Mozilla announces Developer Tools Labs

Ajaxian founders, Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, are joining the Mozilla Corporation as full time employees to lead the new Developer Tools Labs, a project similar to Mozilla Labs that will focus on researching and developing “tools that increase developer productivity, enable compelling user experiences, and promote the use of open standards.”, said Mozilla’s Chris Beard in a blog post.

Dion, a former Google employee who describes the transition as “leaving one premier league football team for another”, said about the new group’s mission: “We are going to be experimenting, and thinking about how to make developers lives better in different ways, so we aren’t expecting to see traditional tools come out of this group. Also, we don’t want to do this alone. We want to involve the entire community which is one reason that we are so excited to kick off this work at Mozilla.”

On his personal blog, Ben commented: “I have immense respect for the crew at Moz; I couldn’t be more thrilled that they’ve invited us to join them and for the opportunity at hand.”

They have put up a two minutes video explaining their thoughts on the project.

I am very pleased to learn Mozilla is making tools a priority and taking some serious steps towards it. As I commented in the Summit earlier this year and on Mitchell’s Proposed 2010 goals, I believe Mozilla has done a pretty good job pulling the open web from the consumer side, with the goal of making the web an accessible medium no matter what language, device, operating system, browser, disability or any other user characteristic may be there. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, Mozilla is in good shape to start pushing the open web from the producer side: web developers.

While MathML, SVG, SMIL, Ogg Theora, Vorbis, XForms, ARIA, and lots of other standards address many web publishers’ needs, the tools available are not efficient enough, and Mozilla should pick this need.

It doesn’t have to start from scratch. Last year, Active State open sourced its Mozilla-based IDE (integrated development environment) as Open Komodo; and most recently, Disruptive Innovation’s Daniel Glazman has been teasing on a revamped Mozilla-based web editor called Blue Griffon, to succeed now defunct Nvu (a Windows build was made available today).

And it doesn’t even have to build the tools on its own. Mozilla has sponsored open source projects in the past including SQLite, Cairo, Miro, and could extend this giving to help making a decent Theora/Vorbis encoder, or making Inkscape more usable, just to mention a few projects that help enable an open web.

We’ll have to wait for details on what will be done but this could be a memorable day for the web.