As the Web continues to evolve and more of our lives move online, we believe that Web browsers like Firefox can and should do more to broker rich experiences while increasing user control over their data and personal information.
One important area for exploration is the blending of the desktop and the Web through deeper integration of the browser with online services.
We’re now launching a new project within Mozilla Labs to formally explore this integration. This project will be known as Weave and it will focus on finding ways to enhance the Firefox user experience, increase user control over personal information, and provide new opportunities for developers to build innovative online experiences.
Just like Mozilla enables massive innovation by making Firefox open on many levels, we will aim to do the same with Weave by developing an open extensible framework for services integration.
We’ve set out some basic organizing principles to help frame the approach that we’re going to explore. We will:
- provide a basic set of optional Mozilla-hosted online services
- ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools
- provide users with the ability to fully control and customize their online experience, including whether and how their data should be shared with their family, their friends, and third-parties
- respect individual privacy (e.g. client-side encryption by default with the ability to delegate access rights)
- leverage existing open standards and propose new ones as needed
- build a extensible architecture like Firefox
Overview of the Idea
- browser metadata is pushed into the cloud (e.g. bookmarks, history, customizations, etc.)
- this metadata is transparently reflected everywhere an individual gets online
- we provide a basic framework for easily sharing and delegating access to this metadata to friends, family and third-parties
- we build tools and APIs to extend this framework and to provide new user experiences
We’ve also developed some initial use cases that we’ll be exploring with Weave. To be clear, it’s not Mozilla’s intent to provide robust applications for, say, travel planning. We intend to provide the infrastructure and an consistent model for how a user can open up their browser metadata to friends and third-party applications. These use cases are just examples of the types of things we would like to explore, and have others build applications on top of.
- Weave 0.1 (December 21, 2007)
- basic framework and server-side in place for testing and experimentation
- authentication with a single online service provider (e.g. labs.mozilla.com)
- bookmark and history synchronization to the server from multiple clients
- default encryption of all user data with a placeholder algorithm
Weave 0.2 (Early 2008)
- initial Web service APIs for developers to build on
- user controls and ability to delegate (and revoke) access rights to specific bits of browser metadata
- UI to enable sharing on applicable interfaces
- Install Weave v0.1 for Firefox 3.0b2pre or greater, Windows/Mac/Linux
Warning: This is an early prototype. Use at your own risk.
How to Get Involved
We’ll be rolling out prototypes of various components of the framework, gathering feedback and hosting a series of discussions and sessions on the Mozilla Labs site to plan, design, and further develop Weave.
- Discuss, debate and add to the design in the Weave forum.
- Join us in #labs on irc.mozilla.org.