This would allow for Electron-like frameworks that work on top of Gecko and SpiderMonkey instead of Chromium via CEF.
It would also be good for embedding webpages in desktop applications. As it stands, CEF is the go to for this along with some WebKit-based options like WPE.
Why is it that Webkit and Chromium technologies are actively used outside of the browser, but Gecko is not?
Let me just say this once:
Mozilla NEEDS THIS BADLY!!!
This is likely the reason Firefox is the only major browser that is not based on Chromium right now. The CEF and other tools like Electron provide an easy to use framework for Blink, which makes Chromium compatibility the standard, and competitors don't even question it.
If there was a Gecko based CEF equivalent, Chromium would no longer be the de-facto embedded browser of virtually everything except iOS, and it would allow developers to have an actual choice, putting Firefox back on the map.
This idea was put "in review" a year ago, I hope that the Mozilla team has had the opportunity to have a look at it and consider it.
Offer alternatives to Chromium and Electron so that browsers and apps don’t have all to be Chrome
Chrome being by far the most used browser is only one part of the issue with this browser quasi-monopoly, with all the lack of ecosystem diversity and dominant position abuse that it can create.
There are two other tenants to it:
— Chromium: most browsers nowadays are based on Chromium (Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Arc, Brave, …)— Electron: most major standalone desktop of web apps are based on Electron, which is itself based on Chromium (Slack, Figma, Discord, Notion, Skype, Visual Studio Code, Whatsapp, …)
Mozilla, with its platform and the Gecko engine, is maybe the only major alternative.
But what Mozilla does with it is almost only one browser. Even if open source and freely licensed, the platform is not really ready to pick up by other developers.
I think it’s time and crucial to start turning the tech behind Firefox into an easy-to-tinker-with platform to develop new apps. And have two solutions (which could be one in some ways) to provide viable alternatives to the two points mentioned above:
— Gecko Browser Kit, a good base to easily build a browser from, with everything that is needed for creating a new web browsing app using Mozilla and Web technologies. This would be an alternative to Chromium.— Gecko App Kit, a solid way to embed a web app into a standalone desktop app (or even mobile app). This would be an alternative to Electron.
* Names here are obviously placeholders.
New browsers and new standalone web apps would now have two choices to base themselves on: the Google one and the Mozilla one. Some existing browsers and standalone web apps might even switch from Chromium and Electron to the Gecko-based solutions, if what Mozilla provides has some advantages or if they believe enough in web diversity.
I feel only this would bring back some choice and cracks some of Google’s monopoly. Operating on the user-facing browser front alone is not enough.
And this might bring more hands to help with developing Gecko and Mozilla technologies: if some companies or organisations that make Gecko-backed browsers and apps start contributing back to the project, this would improve things for everyone and release some stress from Mozilla.
Eventually, Firefox itself could be based on this “Gecko Browser Kit”, becoming only one of the browsers based on this, and the reference implementation.
I see two precedents in Mozilla history:— In the mid-2000s, I remember apps based on Gecko/XUL being released, probably as it was a good platform to make cross-platform apps. There was for instance Songbird, a music player.— More recently, Mozilla released GeckoView, an alternative to WebView on Android. This is excellent, and exactly along the lines of what I’m proposing here: identifying where Google/Chromium/Blink is used outside of simply Chrome, and offering a Mozilla alternative there.
This is crucial and it would help preserving the open web as much as making Firefox.
(Note: a similar idea has been merged into this thread)
I really want something like this. Please.
If this idea is considered, I think the objective should be to implement it how Webview2 is in terms of functionality instead of CEF because the later is much more heavy on resources usage compared to the former.
I hope this happens. It's been in review for quite a while now, have there been any changes/updates about this since?
Letting us use Gecko instead of just Chromium would mean that big companies like Google and Apple aren't the only ones deciding how the web works. It's about giving developers choices and keeping the web open for everyone.
I would like to comment on this if this feature is developed here, perhaps a commercial advantage for Mozilla Firefox. Because most programs I use the structure called "electron" (which chromium - which is the open source alternative to google chrome browser) with html/css/js. Perhaps with these features, developers can use the gecko in the application development environment (Electron) or have an alternative with this - chromium and gecko options.