Mozilla plans to remote WebRT (WebRuntime) from Firefox for the desktop and for Android. The feature, which most Firefox probably never heard of or came in contact with, is the latest in a series that is getting removed from the web browser.
WebRT was implemented in 2012 in Firefox for the desktop and found its way into the Android version of Firefox in 2013.
So where do users come into contact with WebRT in Firefox, and what it is being good for?
Mozilla's Wiki describes WebRT in the following way:
The Web Runtime project builds application runtimes that enable users to install and run Open Web Apps on Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
It enables users of the browser to install apps using Firefox that behave like native programs of the operating system. This includes entries in the start menu or other locations, and being listed as an installed program.
On Windows, WebRT apps show up in the Windows Start Menu and in the Control Panel applet listing all installed software.
Several links point to applications in current versions of Firefox. A tap on the Alt-key and the selection of Tools displays an Apps entry there for instance, and there are also links on about:home, and as an icon under customize that Firefox users can drag and drop to a visible part of the interface.
The links lead to the Firefox Marketplace from where WebRT applications can be installed in the browser.
Mozilla plans to remove WebRT support from Firefox, and the reason provided is found on the official Firefox Dev discussion group:
Both runtimes were deprioritized by MoCo around the times they initially
shipped, and they've seen little activity since. Bugs have gone unfixed,
enhancements have gone unimplemented, and unit tests have broken and
been disabled. Although their core functionality continues to work,
their developer and user experiences are poor, and their technical debt
is substantial and growing.
The Runtime Engineering team has also been disbanded, and its engineers
have been reassigned to other projects. MoCo no longer invests in the
runtimes, and it hasn't for years.
Basically, there is little interest in the feature both from a user and Mozilla's side.
It is unclear right now when WebRT will be removed as a whole from Firefox, but it is certain that this is going to happen rather sooner than later. The two bugs you may want to monitor for that are 1238079 and 1235869. (via Sören Hentzschel)
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