2013-10-15

from Webapp SDK to r2d2b2g, Firefox OS Simulator, and the App Manager

A little over a year ago, on August 31, 2012, I brainstormed the outline of a "Webapp SDK":


That outline was the genesis for the r2d2b2g experiment, which built the Firefox OS Simulator, whose initial version hit the web on September 14, 2012 and which has gone through numerous iterations since then as we evaluated various features to enhance app development.

And that experiment spurred Mozilla's Developer Tools group, particularly its nascent App Tools team, to build Firefox's new App Manager, which landed last month and was introduced today on Hacks!

Despite the twisty passage from experiment to product, that initial outline bears a surprising resemblance to the App Manager feature set. The Manager checks off three of the four features on the outline's primary list—"start Gaia in B2G," "package app," and "test app in Gaia/B2G"—plus a few on its secondary list, like "debug from Firefox" and "test on mobile device," with "edit manifest in GUI" well underway over in bug 912912. And the Simulator continues to provide B2G/Gaia via an easy-to-install addon that integrates with the Manager.

Like any good product of a successful experiment, however, the Manager's reach has exceeded its progenitor's grasp! So it also gives you access to pre-installed apps, lets you take screenshots of device/Simulator screens, and will doubtless continue to sprout handy features to make app development great.

So kudos to the folks who built it, and long live the App Manager!

3 comments:

alex p said...

Thank you Myk for feeding Mozilla with projects and ideas!
But that's even more glorious to then ensure that new dedicated teams backs up succesfull experiments!

I keep thinking Firefox OS App days wouldn't have been so successfull without the Firefox OS Simulator...
Also the app manager wouldn't have been crafted so quickly without the hard work being done on the simulator by you and the various contributors you engaged.

I can't wait for the next project!

Miguel Arias said...

mozilla firefox 28.0 will not let me install the firefox os simulator. tells me that you can not modify the needed file

I have windows xp sp3

thanks

Myk Melez said...

Miguel: see this support article for suggestions for troubleshooting that problem. And make sure you're using the latest version of the Simulator, which you can get from App Manager Add-ons.