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Mozilla Firefox Open Source Programming

Mozilla Introduces Browser-Based WebIDE 132

mpicpp (3454017) writes with word that Mozilla released a full development environment integrated into Firefox (available now in nightly builds). From the announcement: 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, built directly into Firefox. Instead of starting from zero we provide you with a functioning blueprint app with the click of a button. You then have all the tools you need to start creating your own app based on a solid foundation. WebIDE helps you create, edit, and test a new Web application right from your browser. It lets you install and test apps on Firefox OS devices and simulators and integrates the Firefox Developer Tools for seamless debugging and inspection across those devices. This is a first step towards debugging across various platforms and devices over WiFi using open remote debugging APIs. The default editor is based on CodeMirror, but the protocol for interacting with the IDE is open and support for other editors (Emacs anyone?) should appear soon.

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Mozilla Introduces Browser-Based WebIDE

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  • by Anonymous Coward


  • IPE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fph il quozientatore ( 971015 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @05:13AM (#47304367)
    Ah, the inner platform effect [] at its finest.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But does it run Emacs?

    • I don't think that applies given that the IDE is for the web, not the browser. This is more like a digital photo frame shipping with a photo editing package. Which is kind of worse, because at least the inner platform ships users the tools they need to make the product itself better.

      • by Wolfrider ( 856 )

        --This. Yet more reason to switch to Palemoon, since I neither want nor need a full development IDE in my freaking daily web browser. It's code bloat, and the vast majority of users DO NOT NEED it.

        --Mozilla should be make this a separate download/package. Things are continuing to go downhill after Australis...

    • No, it's the "everyone eventually find out Smalltalk is way better and deserved to be emulated" effect.
    • You could say that of any cross-platform GUI toolkit, but it doesn't mean they're useless.

  • YouTube video has developer labouring away making an XXX app ...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jones_supa ( 887896 )
      A technology is always bound to become successful when it can be used to deliver porn.
    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      YouTube video has developer labouring away making an XXX app ...

      You're one X short of a pint Cobber!

    • You might very well be mistaken. XXX [] is intrinsic to the coat of arms of Amsterdam. Obviously this fine demo comes from a developer working for the city government, you insensitive clod!

      There are several explanations why this is so, with fire, flood, pestilence being the prevalent theory. []

  • Bloat !!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @05:37AM (#47304419)

    Oh ffs. Firefox is supposed to be a browser. Put the web IDE in it's own product. This is going to introduce yet more attack vectors and bugs into the code.

    Firefox *really* needs forking to follow the original vision. Make a fast, lean, controllable web BROWSER. Not a bloody operating system. Not a bloody IDE, not a bloody whizz bang collection of crud.

    Developers suck. They get something to a good point and every single time they tinker and fiddle leading to bloated, unusable, resource hungry, insecure crap.

    • Re:Bloat !!!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:00AM (#47304475)

      This is going to introduce yet more attack vectors and bugs into the code.

      They won't write it natively, but in js+xul. Won't add much security relevant bugs.

    • Re:Bloat !!!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:18AM (#47304519)

      So the WebIDE is bundled into every download of FF, but at same time they are moving every single feature a normal browser user uses into extensions or at most, into "about:config" -ui?!! I now have a one extension which provides the "hide tabs when one tab is open" -functionality, another to move tabs below the address-bar and to hide the other Australis-crap. Likely there will be need for yet another extension on FF 31, but the dev tools used by ~0,000001% of the FF userbase are always included. Great.

      • I sort of thought that a large portion of the development features (debugger, inspector, profiler etc.) has already been there for some time? The incremental cost of adding CodeMirror and fleshing it out a bit surely can't be that huge.
        • Exactly. But per usual, all the trolls are bashing Firefox WITHOUT THINKING. Almost as if they were payed shills of corporations

    • Developers suck.

      The new kids (new developers) sucks. They do not have the slightest idea of what is programming in an efficient manner. All that matters to them is to make "shinny new things".
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Tridus ( 79566 )

        There's a petition from a few thousand old developers that want Microsoft to restart VB6 development, despite how godawful that is.

        Developers sucking has no restriction on new vs old.

