Folks at Mozilla had earlier stated they were working on a Metro-style Firefox for Windows 8. But it seems that was just the tip of an iceberg. The team has now revealed that it is developing a version of Firefox that will not only support the Metro-style interface of Windows 8 but will also act as a conventional desktop app at the same time. That essentially will make it the only app of its kind to debut on Windows 8.
Currently, most of the software that will be used by and on Windows 8 either belongs to Metro apps or to classic desktop apps. What the Mozilla team is aiming at is to produce a hybrid of the two – a software that will run perfectly on both Metro interface as well as the traditional desktop. The problem with this is that it is new terrain for both Microsoft and Firefox. And so, it has turned into a ‘very large project’ for the Mozilla team who has virtually no guideposts to seek help from but to rely on their own coding.
According to a Mozilla developer, “Unlike Metro applications, Metro style enabled desktop browsers have the ability to run outside of the Metro sandbox. Meaning not only can we build a browser, but we can build a powerful browser which gives an experience equal to that of a classic Desktop browser.”
Although the default browser of Windows 8, Internet Explorer, is indeed available both on Metro interface as well as on the classic desktop, it has a difference version for each. Mozilla, however, is trying to create one version which will automatically work both ways. Naturally, that is a tough nut to crack for the developers at Mozilla, one of which remarked, “As a developer, your job gets pretty hard when you do a Google search for topics surrounding this barely supported third Metro application type and consistently get zero, one, or if you are lucky, two search results.”
Another problem that Mozilla developers are facing is that a browser can work in the Metro mode only if it has been selected as the default browser. Naturally, Microsoft would want the crown of being set as the default browser to stay with IE but then, Firefox will lack the features of a Metro app when a Windows 8 user uses it. So to unleash the potential of this special version of Firefox that Mozilla is working on, it will have to be set as default browser.
Image courtesy Justin.