Evolution of the App manifest: Where we’re headed

There’s been some discussion among standards watchers and others about our decision to design an App manifest for the Mozilla Labs App Project, which launched as a developer preview last week, rather than go with one or another existing App format.

The engineers who work on the Apps Project architecture have looked closely at existing formats and continue to engage in ongoing conversations with other app platform providers. In the past, in relevant forums and bugs, we’ve articulated some of our concerns around the existing specs, especially with regard to handling offline apps.

We recognize that many differences between the Mozilla and Chrome app manifest formats are largely cosmetic. We agree on the fundamentals. We’re continuing a conversation with Chromium engineers that we expect will bring us closer together in the months ahead.

It is also important to remember that Apps began as an experiment within Mozilla Labs, so we did what was fastest to get us out the gate. We started with a simple, extensible format – and that’s exactly where we are today. The apps preview for developers is a malleable offering. We believe the Apps project will be most successful if we can get all browser vendors to agree on both the APIs and the manifest format.

We will continue to have these conversations and hope to resolve the issues in order to converge on a standard. None of our current decisions are etched in stone. We value your feedback, so please keep it coming. We promise to continue to listen and respond.

Ragavan, on behalf of the Mozilla Labs Apps team