Mozilla teases developer-centric browser for 'debugging the whole Web'

Mozilla hints at imminent release of browser aimed at Web developers and employing experimental debugging and development tools

In a tersely worded announcement that raises more questions than it provides answers, Mozilla has announced the forthcoming launch of what it bills as "the first browser dedicated to developers."

The first sneak peek of the browser, in a 20-second video clip, announces: "For November 10th, we unleashed the Dev Tools team on the entire browser. We rethought how Firefox can debug the whole Web. We're building something unique but familiar, and we can't wait to share it."

Mozilla drops hints about the browser-level integration of a couple of tools the company has promoted before as development aids. The first, WebIDE, was rolled out in June and speeds the creation of Web applications from directly within a browser. While WebIDE was originally devised for aiding the development of Firefox OS apps, Mozilla confirmed it could be used to develop nearly any kind of Web application.

WebIDE Mozilla Foundation

One reputed ingredient of Mozilla's new developer-centric browser is the WebIDE add-on, designed for in-browser Web app creation.

Another tool mentioned by Mozilla, the Firefox Tools Adapter, is an experimental add-on that allows content running in other browsers, such as Google Chrome, to be debugged with Firefox's Developer Tools. One ostensible use for the Tools Adapter is for the desktop-based remote debugging of browsers running on other platforms -- such as Chrome on Android or Safari on iOS.

What's less clear is how all of this will be aggregated into a single, developer-centric package. One (remote) possibility is that Mozilla will debut the first in a line of browsers built using the Servo browser engine. Servo was created by Mozilla to exploit modern multicore hardware, and is written in Mozilla's Rust language, which is built for both speed and type safety.

Rust is still a work in progress, and Mozilla has claimed Servo won't be productized until at least 2015. But neither detail precludes the possibility that Mozilla has produced a prototype that works as a technology demonstration for both projects.

Whatever shape the package takes, it seems clear Mozilla wants the result to reflect its ongoing mission to create Web technologies unencumbered by proprietary designs. The teaser capped off with a promise to deliver "a package that you deserve as a builder for an independent Web."

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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