Mozilla's WebAPI eyes cross-platform mobile apps

Project would allow developers to build web-based app interfaces accessible from any HTML5 smartphone or tablet

Mozilla developers are in the early stages of building an open application interface for smartphones and tablets called WebAPI.

The significance of the effort is that WebAPI could become a way for smartphone developers to write one application that would run anywhere, including on Apple's iOS, Windows Mobile and Android devices, at least according to one interpretation by ConceivablyTech.com.

The WebAPI project, described as lasting three to six months in the initial stage, would be a set of HTML5 Application Programming Interfaces (API) that would provide web-based application interfaces accessible by any HTML5 smartphone or tablet.

Richard Tibbett, a platform architect for Opera Software, posted an unofficial draft document related to the WebAPI project. The document addresses the messaging technology needed for the process to function.

Tibbett suggested in a message to other developers that his concept for WebAPI would allow "any native app, OS or website to offer its own API...We allow free-market forces to naturally select the best APIs offered for any given problem as they spring up."

"What comes to be most used...is up to the market to decide: millions of Web apps deciding which API's to plug in to...The model works in the interests of a constantly evolving Web," he writes.

Bloggers noted that for WebAPI to work, it will depend on Google, Apple and Microsoft to adopt it. That won't be an easy task, they noted.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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