        • Re:Bloat !!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:07AM (#47304847)
          You picked up a very bad example. It is perfectly possible to make very good applications using VB6 when you know what you're doing, and the same goes for any other programming language. But when you have a "script kiddie developer", he will make trash code in any language.
          • Especially when all they're used to do is just load dozens of libraries to use a handful of functions from each one. That's how we get a Web version of "Hello World" that requires three megabytes of download.

          • Much as I hate VBCode, the old VB IDE was actually fairly nice for designing simple interfaces. If I could find something similar to make useful applications in a cross-platform manner, I'd be happy to use it. I think the closest might be the Netbeans IDE, but that's still somewhat of a PITA compared to the old VB'ish interface.

            • I miss too. Okay, VB is bad to deal with threads (is possible, just not simple), is slow compared to C and have several other small defects. But having said that, so far I have not seen a better IDE to build simple and complex graphical interfaces, I had easy access to COM/ActiveX objects and if I really needed, is reasonably simple to deal directly with the Win32 API.
      • >>> Developers tell us that they are not sure how to start app development on the Web

        Are they sure they are talking to developers or their paid staff? :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh ffs. Firefox is supposed to be a browser.

      Are you sure? Because I'd swear that all the stuff they have been removing lately is stuff related to it being a browser. You know, all the things that we get told we need to install an ad-on for. And of course we already know that the next version is going to break that ad-on once again.

      Firefox, the development environment. With the option to install a bunch of ad-ons that turns it into a browser.

    • Firefox *really* needs forking to follow the original vision.

      Already attempted. Try PaleMoon. []

  • Firefox better watch itself. Trying to "nudge" people into creating apps that only work properly with their browser / OS may not end well for it.

    • Re:Antitrust...? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by colfer ( 619105 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:14AM (#47304507)

      Not that.

      Right now this protocol is useful for Firefox Desktop, Firefox Android, and Firefox OS. But we aren’t stopping there. We’re working on a protocol adapter that will allow clients using the Firefox Remote Debugging Protocol – including the Developer Tools and WebIDE – talk to all mobile browsers, regardless of rendering engine or runtime. Our first targets are Chrome for Android and Safari on iOS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      It's HTML5, the web, the universal runtime.

      Anything they do is proposed as a w3C standard, so other platforms such as Tizen, webOS and Chromium OS can share ideas.

      'work properly'? Naturally you ought to test against other browsers and/or use 'polyfill' libraries such as Phonegap.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      They will never 'nudge' people into creating apps that only work on their own browser/OS.

      You probably missed what Mozilla is about.

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @05:55AM (#47304455)
    We hardly knew ya. Too bad you learnt nothing from your dad, Netscape.
    • by colfer ( 619105 )

      That's long gone. The download (29MB for win32) is now larger than Seamonkey (20MB). At least half the development is focused on mobile and other projects. Thunderbird and Seamonkey have no paid developers. I assume the mobile products do have to be lean and fast though. That's been the big turnaround in browsers, back to small screens, low memory and slow chips!

      As for desktop. Still a good browser, needs one process per tab. Still good to have a compliant rendering engine besides Chrome. Still good to have

      • Firefox uses Gecko, Opera and Chrome use Blink and Safari uses Webkit. That's 3 if you exclude IE.

      • by Megane ( 129182 )

        Thunderbird and Seamonkey have no paid developers.

        And I hope it stays that way. That's why they haven't yet been "updated" beyond the point of usability!

      • by BVis ( 267028 )

        Thunderbird and Seamonkey have no paid developers.

        And, as a result, likely no clueless non-technical product "managers" that never met a feature they didn't like, and also never met a tech lead or developer whose objections they couldn't ignore.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      This does not make Firefox slower or load slower.

      The only thing this does is make the download slightly larger.

      These are in seperate files which don't get loaded on startup.

      They first all added their own remote debug protocol: []

      And now people want to have a unified protocol: []

      In the mean time, browser vendors like Mozilla and Chrome add the last missing piece an editor.

      Nothing fancy, just something basic.

      It's a natural progression.

