Facebook and Others Aim to Make the Mobile Web a Competitive App Platform
A coalition of 30 technology companies hopes to turn the web into a competitive platform for building mobile applications. They have launched a Core Mobile Web Platform (coremob) community group through the W3C to provide a venue for collaborating on next-generation mobile web standards.
Facebook and Mozilla are among the leading members of the group. In an announcement today, Facebook discussed its motivations for participating. The social networking company says users who access Facebook through the mobile website outnumber the collective audience of all Facebook’s native mobile applications.
Facebook consequently wants to ensure its mobile website matches the quality of the experience users get from the native applications. In order to make that possible, open web standards will have to evolve to offer tighter device integration.
Mozilla is also working through W3C to turn the APIs into open standards so they can be supported by other browser vendors. The coremob community group will provide a means for mobile web stakeholders to discuss their technical requirements and help shape the emerging standards.
Facebook also announced the release of Ringmark, a test suite for evaluating the capabilities of mobile web browsers. The tests will help developers make informed decisions about what features they can safely use in various mobile web environments. Facebook hopes such information will help developers contend with the highly fragmented mobile web browser landscape.
The tests consist of two separate “rings” which represent sets of standard web features. The inner ring focuses on fundamentals like support for HTML video, native JSON parsing, CSS animation, and the Canvas element. The second ring includes a broader feature set, such as fullscreen support, touch events, and the device orientation APIs. I ran the test suite on an iPhone 4S, which passed all of the tests in the first ring and 229 of the 306 tests in the second ring.
In addition to Mozilla and Facebook, the coremob community group also includes major mobile network operators, hardware manufacturers, mobile platform vendors, and other web companies. The lineup includes AT&T, Verizon, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Intel, Microsoft, Opera, Adobe, Netflix, Zynga, Sencha, among others. Conspicuously absent from the list: Apple and Google.
This article originally appeared on Ars Technica, Wired’s sister site for in-depth technology news.