Mozilla evangelist talks favorite Firefox OS phone apps and addresses misconceptions

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Jason Weathersby is an experienced coder and co-author of Integrating and Extending BIRT. His earlier work with HTML and Javascript recently led him to join Mozilla as one of their many Technical Evangelists.

"Every day I get to work on some of the coolest technology on the planet, and I really enjoy working with some of the brightest and passionate people I have ever met," Weathersby said.

I caught up with Jason to get his insight on the Firefox OS Geeksphone, as well as, learn more about what got him to where he is now, tips and tricks of the trade, plus a peak into his presentation for the upcoming All Things Open conference. Read on in this interview.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I have been working in software development since the early 90s. I began my career writing plant automation software in C. Later I moved into BI and Java development and worked as the primary Evangelist for the Eclipse BIRT project. Being that the project was heavily focused on Web based BI, I worked a good bit with HTML and JavaScript, which lead to me joining Mozilla.

As the technical evangelist for Mozilla, who is your audience and can you break down some of the key features you're focused on educating that audience about?

I am one of many Technical Evangelists at Mozilla advocating for Firefox OS; we also have a large community of volunteers that dedicate their own time to help champion its development. The Firefox OS audience is quite diverse but is generally focused on HTML5 based web apps. While Mozilla champions HTML5 development, in my area we are trying to focus on the specific Web APIs that are available to the Firefox OS Mobile developer. In addition we like to educate developers on the best optimizations, debugging and profiling techniques, and new features provided with each release of the OS.

Do you have a Firefox OS phone? What are some apps that you like?Firefox OS Phone

Yes, I have a Firefox OS Developer Preview Geeksphone that I got before we launched Firefox OS. As a developer, I love the ease in which I can build and test apps.

Firefox OS is designed to be for all web developers, and it is a big bonus to not have to learn a new language to develop mobile apps. As far as some of my favorite apps go, there are a lot of them that I like: Twitter, Captain Rogers, Kayak, and BuzzFeed.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you're encountering when you talk to people outside Mozilla about Firefox OS?

Probably the biggest misconception is that Firefox OS has no offline capabilities and that it needs to be always connected. I assume this misconception comes from the fact that it is a web-based OS, but Firefox OS offers offline cache which allows apps to function properly when the user has no data/wireless connection.

What is the company culture like at Mozilla?

Before coming to Mozilla, I had read many articles on what it is like to work here. Almost all of them said that it is so great to work with the best and brightest in the industry. After getting here, I realized those articles were not exaggerating. Every day I get to work on some of the coolest technology on the planet, and I really enjoy working with some of the brightest and passionate people I have ever met.

Can you give us a sneak preview as to what you will cover in your All Things Open talk (without giving too much away)?

I will be covering the genesis and architecture of Firefox OS. I will also be showing how to make a Firefox OS app including explaining about web APIs and the available components that can get you up and running quickly.


 

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