Mozilla calls on coders for Web-tool index

The Open Web Tools Directory is Mozilla's attempt to build a comprehensive list of all open-source developer tools out there.

Adrian Bridgwater
2 min read


Mozilla Labs has set up the Open Web Tools Directory, a bid to build a comprehensive list of the open-source developer tools available.

The open-source browser project issued a call this week to the programmer community to help with the construction of the new central database.

"As we've explored different tools we could create here as part of the Developer Tools Lab, we've come to the opinion that in addition to creating new tools, one of the best things we could do is help developers understand the broad universe of tools that already exist and expose some of the fantastic and amazing work that's being done," Ben Galbraith, a member of Mozilla Labs Developer Tools team, said in a blog post.

This new repository comes in response to what Mozilla says is a lack of any centralized and navigable list of open-source tools. The Open Web Tools Directory site features a search box with Design, Code, Debug, Test, Deploy and Docs filters to help direct programmers to the applications most suited to their needs.

"It turns out that keeping up with all the development in this space is really difficult--even for folks like us who have been tracking it every day for years," Galbraith said. "We're looking forward to evolving the directory and working with the Web community to make it a vibrant resource for discovering and tracking the Web's amazing tools universe."

The index is laid out in what Galbraith describes as a "space" theme, with scattered thumbnails rather than a listing. Developers interested in reviewing that index of tools will need a browser with Canvas (the part of HTML5 that allows dynamic rendering of bitmap images) to view the content, such as Firefox 3.5, Safari 4, Chrome 2, or Opera 9. However, Mozilla has also provided a more accessible version of the directory with screen reader support and for browsers without Canvas support.

Developers interested in helping to expand the Open Web Tools Directory can use the site's data entry form to submit tool suggestions. Mozilla Labs is looking to the community to "fill up the directory with the hundreds or thousands of items" that they themselves have missed, Galbraith said.

Mozilla will review all submissions before they are added to the live site. The organization is also exploring longer-term concepts for augmenting the database, such as social participation features to enable tools to be ranked and commented on by community members.

Adrian Bridgwater of ZDNet UK reported from London.