Install Firefox OS Apps on Any Domain

By  on  

The app store models we've grown up with suck:  you have to install apps from within those stores.  With iOS you go to a site, they provide a link to install their app, and you get swapped from the browser to the App store.  What an awful user experience.  The brilliant minds at Mozilla have found the solution to this annoying problem:  an installation system via the browser.  Let me show you how you can install your Firefox app outside of the Firefox Marketplace.

Part One:  manifest.webapp

Every Firefox OS app requires an manifest.webapp file and one of the manifest keys is installs_allowed_from, an array of hostnames which the app may be installed from:

{
  "version": "0.1",
  "name": "My App",
  "description": "My new awesome Open Web App",
  "developer": {
    "name": "Your Name",
    "url": "http://yourawesomeapp.com"
  },
  "installs_allowed_from": [
    "https://marketplace.mozilla.org",
  "https://davidwalsh.name"
  ]
}

Add the domain(s) you'd like to the installs_allowed_from array and you're golden.  Note that if you set the value of installs_allowed_from to ["*"], the app can be installed from any domain.

Part Two:  navigator.mozApps.install

The navigator.mozApps.install method triggers an installation of a web app on desktop or mobile device:

var manifestLocation = "https://davidwalsh.name/manifest.webapp"; // your domain here
var installRequest = navigator.mozApps.install(manifestLocation);

installRequest.onsuccess = function(data) {
    // App installed successfully!
};

installRequest.onerror = function(err) {
    // App couldn't be installed!
    console.log("Install error!");
};

The install method accepts a URL to the app's manifest.  The resulting object provides onsuccess and onerror callbacks to allow developers to respond to the result (i.e. hide the install button or display the install error).

The ability to install a Firefox OS app from any domain is a bonus you haven't gotten with iOS; this META tag is the closest you'll get.  Create a compatible manifest.webapp file and utilize navigator.mozApps.install to install your app from any qualifying domain.  Isn't Firefox OS' app install model beautiful?

Recent Features

  • By
    Create Namespaced Classes with MooTools

    MooTools has always gotten a bit of grief for not inherently using and standardizing namespaced-based JavaScript classes like the Dojo Toolkit does.  Many developers create their classes as globals which is generally frowned up.  I mostly disagree with that stance, but each to their own.  In any event...

  • By
    Create a CSS Cube

    CSS cubes really showcase what CSS has become over the years, evolving from simple color and dimension directives to a language capable of creating deep, creative visuals.  Add animation and you've got something really neat.  Unfortunately each CSS cube tutorial I've read is a bit...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Create WordPress Page Templates with Custom Queries

    One of my main goals with the redesign was to make it easier for visitors to find the information that was most popular on my site. Not to my surprise, posts about MooTools, jQuery, and CSS were at the top of the list. What...

  • By
    MooTools Zebra Table Plugin

    I released my first MooTools class over a year ago. It was a really minimalistic approach to zebra tables and a great first class to write. I took some time to update and improve the class. The XHTML You may have as many tables as...

Discussion

  1. Bob

    I think you’re trying to hard to sell us on this.

  2. bobby

    Bob it a little thing called passion. Don’t worry its a new concept, you’ll pick up on it sooner or later.

  3. If your app is not paid-for, then you should allow it to spread and be incorporated into other app stores and platforms in the open ecosystem by setting install_allowed_from to * or omitting it entirely.

    Gerv

  4. Tiago Celestino

    Can I develop app in localhost? How to config .manifest?

  5. Note that at least for free apps, the official advice is nowadays to omit “installs_allowed_from” completely, which implied the [“*”] setting. Why specify it when you allow everyone to install it freely? ;-)

  6. I would like to ask where is the best location to put the “navigator.mozApps.install” method? Let just say I have 15 static page, do I have to insert the “navigator.mozApps.install” method on every page?

  7. You can place that in an external “.js” file and include that on every page.

    • Hi David, I don’t really get part 2. Could you make a demo out of it? Will be a great help for me. Thanks.

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!