One of the biggest changes coming from Windows 8 will be the Metro interface theme. It will bring Windows to a new form of computing.
Mozilla intends to be there to serve this new tablet and touch market with a version of Firefox that's made just for Metro. While Microsoft will surely make its version of Internet Explorer optimized for Metro, Mozilla wants to present the alternative choice. Given that some Windows users are basically trained to seek an alternative browser, this could be a good thing for Mozilla.
The project is now listed as "in progress" in the Mozilla wiki (opens in new tab). Here are some of the project notes:
- Firefox on Metro, like all other Metro apps will be full screen, focused on touch interactions, and connected to the rest of the Metro environment through Windows 8 contracts.
- Firefox on Metro will bring all of the Gecko capabilities to this new environment and the assumption is that we'll be able to run as a Medium integrity app so we can access all of the win32 Firefox Gecko libraries avoiding a port to the new WinRT API for the bulk of our code. (Though we will need to have a pan and zoom capability for content.)
- Firefox on Metro is a full-screen App with an Appbar that contains common navigation controls (back, reload, etc.,) the Awesomebar, and some form of tabs.
- Firefox will have to support three "snap" states -- full screen, ~1/6th screen and ~5/6th screen depending on how the user "docks" two full screen apps. Our UI will need to adjust to show the most relevant content for each size.