First post ever of my Mozillians experience as guest speaker, this time for Firefox OS developing experience and tools in Rimini 16th of May 2015.
Like I said this was the first time I have been able to discuss face to face with an interested audience about this topic and I’ve put a lot of effort covering the material and providing an interesting approach to the topic with a presentation (in html5, obviously ;) ).
The host was the Rimini LUG, whose president, Roberto, got in touch with the community after the event in Bologna last year. Roberto is a keen fan of Firefox OS and ditched his smartphone to get a Flame last year (way to go!).
Roberto got everything sorted out from the hotel to the venue and the dinner, a big thanks from Florence, I’ll surely came back if invited :) .
Before the talks we chit chatted with the members of the LUG, many of them wanted to ask questions about the quick guide and the absence of the developer tools from the guide.
Some question were about managing the use of Firefox in enterprise/academic solution and the best resource we coul point those users to was the page on the MDN documentation.
A tought question was “How can I install Firefox OS on my phone?” we couldn’t give an exaoustive answer because we are not familiar with the process of coocking custom rom from source for a generic device but we provided links to the documentation on MDN or XDA.
Beginning in the early afternoon the event consisted of four talks, three held by Daniele Scasciafratte and one by me. The first three covered the “What is Mozilla”, “The Mozilla manifesto” and “Programming OpenWeb App” topic of the event; the presentation were solid (materials refined in the years) and the audience showed interest and asked question like “In what Mozilla differs from the FSF?”, “What does a Mozillian?”, “Is there a italian community?”, “How can I flash Firefox OS on my phone?”, “Is there Whatsapp for Firefox OS?”.
During Daniele’s talks I was able to provide informations and manage hands-on test of the devices with Firefox OS that we had at the moment. We had a Flame, a Keon, a Fire E and a Flatfish to show-off with various versions of Firefox OS ranging from 1.1 to 3.0 .
Then it was my turn, my first target was to give a quick answer to a question “Do we really need another mobile OS?”.
The answer lies in the question “Who owns the Internet? And who owns the Android project/iOS project?”. Obviously the answer is that no-one owns the internet, instead Android and iOS are commercial project just like the Sailfish OS or Tizen.
The real purpose of the Firefox OS project is to provide a real community driven mobile OS to the one who needs it, the users.
Then the talk shifted to the effort of the italian community, I talked mostly about the Firefox OS quick guide which we have translated, updated and re-published to ease the transition and the overhead required to get started with developmente on Firefox OS (yeah, dog-fooding).
But what is needed to develop an OpenWeb App?
I introduced the standard tools (HTML, JS and CSS) for web dev, their purpose in web programming and their benefits. Multiplatform and multidevices standards, ease of distributions were the ones I mostly talked of.
But in order to develop OpenWeb Apps you need more than just the standard tools, you need to glue together the device and the web and the only (super)glue we could use is the browser.
The browser can expose device functionalities to the web with the use of the WebAPIs, this is a central topic in the Firefox OS development but I could not cover every API so the introduction featured a wide and generic approach, not a deep and technical one, which maybe should suits better an event like an hackathlon.
But you can’t go out there alone, with just those standard tools, take theese, the Firefox Developer Edition browser and the WebIDE, your toolbelt new best tools. A quick introduction about these new tools and we were ready for the last topic, the use of Firefox Developers Tool.
The last topics that I wanted to talk about were the Firefox Developer Tools, mostly the CSS editor and the JS debugger but I managed to provide a brief overview of every standard tool.
There were many questions about development, pricing, logic obfuscation and the differences between building an app with NodeJS and an app with an embedded server and most of the audience was satisfied with the answer we could give.
We are still waiting for some feedback (first time using a feedback module) but everyone complimented us for the talks and no one left with unanswered questions.
After 3 hours and a half of talks and Q&A we could have used some help, maybe a shower, but Roberto already planned to fill our body with a delicious dinner in the countryside with all the associates and families of the Rimini LUG, probably the best idea of the day.
Last but not least I got a membership card of the Rimini LUG as a gift, hooray for me!