Dev

In a commitment to the mobile web, Facebook open-sources Ringmark

Today, Facebook has open-sourced Ringmark, its new test suite for mobile device manufacturers.

Ringmark, which was announced just a few weeks ago at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is designed to run “tests of core functionality that web developers need in order to build their apps.” Ringmark is all about increasing the capabilites of the mobile web across devices and platforms.

“Ultimately, we believe that web technologies are important to the future of mobile and that we can help to make HTML5 a well-supported platform for mobile developers to build upon,” Facebook engineer Matt Kelly wrote today on the Facebook developer blog.

“For those that are building with the web today, it’s a major hurdle to learn native technologies like Objective-C and Java, and we hope that an improved mobile web can unlock a large contingency of developers that could, and will, be developing for mobile.”

A slew of powerful web companies, including Mozilla and Yahoo, have taken approximately the same stance and are focusing on technologies that make the open, mobile web — not just single-platform technology stacks like Android and iOS — a fruitful environment for mobile developers.

“Forget being in love with the open web and all that touchy-feely stuff,” Mozilla VP Jay Sullivan told VentureBeat in a recent interview. “If you want to have a variety of mobile apps, it gets expensive,” he said, referring to the need to build multiple apps for all the various mobile platforms.

With technologies like Node.js and Ringmark, however, the focus is shifting from developing one-off apps for siloed platforms to ensuring that mobile web apps run and run well everywhere, including fast and reliable performance as well as beautiful user experiences.

“The mobile web has great potential but still needs a lot of work,” Kelly said. “One of the most frustrating problems was that of fragmentation in mobile browser capabilities and of understanding what’s possible on any given mobile browser.”

Ringmark is designed to increase that understanding for everyone in the mobile web app supply chain, from device manufacturers to mobile browser makers to app developers. Facebook wants it to be “the canonical testing suite” for the mobile web, allowing developers to see at a glance what works, what doesn’t work, and why — all to bring normal Joes and Janes better mobile web apps to rival the native ones designed just for their mobile OS.

Interested would-be contributors to the Ringmark suite can check out the W3C Core Mobile Web Platform Community Group as well as the Ringmark repository on GitHub.

Image courtesy of Rangizzz, Shutterstock


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