Feeds

Google 'open' to Chrome Web Store without the Chrome bit

Fashions browser agnostic 'installable' web apps

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Update: This story has been updated with comments from Mozilla's Jay Sullivan.

Google says it's "open" to building a version of its brand new Chrome Web Store that plays nicely with other browsers, and it has already fashioned tools that will allow Chrome Web Store shoppers to "install" apps on other browsers.

In May, when Google first unveiled its Chrome Web Store – a marketplace for web apps that's specific to Google's Chrome browser and its still-gestating Chrome OS – Mozilla told the world that it preferred a web app store that's browser agnostic – or rather, a whole ecosystem of independent web app stores that are browser agnostic. And this October, the open source outfit released a prototype for such a store.

Today, at the annual Add-on-Con browser confab in Mountain View, California, we asked Google engineer Eric Kay if Google intended to follow Mozilla's lead by embracing a store that wasn't tied to its own browser, and he responded by indicating that Google will soon announce what it calls "CRX-less" web apps – web apps that can be installed from the Chrome Web Store onto third-party browsers. CRX is the file extension associated with Chrome.

"Basically, this gets rid of the Chrome-specific parts of the installable web-app metaphor," he said. In addition to offering extensions and browser "themes," the Chrome Web Store punts what Google calls "installable web apps". Google separates these into two categories: hosted apps and packaged apps. Hosted apps are just websites with some extra metadata for, say, adding an app-launch icon to your browser. With these, you're mimicking installation. You're adding metadata that lets you easily return to the app again and again. Packaged apps are web apps that you can actually download, and these can use the Chrome Extension APIs.

CRX-less web apps are hosted apps that can mimic installation on third-party browsers.

Kay said that shortly after it announced the Chrome Web Store in May, Google proposed its CRX-less setup to the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), and he said that Mozilla's prototype store was "pretty close" to Google's proposal.

"We talked on and off about how to move forward and make sure we're all on the same page on this front. But from day-one we were reaching out to standards bodies and other browser vendors, and we hope that we can come to an agreement on standards," Kay said.

Later in the day, Mozilla vice president of products Jay Sullivan told us that he was not aware of any discussions between Google and Mozilla on the matter. And he was not aware of Google's work on CRX-less web apps.

He did add, however, that some things "will be hard to standardized on," including extensions and themes. "There are always going to be hooks that are browser-specific," he said.

He even acknowledged that there are some fundamental differences in the way various browser makers see such a store operating. "Things like packaged apps are – in the short to mid-term – going to remain Chrome-specific," he said. "But we're definitely open to working with other browser vendors." ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.