June 6, 2015. Professionals from different factions of the IT Industry gathered at Mozilla Community Space, Manila, to experience the Firefox OS application development with the support of Mozilla Philippines representatives and the generosity of DevCon PH.
Introducing the event, Ms. Shumate Royo of DevCon PH, participants were informed with what DevCon is all about and how it achieves to become the bridge of support and camaraderie for all IT enthusiasts, especially the dedicated developers of our country.
Sir Bob Reyes from Mozilla Philippines, expressed Mozilla PH as a team that aspires to involve young idealists to become a part of the Mozilla world. He mentions a few of their services and projects. One project he mentioned was the Localization of Mozilla Firefox in Tagalog, which he leads. He also offered the Mozilla Community Space here at Manila as a lounge for anyone who wants to have a peaceful hangout for developing their own projects or exploring the world of code at their free time. To know more about the perks of occupying their humble home, visit www.mozspacemnl.org.
After the dialogue for the introduction to Mozilla PH came Mr. Aaron Cajes, also a Mozilla Rep, who works for Cherry Mobile. He has been with Mozilla PH since his college years, until now, Mr. Cajes eagerly helps the team by instructing to code camps such as this event.
Mr. Cajes introduced Firefox OS and its goals to technological innovation. He featured the Cherry Mobile Ace, a cheap and efficient smartphone, powered by Firefox OS. He also showed a clip illustrating Mozilla's vision of empowering their operating system as a functional everyday utility, accessible from watches to smartphones to washing machines.
Creating apps for Firefox OS. You'll be surprised, you might think it will be hard to develop one to run on this platform. But just a couple of installations, a firefox browser, and a text editor. You are good to go.
How easy is it to make one? Follow the workflow for an installable app. Just a few reminders like what are the limitations and the maximum capabilities are things you might need to take note.
What are the pre requisites for you to start making one? Well, like the new languages appearing from every corner of the IT industry, developing an app requires you to have some knowledge from the ancestors of machine language, like Java and HTML.
Attendees take notes and carry over their laptops with what instructor Aaron was presenting. Aaron reasoned about the innovation from low end devices that people who has not experienced smartphones yet, should try their first touch to these gadgets with a unit running under a Firefox Operating System. It would serve as a very good starter for the use of next generation gadgets, he added.
Surprisingly, simulators load very fast and smooth. Advantages of developing a Firefox OS app seems to have a lot more comforting characteristics when it comes to an accelerated compiling and debugging. Sir Aaron and the attendees continued on coding their first Firefox OS application with the use of the Firefox Web IDE.
The brainstorming for the hackathon and the application development started right after lunch. The participants were given an hour and a half to come up with the most public-efficient, as the instructor has said, application and the best one will receive a brand new Cherry Mobile Ace, and a couple of consolation prices for the runner ups. While waiting for the 'hackers' to finish their programs, Mr. Cajes demonstrated several features of the Firefox developer browser, such as the Tilt 3D, the scratchpad, and the responsive simulator tool, all very much essential for web developers and web designers. It's quite amazing to think that these services are totally free. And to realize that Mozilla is also a non profit organization.
It's judgment time, the programmers showed their masterpiece to the whole Mozilla staff. Even one of us from the volunteers decided to give it a go. There were three groups. The first one presented an app with a function of providing the user the latest news from government resources(e.g. Philippine Official Gazette). The second presenter discussed the concept of his app which states a summary of an entered website URL. The third and the last presenter, one of the volunteers, made a GPS powered app. Inspired by his experience of getting through the event venue.
The Firefox marketplace was also introduced. Firefox marketplace is where a developer submits his or her app. All services regarding the validation to deployment of the app and up to support are performed through marketplace. All you have to do is create a Firefox account.
Finally, the awarding session took place. The third place was awarded to the web info application. The second to the ladies group from SSC, and the winner who took home a brand new Cherry Mobile Ace was from the volunteers, the GPS powered app.
It was indeed a great time to have the day spent joyfully with the Mozilla staff, the energetic DevCon volunteers, and the group of friendly participants. A day of Firefox OS application development is a day well spent.