My presentation at MozCamp EU

21 September, 2012 § 5 Comments

The Social API

Two weekends ago I was at MozCamp EU in Warsaw, Poland. Gavin Sharp and I presented on Sunday afternoon, going over Firefox’s upcoming Social API. We showcased its capabilities and answered questions about the roadmap for the feature.

The video of our talk is not online at the moment, but I will update this blog post when the video becomes available.

To demo the Social API, I made a sample social provider that instruments most of the Social API features. The provider is called Ephemeral, and it revolves around short-lived communications.


The main features of Ephemeral are its chat rooms and its ability to share webpages with the whole network. Up to 15 webpages can be shared among the network at any given time with new messages replacing older ones.

If you are on a webpage that you would like to share with others on Ephemeral, click on the martini glass in the location bar. This button instantly shares the webpage with the social network. Clicking on the now-empty martini glass will display a share panel where you can “unshare” the page. Unsharing will remove all instances of this page from the shared pages in the social network.

This last bit gives a sense of anarchy to the network 🙂

To test out my sample social provider perform the following steps:

1) Go to about:config
2) Right-click on a preference and create a New -> String preference with the following values:
2a) name = social.provider.ephemeral
2b) value = {"origin":"","name":"Ephemeral","workerURL":"","iconURL":"","sidebarURL":""}
3) Enable the preference
4) Enable the social.enabled preference

Please Help Test

I, and the others working on the Social API, could really use your help in testing this new featureset out. If you’ve got bugs, issues, or feedback about Ephemeral or the Social API, please post them on this Etherpad.

Determining where the bug lies (Ephemeral vs. Social API) can be tricky, so I’ll take care of triaging the responses.

In Summary

The Social API is really cool. It will allow websites to gain tighter integration with the webbrowser without having to write XUL or modify the browser chrome.

If you are interested in making your own social provider, you can reference the Social API documentation on GitHub. Feel free to also follow the source code for my demo provider, although be nice since I only spent two days making it 🙂

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