Mozilla has been busy these past few years cooking up some great products like Firefox OS and Persona – products we’ve spent some time optimizing our integration for. I wanted to take some time to give a brief overview of Firefox OS and Persona, as well as how Clay.io fits into the mix.
An Overview of Firefox OS
A while back we received an early version of a Firefox OS test device. We tested a few things out on it at first, but nothing too extensive. More recently, now that Firefox OS has officially launched in a few countries (Germany, Poland, Spain, Columbia and Venezuela by my count and plenty more on the way) – and with that news we decided to spend a bit more time optimizing Clay.io for the operating system.
While Firefox OS isn’t one of the top 3 mobile operating systems by a long shot (it is after-all still in the launch phase), the product vision is something we completely agree with – an open mobile operating system.
An Overview of Persona
Persona is a separate product from Firefox OS, but was built in part to power user logins on the device.
Nowadays there are a lot of ways to login to a site… everything from the basic username password combo to Facebook, Twitter, Google, GitHub and quite a few other “social” logins. With a username and password, you can create your own identity, but at the risk of either a) having to remember countless passwords or b) use the same password on multiple services and risk one of those sites having a security flaw that exposes your data. With social logins, the password issue is mostly resolved and signing up is easier, but the lines between your “real life” and internet life are blurred – the site you’re joining gets personal information, which a lot of people don’t like.
Persona is Mozilla’s initiative to create “a better way to sign in”. It’s similar to a social login like Facebook Connect, but without all of the personal data tied to it – just your email. The idea is that *you* own your data, not some large company.
Clay.io and Firefox OS / Persona
In December of last year we first integrated Persona as an alternative method of logging in – around that time, we did a bit to optimize Clay.io on Firefox, but not much.
More recently we’ve gone in and made a few customizations for the site and API on Firefox OS.
The most noticeable change is the “Sign in with your Email” (AKA Persona) as the default. Persona is baked into Firefox OS, so the login process is pretty smooth – plus most Firefox OS users will already have a Persona account (it’s necessary for the Firefox Marketplace).
How This Affects You, The Developer
Odds are you don’t have a phone running Firefox OS… But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop for it.
First off, if your game is anywhere on the web (for example, our own marketplace), it can be installed to the home screen on a Firefox OS device – Clay.io already takes care of all of the manifest stuff to make that run as smooth as possible.
As far as the Clay.io API goes, it works out of the box in Firefox OS games. If you have the API setup in your game that runs in Chrome, the API will scale properly and run on mobile devices including Firefox OS and Firefox OS packaged apps. Our goal has always been to make it incredibly easy to integrate high level features that work on any device.
For better discoverability on Firefox OS, you’ll probably want to get your game in the Firefox Marketplace. Clay.io has you covered on that front as well – we make it even easier to get your game on the marketplace (documentation here). To see how your game looks and runs in Firefox OS, you can use the Firefox OS Simulator. You won’t be receiving huge amounts of traffic from the marketplace just yet, but it is a growing ecosystem.
How This Affects You, The Game Player
If you don’t have a Firefox OS phone, this doesn’t affect you at all. If you do have a Firefox OS phone, the biggest change is that the primary login method is Persona – we’d love to hear your thoughts on that decision!
We admire all of what Mozilla has done and will continue to support in their efforts to make the web better.