Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the popular Firefox browser, just announced the launch of Thimble, its latest project to teach more users how to build their own web pages. Thimble, which is part of Mozilla’s recently launched Webmaker project, is meant to help novice users write and edit basic HTML and CSS right in a web-based code editor. The service features instant previews and also lets its users host their finished pages on a Webmaker domain with just one click. Users can start from scratch or choose one of over a dozen projects and learn how to code them by hand.
Unlike other projects like App Inventor, which remove a lot of the actual basic coding effort in favor of a more visual Lego-like editor or a WYSIWYG approach, Thimble uses a more hands-on approach. There is a traditional code editor on the left and you can see the instant preview on the right. The service is clearly meant for novice users who are still trying to get to grips with basic HTML.
Besides the instant feedback users receive through the preview pane on the right, the ability to publish your site to the web with just one click is another nifty little feature that removes a lot of friction for novice users.
Born from Netscape’s 1998 open sourcing of the code base behind its Netscape Communicator internet suite, Mozilla Firefox currently holds approximately 22.48% of the world market for internet browsers as of April 2009. Version 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004 after a series of name changes, and within a year close to 100 million downloads of the browser technology had occurred. The following two years saw upgrades to version 1.5 in November 2005 and 2.0 in October 2006....