Firefox Prototype for Windows 8 Metro

Mozilla and Google both are working to get their browsers to work with the Metro interface of Windows 8. While the progress of Google Chrome for Metro is not known till now Mozilla is progressing with the plan to get the Firefox for Metro, Firefox Roadmap lists 2012 Q2 goal for providing a working prototype for Firefox on Metro.

Mozilla’s Brian Bondy posted on his blog about the Firefox Metro status update. Mozilla has created a working browser for Metro by last week, and it looks and feels the same as the Android browser according to him.

The new prototype is based on Fennec XUL Code, which they used initially for Firefox on Android and shifted later to native code on Android because of the startup performance issues. So far they haven’t had these issues in Metro yet, If they can continue using Fennec code on Metro with out any performance problems Firefox for Metro will be ready ahead of the schedule. The roadmap details that Firefox for Metro should be ready by the time the new OS lands in stores.

He also posted some screenshots of the working browser in Metro. In one screenshot of his own blog, there is a side pane attached to the browser. Probably you can have the thumbnail images of the tabs on the sidebar rather than on top.

Windows 8 integration has already been done to take advantage of the new features. For example Metro snap feature allows you to snap another app on the metro and continue using both Firefox and the other app side by side. And there is a file picker which supports opening a file or multiple files and saving files in Metro. Using the search charm you can search on any screen on Windows, if you search for URL it will open Firefox and if you search for text it will searched in your default search engine.

Share charm allows to share any Firefox page with another application like Twitter, mail or Facebook.

He explains at the end of the post why Firefox for Metro is important. You might already know that unlike Desktop Browsers Metro Browser should be  the default browser system wide, otherwise you can’t use that browser in Metro. Currently IE10 is the only browser that works in Metro.

If a browser does not support Metro, it is seriously at risk of losing the default browser status, and therefore significant market share. A browser without support for Metro, if default, would be taking away a Metro browser completely from the user’s computer.

Even if a user spends most of their time in the Desktop interface, having a really good Metro browser may be enough for the user to change their default browser. A browser with great Metro support can gain significant browser market share for this reason.