Mozilla's again slapping the face of native smartphone apps with its open source glove. With WebAPI, it aims to provide a set of consistent, cross-platform web-based APIs for mobile app development.
We spoke to Jonas Sicking, technical lead WebAPI at Mozilla, about the development. "Our goal is to develop open WebAPIs that will work in all web browsers, no matter the operating system," he said. One of the main points of focus, according to Sicking, will be "closing the device API gap that exists between the open web platform and native APIs", which will "help us to push the web forward, enabling new types of interaction with devices and web applications".
In terms of benefits to developers, Sicking thinks the web has been incredibly successful, mainly because of how open it is, and so Mozilla wants to "continue to expand its capabilities, to allow developers to continue using the web as their main platform, even when developing applications that need access to, for example, a camera or a user's list of contacts". He asserts that the advantage in Mozilla's approach over other technologies is "complete integration with the widely used and liked web platform, including its ability to run across a huge range of devices and browsers developed by many companies".
One concern is that WebAPI might be considered to be overlapping W3C's work and even potentially fragmenting the web, if other browser manufacturers cannot be convinced to get on board. Sicking reassured us: "Just as everything Mozilla is working on, all our APIs will be developed in the open, and we look forward to working together with standards groups such as W3C or other vendors who share our vision of even greater success for open web APIs".
However, on Mozilla initially blazing ahead with the project, he added: "Because the development of some APIs will be more complex than others, we think it is important to do research and experimentation before taking the next step of standardisation."