Decryptor said,
I wonder if they'll end up using the existing tablet front end, it'd make it easier for extension developers.

With the requirements Microsoft has in place for Metro apps... Probably not...