Add to Diaspora the possibility to be a WebApp

F Flaburgan Public Seen by 64

tl;dr : make an openwebapp is easy, we have to allow Diaspora to be installed in every device as a web app !

Mozilla introduces recently the new concept of OpenWebApp. In one word, the idea is to develop an app using web languages, not specific language, so the development is done once, and the app run on Android, Symbian, iOS, Blackberry, Firefox OS, Ubuntu, XP, Seven, Mac OS... Everywhere where you can find a web browser.

For the moment, only Mozilla implemented it, so it is only everywhere where you can find Firefox (bye bye, iOS...) but we hope the other browsers will implement it soon.

The idea is pretty simple : the app is installed inside Firefox and is managed by him. A shortcut is placed on the desktop. When you open it, the web engine of Firefox (Gecko) is launched and the web site is displayed on the device (in full screen : there is no firefox UI here).

When the app need to access to a part of the phone which need permission (geolocation, camero, bluetooth...), it is asked to the user each time (but you can remember the choice) and the app use the Firefox permission (this is why Firefox ask so much permission when you install it on firefox).

Make an app is really easy : you only need to add a manifest file to the website and you're done !

Now that we have a pretty good mobile version (thanks @Movilla !) I think it is a good idea to add a manifest file to Diaspora to allow people install it. There is some bugs to fix before, but we can do it soon.

Talking about that, the installation can be done by two different way : of course, this is an open technology so a simple button install with some specific javascript behind will allow every Firefox users to install it. This has to be add somewhere in the mobile version.
But to simplify things, Mozilla launched a marketplace, where you can put your application. It is still alpha but as a Mozilla contributor, I have access to it. I can submit the Diaspora app there.

Last thing, fot the manifest, an url of the mobile version has to be indicate. For the moment, the switch between desktop and mobile is done by javascript. Is it possible to put the mobile in a hard link ? (maybe a sub domain, like mobile.mypod.org, or if it is too complicated for podmins, mypod.org/m/ ?)

Summary : task to do
1 fix some bugs in the mobile version (especially when displayed in a desktop Firefox)
2 Put the mobile version in a specific place (ex mypod.org/m/)
3 write a manifest file
4 submit the app to the mozilla marketplace
5 add a install button in the site to allow user to directly install the app


movilla Sun 9 Dec 2012 2:43PM

It seems very good idea :]


Robin Stent - Outreach Tue 11 Dec 2012 3:41PM

I can't really see the point of this, if you have web access on our phone why do you need an app?


theradialactive Tue 11 Dec 2012 3:49PM

Maybe you could cache some posts so you have them if your internet is gone. And in the mobile interface you can't make so much customizations. If you insert some configurations in that webapp you can't do on that mobile site I think it's a pretty good idea. And the download won't be so high because you have the complete webapp interface on your phone.


Tom Scott Wed 12 Dec 2012 3:40PM

There's definitely no need to clutter up the homepage with an "INSTALL" button, but I'm all for extending our tentacles into the app stores of the world.

If I'm parsing this right, all you're proposing here is similar to "Chrome apps", just for Firefox OS. That's a great idea, trivial to implement and definitely can't hurt. However, if we're doing this for the Mozilla Marketplace, why can't we do it for the Chrome Web Store as well? We can hopefully implement a few of these manifest files and that'll be the end of it.


Florian Staudacher Wed 12 Dec 2012 4:57PM

hm... looks like every pod would have to sign up in the marketplace on its own?


Erwan Guyader Wed 12 Dec 2012 7:05PM

The point is, if you add an install button, you don't need any marketplace/store/whatever.

This way, pods won't have to sign up in the marketplace either :)


movilla Thu 13 Dec 2012 12:00AM

I made a little test here https://jauspora.com/ need install Firefox OS Simulator http://people.mozilla.org/~myk/r2d2b2g/ or https://hacks.mozilla.org/2012/12/firefox-os-simulator-1-0-is-here/

I think we should make a single application to post messages and images, like Twitter Share (this application is by default in Firefox OS simulator)


Flaburgan Thu 13 Dec 2012 10:22AM

@movilla WebApps are not only for Firefox OS, but for every OS. They are working right now for Android, Ubuntu, Mac OS, and Windows.

Btw, there is a problem with the website to link, it's true. I think the best way to solve it is to make a really small website which will be the webapp, and which only propose to choose the pod and include it / redirect on it after.


Tom Scott Thu 13 Dec 2012 6:02PM

This sounds like a quick and easy way to gain some outreach for DIASPORA! I'm all about it.

Would each pod owner have to submit a separate app to the store? I feel like we'd have to treat each of the pods as their own WebApp, wouldn't we? Otherwise, how would the device "know" which pod I'm connected to?


goob Thu 13 Dec 2012 6:37PM

Perhaps you could ask all podmins if they want their pod to be accessible by the web app, and put all of these pods into a drop-down list. The first time a user signs in using the web app, they choose their home pod from the drop-down list, and the web app then remembers these sign-in details.

I know very little about how web apps work, so this may not be possible, but it seems a more elegant solution than having a separate app for each pod. If the app can remember more than one login, a user with two or more accounts on different pods can use the same app to log in to their different accounts.

Any good?


Erwan Guyader Thu 13 Dec 2012 7:01PM

I think each pod should be a different app, installable via an "INSTALL" button (then bypassing the marketplace).

No need to provide a list of pods since the pod domain can be retrieved from the od handle.


movilla Thu 13 Dec 2012 10:46PM

I like that idea. I'll work on this and offer something


Flaburgan Fri 14 Dec 2012 7:21AM

movilla I can work on this with you if you want ;)