Build mobile apps directly within the Firefox browser

A new code editor from Mozilla allows developers to build and test mobile apps from within a browser window

Mozilla's WebIDE

Mozilla's WebIDE

Programmers who may be curious about building mobile apps but aren't sure how to get started could get a hand from Mozilla, which is testing a new code editor, called WebIDE, which will be built into the Firefox browser.

"Developers tell us that they are not sure how to start app development on the Web, with so many different tools and templates that they need to download from a variety of different sources. We're solving that problem with WebIDE," wrote Dave Camp, Mozilla's director of development tools, in a blog post announcing the new IDE (integrated development environment).

A working version of WebIDE is now being included in the nightly builds of future versions of Firefox currently being developed. The nightly versions are posted only for testing purposes, allowing outside parties to view the new features the browser team is working on.

Using WebIDE, developers can start with a functioning blueprint of a Web app that can be run on either a desktop or a mobile phone browser. They then can fill in the JavaScript, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML5 code using an editor within a browser window. They'll see their changes immediately in another window that runs the app in simulation mode. Though the tool can be used to develop desktop Web apps, it's intended primarily for mobile.

Mozilla has also set up a repository where developers can contribute additional templates.

Developers can also test an app on a device itself, by running it on the Firefox mobile browser and debugging it over USB by way of a remote debugging API (application programming interface).

Eventually, the software will be able to communicate with other browsers, such as Chrome for Android and Safari on iOS. Over time, the browser will also offer a way to test apps over Wi-Fi.

WebIDE is based on the open-source CodeMirror editor and uses the tern.js code analysis framework. It also uses a fairly large set of debugging and inspection tools already built into Firefox, called Firefox Developer Tools.

Mozilla did not offer an estimate of when WebIDE will be included in a full Firefox release. The next version of the browser, Firefox 31, is due the week of July 22.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Development toolsapplication developmentWeb services developmentsoftwaremozilla

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?