[How to] Test new apps for Firefox OS directly from Mozilla Firefox browser


Trend of new Mobile Operating system, must have challenged Mozilla too, so since past few months we are hearing news about Mozilla to launch Mobile Operating System developed under Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko (B2G) project. For your information, it uses a Linux kernel and boots into a Gecko-based runtime engine, which lets users to run applications, developed entirely using HTML, JavaScript, and other open web application APIs.

If someone among you over there are mobile programmers, then, you would be interested in making some apps of upcoming Firefox OS, don’t you? Problem here is how to test such apps for not yet launched Mobile OS. So, Mozilla has developed a plugin (some may say it as extension) named r2d2b2g (I totally don’t understand why they named it so), that runs as a simulator on your browser and on which you can host your apps and test them.

So, in this post we will go through some tips for programmers to use Firefox OS simulator on your browser.

Apps for Firefox OS; I am looking forward to add Angry Bird Starwars
Apps for Firefox OS; I am looking forward to add Angry Bird Starwars

Let’s begin with downloading the plugin.

[box title=”Firefox Simulator Add-on” color=”#FF6600″]

Click on the buttons to download and test Firefox OS on your Computer through Mozilla Firefox

Download Mac Preview

Download Linux (32-bit) Preview

Download Windows Preview

Experience Firefox OS in your browser and share us your views

If above link didn’t work you can visit here



After download is completed, go to the menu of your Firefox browser and choose Ad-ons. Click on the gear like icon on top-right and choose Install Ad-ons from file, browse to just downloaded plugin and you are ready to go. Wait! Wait! We are not completed yet. Door to the fun mania is now just opened.

Let’s open the Dashboard/ Firefox Simulator Manager first. To open Firefox Simulator manager, on browser menu choose Firefox OS Simulator under Web developer or use the ‘firefoxos manager’ command line on Developer Toolbar.

Simulator Manager window looks like this –

Test new apps for Firefox OS directly from Mozilla Firefox browser
Test new apps for Firefox OS directly from Mozilla Firefox browser

On the left, you’ll find some navigation controls including a switch that lets you start and stop the Simulator. You can also start and stop the Simulator using the ‘firefoxos start’ and ‘firefoxos stop’ commands in the Developer Toolbar. The “JS Console” checkbox allows you to start up B2G Desktop’s Error Console so that you can spot errors that might arise while you’re working on your apps.

Looks familiar; Don't get confused with iOS and Android, its Firefox now
Looks familiar; Don’t get confused with iOS and Android, its Firefox now

See the Manage Apps heading, under which you are going to add the app that is to be tested. Firefox Simulator Manager allows adding a URL of manifest or you can also host it directly from your computer. If you want to try some apps made by other users then you can visit marketplace from the Simulator.

So without delaying, let’s run simulator by sliding the switch. A new familiar window will appear. I said familiar because it looks a lot like iOS and Android. There’s a lock screen with slider to unlock and/or face recognition and home screen too. Apart from which there are some built in apps like contacts, map, calendar, calculator, phone settings and others stuffs.

And the real fun here is; Firefox Simulator has integrated an app for its Marketplace from where you can install apps of your choice. Although they don’t have many apps for now, you can still try some games, entertainment apps, book apps, education apps, music apps and other. Installing apps from marketplace is very simple – because they’re all basically mobile websites. Installation takes just a second, although it can take a bit longer than that to actually load some apps.

One thing I would like to point out is Home button, you won’t have to be confused how to go back to the home screen and search for which key to press. Home button will be always there, saying click me boy.

Firefox is working with its own Marketplace; no Android market now

Ultimately, the apps that will work best on Firefox OS phones will probably be those that use HTML5 and other web technologies to enable offline support, so you can use them even when you don’t have an internet connection. But right now most of the apps I’ve played with seem to be little more than websites that are optimized for mobile screens.

The Firefox OS Simulator is the easiest way to try out Firefox OS apps today and to verify how they’ll look before submitting them to the Marketplace.

What I experienced?

I played with new Firefox Simulator OS for about 3 hours before writing this article and I found it very interesting. I can test some apps from my own localhost, find errors from JS console. And Firefox Simulator OS, gives a friendly screens and inbuilt apps.

Apart from all those success I also experienced a glitch while opening Firefox Browser in the simulator. I was using Windows preview of the plugin.

You can install it today and share your experience to us by leaving comments.

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