Windows 8 Metro Firefox development update posted

Earlier this year, Mozilla announced its plans to release a version of its Firefox web browser that would be made specifically for the Metro UI in Windows 8. It been several weeks since there has been any development updates on Firefox for Windows 8 Metro, but one of the programmers on the project, Brian Bondy, has now offered up a new development update.

In a post on his blog, Bondy states:

We determined that sharing the same Firefox profile in both Desktop and Metro is out of scope for the initial version, so instead we plan to sync the settings between 2 profiles using Firefox Sync augmented with some key local events to force a sync right away by using Windows Messages, events, and the registry.

The post also says that the Firefox team has "more or less" completed its work on the appbar control and has improved a lot of the Windows 8 contracts features, with Bondy stating, "Fixed soft keyboard issues, improved gesture input support, fixed support for invoking external applications, and more."

The team has also completed work on combining the regular Windows 8 and Metro Windows 8 Firefox executable files into one, with Bondy stating, " ... now there's only one shared exe that dynamically determines which front-end to use."

Bondy doesn't give an update on when the first public version of Firefox for Windows 8 Metro will be released. Mozilla has previously announced that public alpha and beta versions of the browser should be released sometime in the second half of 2012.

Source: Brian Bondy's blog

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10 Comments

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Dead'Soul said,
here comes fragmentation

I agree, this will be a problem and now you have several fundamentally different platforms out there. That said, Mozilla have already identified this issue and have taken steps to mitigate it.

Firstly, the discontinuation of Thunderbird will allow them to concentrate on Firefox which is their core product. More people working on the browser and its various versions for different platforms.

Secondly, they've decided on a lot of UI features / designs / elements that they intend to share across all versions/platforms of their browsers. Which would mitigate visual fragmentation to some degree. Of course you can't completely remove visual fragmentation.

Third, on Windows 8 they have a single executable file that can be used to launch both versions of the browser, the underlying rendering engine is the same, many of the same application files are shared.

Fourth, while initially the same user profile can't be used between Metro and Win32, they're enhancing the sync feature making it so that they sync the data instantaneously between the Metro and non Metro profiles.

Fifth, the 'Sync' feature allows you to keep a profile synchronised between platforms. Perhaps the features developed for the Windows version of Firefox will help keep things consistent for the user between different platforms.

McKay said,
But I thought Microsoft wasn't allowing other metro browsers EU? ;-)

it's just that in the RT version they won't allow desktop browsers, however, metro browsers are fine. as a matter of fact in RT they don't allow no third-party desktop apps.

ctrl_alt_delete said,

it's just that in the RT version they won't allow desktop browsers, however, metro browsers are fine. as a matter of fact in RT they don't allow no third-party desktop apps.


Actually, Metro browsers and Desktop browsers are the same thing. They're in a third app category named "metro style enabled desktop browsers" which means they're Win32 apps with access to WinRT. Even IE10 works this way. That's why there's a controversy with the EU: in Windows RT, IE10 is a "metro style enabled desktop browsers", but no other desktop apps are allowed to be installed.