Closed Bug 1602117 (ssb) Opened 5 years ago Closed 3 years ago

Site specific browser prototype


(Firefox :: General, enhancement)

Not set





(Reporter: mossop, Unassigned)




(1 file)

A tracking bug for landing the site specific browser prototype. The goal is to be able to launch a site out into its own window with minimal UI. Attempts to navigate outside of the site will be redirected back to the main browser.

This will land preffed off by default for the time being.

Depends on: 1602123
Depends on: 1602168
Depends on: 1602173
Depends on: 1602176
Depends on: 1602184
Depends on: 1602186
Depends on: 1602187
Depends on: 1602189
Depends on: 1602191
Depends on: 1602194
Depends on: 1602195
Depends on: 1602196
Depends on: 1602197
Depends on: 1602528
Depends on: 1602849
Depends on: 1603225
Depends on: 1603272
Depends on: 1603531
Depends on: 1603787
Depends on: 1604235
Depends on: 1604272
Depends on: 1604276
Depends on: 1604279
Depends on: 1604285
Depends on: 1604287
Depends on: 1604290
Depends on: 1604424
Depends on: 1605446

Just so you know, we had a lot of platform-specific code for "installing" apps when we had the webruntime ( You could possibly re-use some of that code.

Is this the installation feature of PWA?

Depends on: 1617679
Depends on: 1617682
Depends on: 1617683
Depends on: 1623394

SSB need support webextension.

Depends on: 1622046
Depends on: 1627803
Depends on: 1631271
Depends on: 1650487
Assignee: dtownsend → nobody
Depends on: 1652334
Depends on: 1653742

Hi guys is there a way create a independent desktop web app on mac using firefox SSB? Looking for a way to run in a pwa like app on firefox (if thats possible). I tried launch in app mode but it keeps all the windows under the firefox app no dedicated launch app like chrome.

Using firefox nightly 80.0a1 (2020-07-14) (64-bit) on Mac OS

The feature i listed above works on windows

Original reddit post (bit new here)

(In reply to rihcus02 from comment #5)

Hi guys is there a way create a independent desktop web app on mac using firefox SSB?

No and you'd be better off asking in support forums or in chat, bugzilla is not a support tool.

Depends on: 1655271
Depends on: 1658606
See Also: → desktop-pwa
Alias: ssb
Depends on: 1667033

The intention of SSB/PWA is to make web-apps first-class citizens right next to regular desktop apps. But I don't see how that's happening yet, when the SSB feature (experimentally enabled) is still very basic and web apps launched in SSB act very differently to how web apps launched in the regular browser window. They act like interactive picture frames right now.

I hope this can be fixed so that the SSB windows are merely clones of the regular browser window, without the "browsery" elements of the window chrome but otherwise retain or improves upon the normal functionality that's already expected from a web app running in a browser window. They shouldn't really be some kind of weird second implementation of the browser that only shares the rendering engine and requires you to duplicate the normal functionality of the browser from scratch.


  • There's no "Loading" progress indicator in the SSB window. Sometimes you'd stare at a blank window and wonder what's happening.
  • There's no Zoom function. If you had already set Zoom level in Firefox main window, it doesn't carry to the SSB window. It's always at 100% zoom level.
  • The window title never changes. It's always the fixed title. This is bad for web-apps that change the title to indicate something. (I suppose the icon may not change either.)
  • If you had already enabled notifications via Firefox main window you may get them, however if you've never enabled it, I'm not sure if you can enable it from the SSB window.
  • There's no standard right-click context menu - not even on text fields. This really hampers usability since you cannot copy, paste, refresh page, etc. without using keyboard shortcuts. (Application-specific right-click menus still work, since these are part of the website's own code, not from the browser itself.)


... when I test, it is difficult to tell whether extensions are available because there is no toolbar and no right-click context menu in the SSB window.

If I have Firefox running in my default profile before launching the SSB window, I notice some connections:

  • downloads in the SSB window follow the setting in my regular profile (save in one folder versus ask me where to save)
  • the browsing and download history from my SSB window is added to my regular profile history

However, the style hacks applied to the site using Stylus only appear in regular windows and not the SSB window. So it seems to be some kind of hybrid behavior. I don't know where this is all documented, if anywhere.

Depends on: 1671856

I hadn't realized that some SSB functionality appears to be global (across all windows, even those opened before SSB was enabled). I don't know if this is intended, but it feels like a bug to me. I've noticed two issues when browser.ssb.enabled is set to true:

  • Right-click context menu is missing in all firefox windows, not just the SSB window.
  • Opening new windows from a non-SSB firefox window causes new SSB windows to open

Here's how I can reproduce this:

  1. Have an existing firefox window open, from that, go to about:config to enable browser.ssb.enabled by setting the value to true.
  2. Launch an ssb, in my case I executed firefox --ssb http://website-url in the Linux command-line
  3. SSB window opens without usual browser UI, right-click menu is disabled.
  4. Going back to the original firefox window, the UI is still present, but right-click menu is gone. Right-click on hyperlinks on a page has no effect. Opening a new window from the original firefox window (non-SSB), opens a new SSB window, without browser toolbar, status bar, bookmark bar, etc.

Maybe this is intentional, but not what I expect at all. I expect only the firefox instances that I launch with the --ssb argument to have the ssb features.

Depends on: 1679575
Depends on: 1678238
Depends on: 1681813
Depends on: 1682593

Closing per bug 1682593.

Closed: 3 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX

Is this on pause or "won't fix"? It's a shame the feature implemented in many other browsers is abandoned. This feature is one of several things that define the modern web experience and seeing it in such a state is just a shame, especially for Firefox which aims to drive web technologies forward.

I'd like this feature too, but it was so half-baked anyway that it needed a lot of work. And I mean A LOT (see comment 7). So I understand why the decision was made to can it instead, so that the developers can focus on bigger priorities.

Mozilla Firefox was very well on its way to overtaking Internet Explorer back in early 2010s when Chrome was released and stole the crown from IE like no other browser in history. Ever since the market share of Firefox had been dismal in comparison the >60% share of Chrome. And more people must be buying Macs now because even Safari has more users than Firefox. And(!) Samsung Internet (what a unimaginative name) is hair-thin close to Firefox, once again proving the power of a preinstalled browser to capture market. But remember this: Firefox is the only non-profit open-source browser with the largest market share, and longest surviving too. (Sure, Chromium is open source, but Google Chrome & MS Edge are still proprietary and used to collect data.)

Let's give our loyal open-source developers some credit for continuing to believe in delivering an excellent browser that isn't a symbol of a for-profit corporation and isn't phoning home every-time I use it (except with my consent to send telemetry data).

I believe if other browsers continue to deliver an excellent PWA feature and users continue to install them and use the PWA feature, Firefox developers will eventually re-prioritize PWA implementation. Perhaps we will see a much better polished version in a future release. I'd want PWAs to not just look like a desktop app, but behave like one too. A browser naturally requires a lot of resources because it's more general purpose than other applications. But since each PWA has a specific purpose, the best implementation would only pool the resources required to deliver that specific purpose. That is the biggest challenge in PWA implementation.

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