At first glance, Mozilla’s new app-maker interface seems fairly simple. With its suggested list of components to add, it emulates a drag-and-drop style that most people who use ‘wysiwyg’ (what you see is what you get) applications will be familiar with.
After adding a few components and getting a feel for the tool, it becomes apparent that various elements can communicate with each other via coloured channels. These send out ticks or ping messages to other parts, updating pie charts and counters with new figures.
While this is still in its most basic stage, it already shows a lot of promise as a learning tool. As we mentioned in a previous article, there is an ongoing initiative to get the country programming and a tool that can illustrate the basic inner workings of an application with drag-and-drop interface elements could prove invaluable.
The app-builder also gives the user the opportunity to try their hand at coding, with a range of options to edit, including HTML and JS. This will no doubt encourage users to delve a little deeper and experiment.
Mozilla has been a pioneer of web development over the years, creating tools that assist users and developers alike in getting a broader understanding of the web. This is certainly one of the tools to keep an eye on as it has the potential to open up the market of app development to a whole new generation of designers who have the ideas without the coding skills.