    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      lean has not been the goal of firefox for a long time, if you need a browser to run on your windows 95 potato, try "off by one browser" it's a ~2 megabyte install including SSL or 1.2 M without SSL, it requires about 5-10 megabytes of ram per tab depending on page size
  • by l3v1 ( 787564 )
    If it were an add-on, I'd have nothing against it. Do not integrate unnecessary crap into the browser, history has made it clear it's not going to end well.
  • Mozilla II (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @06:46AM (#47304579) Homepage Journal is very quickly expanding Firefox to becoming Mozilla II. Remember when the suite was split apart into its various components, leaving Firefox a very lightweight-but-extensible browser, and Thunderbird a lean and mean yet also expandable email client, and if you still wanted the monolithic build you downloaded Mozilla instead?

    Not any more. Firefox is very quickly edging its way toward becoming a heavyweight web development suite again. I think if users want that, they will either install the Web Developer extension or maybe just go straight to installing the Mozilla suite. Why are they "bloating" Firefox again instead of making the IDE an optional add-on via extensions?

    • Ah, yes, Seamonkey. Someone mentioned it in comments above. I had forgotten the name of the web development component.

    • Re:Mozilla II (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @07:16AM (#47304651) Homepage

      Because the people that run Mozilla seem to have no idea what Firefox users actually want. That's the only explanation I can come up with for what they've been doing.

      • By getting a drunken monkey to throw darts they'd get things right more often than they do now.

        Conclusion: they're doing it deliberately.

      • It's because now, they have money. When firefox was first broken out, Mozilla was a slow, lumbering, and most importantly very lean company. They didn't have a lot of money or credibility. Firefox came out, became the darling and revenue started to flow in from the search bar, ads, donations, etc. Then they had money, and when you have money that needs spending you look for things to do. Then you end up creating FirefoxOS, webIDE, etc, etc because in big strategy meetings about what to do with this mon
  • "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."

    So the plan of having too many tools to do development is to create another tool? Man, that's some awesome thinking right there. Reminds me of this: []

    • There are many arguments against adding the IDE, but I don't agree with this one. People said the same thing when Google came out with Gmail. "We've already got hotmail and yahoo and a million other free email services. Why do we need another?" If this tool is good enough or simple enough to use that it becomes ubiquitous, then it doesn't matter what's already out there.

  • Stop. please. we tried this 20 years ago with ActiveX and it turned out to be a flaming turd that myred an entire generation in code that could only run in IE and only specific versions that supported different activeX framework.

    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.

    I know it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but this icky feeling is called choice. things can be unique and different and thats okay, so long as they work in chrome and firefox and adhere to good coding practices like not exploiting specific browser quirks to achieve something

    • HTML, CSS and JS aren't proprietary.

      Mozilla attempt to standardize any JS 'native' libraries to the w3c in collaboration with other vendors. Apache Cordova fills in the rest.

      This is nothing like ActiveX.

    • by colfer ( 619105 )

      Read the article, they are targeting Firefox, Chrome and Safari as platforms. This is a development tool for some reason put into core.

      And the "app" does have to be a web app because this is all about mobile. They will probably integrate submitting the app to the various vendor-approved marketplaces, starting with this one: []

      I question all this, because Mozilla has limited resources, mainly from Google searches. But sticking with Desktop only would be risky.

    • ... and if you have to download a web browser+IDE to build a "webapp" because you're "confused" about all the choices ... perhaps you should not be building a webapp in the first place?
      • You gotta start from somewhere. In the 90s if you did not know bettter (and likely had no internet access) you ended up playing with QBASIC, old Visual Basic and such. And fuck, yes a "webapp" is confusing, what with needing to learn like five language to create simple crap (PHP [or other], Javascript, HTML, CSS and whatever, not to mention the kilometer long config file if you install Apache)
        Add paying for a server and a domain name.. that shit costs recurrent cash to pay by debit card or paypal? Fuck it.

  • by amn108 ( 1231606 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:56AM (#47305191)

    I think we would all agree that code bloat goes beyond web browsers, it's a problem for every piece of software, a problem from the future, waiting to happen, somewhere there along the development timeline, when someone with insufficient life wisdom decides for yet another feature, and as features become less related to the core functionality of the original product, the code bloat becomes more of a nuisance.

    Since the psychology of developers can hardly be changed fast, especially the inexperienced ones (wisdom does not equal competency here - you can contribute to libevent, but not have a clue about the kind of wisdom I am talking about), I think another solution is necessary.

