Environment

r2d2b2g: an experimental prototype Firefox OS test environment

Developers building apps for Firefox OS should be able to test them without having to deploy them to actual devices. I looked into the state of the art recently and found that the existing desktop test environments, like B2G Desktop, the B2G Emulators, and Firefox’s Responsive Design View, are either difficult to configure or significantly different from Firefox OS on a phone.

Firefox add-ons provide one of the simplest software installation and update experiences. And B2G Desktop is a lot like a phone. So I decided to experiment with distributing B2G Desktop via an add-on. And the result is r2d2b2g, an experimental prototype test environment for Firefox OS.

How It Works

r2d2b2g bundles B2G Desktop with Firefox menu items for accessing that test environment and installing an app into it. With r2d2b2g, starting B2G Desktop is as simple as selecting Tools > B2G Desktop:

B2G Desktop Menu Item

To install an app into B2G Desktop, navigate to it in Firefox, then select Tools > Install Page as App:

Install Page As App Menu Item

r2d2b2g will install the app and start B2G Desktop so you can see the app the way it’ll appear to Firefox OS users:

B2G Desktop

Try it out!

Note that r2d2b2g is an experiment, not a product! It is neither stable nor complete, and its features may change or be removed over time. Or we might end the project after learning what we can from it. But if you’re the adventurous sort, and you’d like to provide feedback on this investigation into a potential future product direction, then we’d love to hear from you!

Install r2d2b2g via these platform-specific XPIs: Mac, Linux (32-bit), or Windows (caveat: the Windows version of B2G Desktop currently crashes on startup due to bug 794662 795484), or fork it on GitHub, and let us know what you think!

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