Open Web Tools Directory

Just published a couple of blog posts earlier this week announcing the release of another project we’ve been kicking around here in Mozilla’s Developer Tools lab: a directory of the universe of tools to help web developers. The Ajaxian post goes into some detail on the technology behind it. Like Bespin, the directory uses HTML 5’s canvas element extensively. Unlike Bespin, there’s no compelling technological reason for this decision; we’re exploring different ways to visualize the data and we wanted to achieve a dynamic floating universe of tools.

We’ll be spending a great deal of energy in building up the directory and turning it into a vibrant, living resource for web developers, and we’d sure love to get your feedback on what you think we should to do it. Because the data is all available via a simple JSON format, we’re also keen to see other folks create their own custom front-ends for it. Who knows, perhaps a few other alternative interfaces will land in the coming weeks or months (we’re releasing a fully accessible version for the vision-impaired soon, btw).

I also want to give a special thanks to Mike “Morgamic” Morgan and Laura Thomson, two members of our incredible web development team at Mozilla, for tons of help getting this project going.

It’s been nothing short of a blast to work on this project. I’ve spent a good deal of time developing software on desktop platforms and here the web platform delivered the best of both worlds: easy-to-use graphic rendering API coupled with trivial network access built-in. And the performance! While a GPU-powered version would blow away the performance of the current version of the directory, I’m fairly certain that the web’s software rendering performance is comparable with the major desktop platforms software equivalents (e.g., Java2D, GDI, etc)–and I can’t wait to do a canvas 3D version to compare GPU-backed performance.

Go Web.

10 thoughts on “Open Web Tools Directory

  1. I think this has the potential to become a very interesting and useful resource. Though at the same time, I think the performance really does need to improve, at least for Firefox on linux. Depending on how serious you are about having this available as a real utility, you might consider adding wiki-like features so that users can add comments to the existing services (or add new ones).
    Good luck and look forward to see more interesting stuff come out of Mozilla labs.

  2. @Shrutarshi Basu: Thanks for the feedback–perf. is bad on Linux for some reason. We had a similar experience with Bespin; updating video drivers seems to help.

  3. bad choice on the url: reading I get the impression that this is all mozilla stuff which it is not at all.

  4. Nice looking layout – could do with a black background on text that appears when hovering over an item. Sometimes it’s hard to read the title if the wording appears over something else.

  5. Ben, just a “user” of Palms and wanted to toss my feedback into the pot..not sure if this is a way or not. Recently upgraded to Palm Pre Plus..and think this will be a great little phone for me. Two things from the onset I would love to see addressed in any upcoming software upgrade. 1) give me a keypad on the screen so I don’t have to always slide the phone open. 2) Give me the option to lower the pixels on the camera, I do a lot of photo emailing and don’t always need 3 MP..other than that I love the phone so far.

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