I'm very interested in the work going on around the Open Web
Applications project and how it compares to the recently launched
Chrome Web Store. I think Mozilla Labs' open approach would definitely
be preferable to Google's currently more closed approach but it would
also be very desirable for multiple browser & OS vendors to support a
I've been comparing the manifest formats for Chrome Web Store and
Mozilla Labs' Open Web Applications and I'm wondering what the
position is on compatibility between the two. Is the Open Web
Applications team talking to anyone at Google about this?
The differences I've noticed between the two formats are listed below.
Slight ambiguities in the Mozilla spec:
* Must name be UTF-8 encoded?
* Must description be UTF-8 encoded?
Differences between Mozilla and Chrome manifests:
"base_url" vs. "app" -> "urls"
(Chrome allows multiple absolute URLs, but only one domain if the
manifest isn't hosted in the Chrome Web Store)
"launch_path" vs. "app" -> "launch" -> "web_url"
(Chrome uses an absolute URL, Mozilla uses a relative path)
"capabilities" vs. "permissions"
(What are the possible strings for capabilities and do they relate to
a W3C spec?)
"release" vs. "version"
(Mozilla uses a timestamp, Chrome uses a dot-separated integer)
Mozilla has that Chrome doesn't:
* locales & default_locale
* manifest_name (Chrome is always manifest.json, Mozilla defaults to
Chrome has that Mozilla doesn't:
* container (to launch an app in a Chrome "panel")
* key (set automatically by Chrome Web Store)
Is there any scope for making these formats closer or at least making
it easier for Google to support the Mozilla spec in future?
It's also interesting that at Mozilla Labs you see a differentiation
between "bookmark applications" and "published applications" whereas
Chrome has a distinction between "hosted applications" and "packaged
applications" where no server is required.
I think it's also worth drawing comparisons with the MeeGo Web Runtime
which uses the W3C Widget specifications for installable web
applications which more resemble Chrome's packaged apps.
Do you see scope for standardisation in this area with an organisation
like the W3C in future? I do think what is being done at Mozilla Labs
and Google is something very valuable and quite different to the
current W3C Widget specifications.
I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of this and to
contributing where I can.
Chrome Manifest http://code.google.com/chrome/apps/docs/developers_guide.html#manifest
Latest Mozilla Manifest https://github.com/mozilla/openwebapps/blob/manifest_0.2/docs/MANIFEST.md
MeeGo Web Runtime http://wiki.meego.com/SDK/Docs/1.1/Web_SDK_with_WRT
W3C Widget Specifications http://www.w3.org/TR/widgets/