    This solution is to at least try to decouple the features from the core product in such a way that these do not impair loading and runtime times, can be distributed/added/removed separately and generally do not impact the core product. Dynamic library loading, etc - all these things can be used with good measure to combat perceived bloat. But we still need to educate each other on these things.

    The good and related principle of high-cohesion low-coupling should also be applied.

    My point is, in itself, a gazillion addons is not a problem, as long as a person not wanting one single addon can use the product to their satisfaction where mere existence of plugin/addon/dev-IDE system does not impact his experience negatively. And it shouldn't - if you can load libraries on demand, you can decouple the IDE from Firefox, so that people who never heard of it or do not want it, can live in blissful ignorance of its mere existence.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      The IDE does not incur any loading time.

      It is just a bunch of HTML/JS/CSS files only loaded when you open the WebIDE.

      • by amn108 ( 1231606 )

        So it's basically a so called web application? Like f.e.?

        Because I was under the impression that its more akin to say, Firebug.

        • by Lennie ( 16154 )

          Well, Firebug is an addon which is also written in HTML/JS/CSS.

          This has always been mostly true in Firefox, Firefox is built in XUL which is an XML variant and Javascript.

          An addon just has different privileges than a normal webpage.

          It is just a zip-file with a different extension. Office documents like ODT and DOCX these days are also just zip-files with a different extension.

          Just have a look at the code:

          When I was browsing through the files, just to make sure, I noticed Fir

          • by amn108 ( 1231606 )

            Then I just hope they don't bundle it with Firefox, so that people who just want the [simple] browser, do not have to download code their computer will probably never run. And if it does, it can download on demand, since it is an addon, just like the rest of them.

            • by Lennie ( 16154 )

              A few 100kb out of a 25MB+ download, I doubt anyone cares.

              • by amn108 ( 1231606 )

                Not really no, but it's sloppy thinking nevertheless. Take the things that not even half of the people will use, out of the download file.

                Some people download on cellular networks and pay per megabyte downloaded, and in any case you cannot predict everybodys usage patterns.

                Bottomline - it's a web browser, not an operating system bundled with applications. Just my two cents. I know they are going to make one out of Firefox anyway.

                Someone said already - its the inner platform effect. Reinventing the [inferior

                • by Lennie ( 16154 )

                  In this case, the browser already had all the parts and pieces. Because of remote debugging API, the developer tools and so on. So an editor was just a small step.

                  Judging by the article summary. They wanted to offer something which was easily discoverable.

                  That is all there is too it. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Hey that's cute, does anyone remember XUL from last decade?

  • Anyone remember Netscape Gold? How long will we have to wait for email client, news reader, and Kitchen Sink(tm) to be bundled back in?

    So much for a lightweight browser and codebase (Firefox has already marched past that line in the sand, but this is a monumental increase to the marching speed) Not to mention the potential security implications for managed desktops.
    • Anyone remember Netscape Gold? How long will we have to wait for email client, news reader, and Kitchen Sink(tm) to be bundled back in?

      So much for a lightweight browser and codebase (Firefox has already marched past that line in the sand, but this is a monumental increase to the marching speed) Not to mention the potential security implications for managed desktops.

      "Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can."

  • A sleek, once-efficient browser has now been turned into a bloated platform for for IDE hosting. Why would anyone want to use such a mess for such a critical part of their development infrastructure, especially in light of the continuing whimsical and frequent changes to the look, feel and operation of the FireFox UI by out of touch developers.
  • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @11:22AM (#47306383) Journal

    How many FF users want this WebIDE? It's built-in.
    How many FF users want a status bar or tabs not on top? Must use an add-on...

  • I implemented a web ide, but don't know how to get it out there.

  • I mean, on this site people used to rant that in good old days every computer user was a programmer or at the very least had easy access to programming tools (by e.g. turning the computer on), such as Commodore 64 with all its PEEKs and POKEs (thick paper manual included), or how you would write an assembler from machine language when you didn't run out of bits, Hypercard on the Macintosh, the oft ridiculed Qbasic, and other examples.

    Some of these were good, some of these sucked but at least noobs and unsup

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