The experience of the FirefoxOS Apps Day in Toronto #firefoxos

The last Saturday was the FirefoxOS Apps Day. It’s been a world wide event, from Argentina to Roumania, from Spain or Japan. Here en Canada there were two cities hosting the event, Vancouver and Toronto. Basically, it was a event to present the brand new FirefoxOS, an open operative system by Mozilla and the Spanish telco Telefonica.

The event was hosted in the amazing Mozilla’s office between Chinatown and the downtown of Toronto. It was pretty informal because was intended to be more of a hackaton than a conference. Even though, there was a couple of slots to speakers. The first one was John Karahalis giving a brief introduction to FirefoxOS. After him, Jennifer Fong-Adwent and Jonathan Lin of Mozilla shared tools and technology built to extend and support the new platform. Then the hacking part started for 4 hours. Our turn came after the hacking time, and we presented Dr. Glearning for FirefoxOS, talking a bit about motivation and goal, but focused on the problems we found developing for FirefoxOS in both modes (hosted and packaged apps), and how we came up with solutions and workarounds.

Later, was the time for showing demos built during the hacking time. Even if 4 hours is not time enough to develop something complete, I was amazed by two different factors: first the creativity of the developers, from utils apps like the ones you use everyday to check the trolley time, to games in cavalier projections; and second the good taste in matters of design, specially one on Pomodore Technique and another one on compass. And everything in just 4 hours!

My conclusion, after seeing the success of the event in other parts of the world as well, it’s that event was a perfect starting point to captivate developers on the simplicity of developing for FirefoxOS. But Mozilla still has a long way ahead. One thing to the future could be a World App Challenge with good prizes for the winners. But I have to say that all the teams that presented a demo got one of the awesome GeeksPhone with FirefoxOS, a very elegant detail for the attendees to the event from Mozilla’s part.

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