Mozilla introduces JavaScript API as part of common payments interface

While the API is still in an experimental stage, Mozilla plans to ship it on the first Firefox OS devices

Mozilla plans to introduce a common API (application programming interface) to make online payments easy and secure on ((web)) Firefox OS devices.

"As a first step, Mozilla will introduce navigator.mozPay() in Firefox OS so that web apps can accept payments," said Kumar McMillan, who works on  Firefox OS and the Firefox Marketplace, in a blog post on Thursday.

Navigator.mozPay() is a Javascript API inspired by Google Wallet for digital goods but with some modifications, McMillan wrote. When a Firefox OS user wants to buy something, the device will show a secure window where the user can charge the payment to the mobile carrier or a credit card, he said.

"It's just an API to facilitate a payment for a digital good or service, whatever that may be," he said.

At the moment, the API is experimental and it might change drastically, McMillan said. But Mozilla's aim is to start processing live payments on the first Firefox OS phones and evolve the API quickly from real world usage, he added.

For now, developers are able to simulate payments and test out the code in the Firefox Marketplace, he said.

At the moment details about how merchants should interact with payment providers in the API are not yet specified, and that is clearly a gap, said McMillan. The first Firefox OS phones will have a whitelist of allowed payment providers, but that is also not ideal, he added.

"Mozilla plans to work with other vendors through the W3C to reach consensus on a common API that supports web payments in the best way possible," McMillan wrote. When the payments API is shipped with Firefox OS, Mozilla plans to add the API to Firefox for Android and desktop Firefox, he added.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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