Application meta data for the web
The Intel web team cares a lot about enabling real apps based on web technology. The web has had a huge impact on our industry and all of our lives, and we believe it would be sad if that impact and innovation doesn't become part of the new mobile world.
The foundation of the web is based around URLs. You type in an URL or click on a bookmark and the web site or applications loads transparently. If you click on another link, that might load another site or application. The linkability and discoverability of new sites and applications is fundamental to the web and the success it has brought. There are other advances such a deep linking, indexability, among others.
In recent years people have started using apps to perform various tasks and that also works reasonably well on the web, with applications such as GMail, Google Maps, Feedly etc. But on a mobile device people usually don't enter an URL to start their apps, but instead tap on an icon on the launch screen - so wouldn't it be nice to be able to bookmark your favorite web apps right to the launcher?
iOS has had this ability for a while and Chrome now supports the same on Android, but the developers have not really been able to control much of the flow, apart from setting title and icon.
At Intel we have been working together with the community and the W3C on creating a new specification called the Manifest for web application. It provides one entry to declaring information, aka meta data, about the application such as title, icon, initial allowed orientations, display mode and much more.
The specification is pretty solid for a version 1 and implementations are now happening in Firefox and Chrome. In Chrome, Mounir Lamouri recently added the first patches allowing for fetching the manifest, and I have been working on integrating it with Content Security Policy.
When the initial code is done, work can start on the JSON parser. The idea is redoing the manifest support in Crosswalk on top of the new code base which means that everything will work exactly the same way between Chrome and Crosswalk, while still allowing Crosswalk to provide its own extensions.
By Kenneth Rohde Christiansen