Firefox Makes Progress on Metro Version

A preliminary version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser designed to work with Microsoft's Metro interface for Windows 8 is up and running, according to a blog post from platform engineer Brian Bondy.

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Nevertheless, he stopped short of asserting that the browser is ready for the next phase of development, despite the Firefox Roadmap's stated target of having a working prototype by the second quarter of 2012.

"I don't consider that 2012 Q2 goal met yet, we still have some open design questions, and a ton of platform integration work to do," Bondy wrote.

He did say, however, that much of the platform integration work needed to make Firefox interface smoothly with Metro has already been done. The browser now integrates with Metro's "snap" and "search charm" features, for example.

According to the platform engineer, it's crucial for Mozilla to implement robust support for Microsoft's controversial new Windows user interface.

"If a browser does not support Metro, it is seriously at risk of losing the default browser status, and therefore significant market share. A browser without support for Metro, if default, would be taking away a Metro browser completely from the user's computer," Bondy said.

While the success of Metro itself is far from assured - criticism of the new interface has been widespread - any opportunity for Firefox to regain market share will be regarded as welcome. The open-source browser found itself overtaken by Google Chrome for second place in the market behind Internet Explorer late last year, and has struggled to try and make up ground.

You can read Bondy's entire blog post here. 

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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