the firefox marketplace, a good place for IF?

Ahoj folks,

recently mozilla and their own “operating system” (firefox os) was a frequent news topic . I already put an output of inform7 into that marketplace and want to share my thoughts on it.

with so many android tablets outside and IF-interactors commuting in trains without proper internet connection the ease of using web-IF could be brought to them using open web apps.

first, yes there are many so called app stores for web content with the aim to centralize the offers and gain control. I think thats the point where mozillas approach differs.

For an open web app its not a must to publish it in the original Its also possible to put the install button anywhere else in the web. even inside the open web app itself.

You can see this for example in this demo of christian heilman within that little app:
in the upper right corner is an install button. if you browse the page with firefox this install button really works and can install this web app locally.

The next interesting thing is, its working in every kind of firefox. So it works similar on Desktop firefox gnu/linux, macos and windows. But also within firefox for android and especially on coming firefox os mobile phones. (

to test it, I put a story into the firefox marketplace. It runs offline also. You can test this with the flight mode on android for example. please don’t look at the content the story is not ready yet and in early stages. I just wanted to show, how this works:

To close this post, my two points are:
“we” the IF community could use this technique to offer an optional install-button for firefox users directly within the ifarchive, or we could embrace the mozilla marketplace or find a way to show the install button within the IF story itself. in short term I would like to help on an automated process to get an open web app possibility directly as an output of inform7.

the other thing is the layout and keyboard behavior in firefox for android needs some love since firefox version 21 ;o)

what do you think?

to get the feeling for firefox os, you can easily check out this addon:

ps: if anyone is interested I will document the little i’ve done to get it running. like getting an template from mozilla and just putting the onecolumn template by zarf in it.


If we can make it use the right technologies there’s no reason why it couldn’t support all browsers - the only Firefox specific thing is the install button.

I don’t think we should focus on single story apps, but instead work towards getting Parchment working offline. That is my plan at least, and I’d love help with it! Turning Parchment into a single story app is easy, but making a single story app into an app with a full library (like Zoom) would be much harder.

I was using the app cache at one point, but disabled it for reasons I can’t fully remember. It would be straightforward to enable again. The hard parts are getting offline storage working on all browsers (localStorage, IndexedDB, websql maybe, flash maybe - sometimes these don’t work for file: urls, which is sometimes I’m keen to support as fully as possible), and then coming up with a UI for selecting stories and savefiles.

That’s kind of a good argument for focussing on single-story apps first. :slight_smile:

Well I guess so. But in terms of doing such things in the Parchment codebase, I have to be careful because there’s no versioning in the web, and no one’s data should be lost in updates. I can include code to upgrade the database structure, but I’d prefer to do that as infrequently as possible.

I had been thinking to do it in stages, starting with localStorage. It could store just one storyfile, and potentially many savefiles. Support for multiple storyfiles would need IndexedDB.

thanks for your interest. and yes i agree that it’s easier to place the optional install button into the template page.

for these open web apps there are two different possibilities of packaging:

  • hosted somewhere and
  • all into a *.zip

the zip can be uploaded into the firefox marketplace but that is really not the “optional install button”.

and to make “hosted somewhere” easy for everyone means work. maybe to add “publish directly to” or ifarchive or something into inform7.

the main difference to a normal webpage is the additional manifest.webapp
for example my own one. (that also includes the manifest for the appcache for offline use.)

  "version": "0.3",
  "name": "tsosi",
  "description": "the secret of smiley island",
  "launch_path": "/tsosi-app/index.html",
  "icons": {
    "16": "/tsosi-app/img/icons/mortar-16.png",
    "48": "/tsosi-app/img/icons/mortar-48.png",
    "128": "/tsosi-app/img/icons/mortar-128.png"
  "developer": {
    "name": "stereo",
    "url": ""
  "appcache_path": "/tsosi-app/manifest.appcache",
  "installs_allowed_from": ["*"],
  "default_locale": "en"

and to make it hard for experiments there is a fresh bug at mozilla, so no apps can be installed on gnu/linux out of the marketplace ;o)

so i try to investigate that one first…


the real bug is closed (

and today the open web apps can be installed on all firefox desktops again, and on android and firefox os the same way.