Sunday, March 6, 2005

FireFox Only applications? I think not! (actually I hope not)

 Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/meshel/archive/2005/03/06/25408.aspx

I like this blog thingy :-) I read something somewhere, write something about it (this system apparently does auto trackback) He notices my trackback, has something to say about it... That in fact fits to post I've been thinking of writing. I love this!

Anyway, Firefox only, this is actually what scared me originally. You see Microsoft is developing is developing XAML which to my understanding is pretty much the same thing... And these will take time to converge as DHTML did. If anyone thiniks a few years back and why the whole IE only thing started, it was in part a Microsoft marketing plan that gave free stuff to all those small devs who put that logo on their page. And due to uncompatible DHTML capabilities, notice I'm not saying tags or language, it was simply not as easy to accomplish the feats possible with IE in Netscape (there was no Mozilla yet). You could do it... but even the best cross-platform scripting libraries I saw were not giving the same functionality for both browsers (in the end Netscape still behaved differently, and usualy worse than IE).

The compatibility reached today, is mostly, finally better standards compliancy from both browsers, and also the fact the Mozilla/Firefox designers understood, that in order to beat/fight IE they at least have to join them a little, so they implemented many of the IE additions, just so that people could browse most sites with their new browser. This is the biggest success of Firefox in my opinion - it is a great browser, but in fact it wouldn't be such a huge hit if not for this single fact...

Anyway, if Firefox only applications start (and are starting) this in my opinion is bad for me, as developer, and not so good for the unknowing end user, since what works for them so good at their home computer where their grandson installed Firefox for them and put in some nice links for them to use. Will not work as well when they go on vacation to florida and use the Internet kiosk to browse for their email...

So I do not like the thought of seeing that much dreaded FireFox only icon anywhere, some people will think it a way to get back the Microsoft, I just see it as a bad idea for a browser that is based on openess and supporting industry agreed upon standards... XUL is not an industry standard - when you make it so, and get more than just one engine to support it (think about how many XML parsers are out there, that's what should be for XUL as well before it is a standard) it should (it already is basically) be able to work on any platform, and provide the required capabilities, I'm not sure it fully does that now (saving files to disk etc...). It should of course support and be secured! I don't no spyware being installed as easy as an ActiveX script.

Why will MS initially win this game? You think the wide install base? well yes, that is one good point for them.. But the reason that they can win this is the mass of developers that will develop in XAML. Not because it is better or marekted more, but because Microsoft is sure to come up with such a great IDE for developing XAML that it will just be easier to do it for the average developer - which means most! whoever has more and better utilities will win.

So Mozilla foundation, if you really want to push XUL.
1. Get it adopted by the industry (W3C/ITEF)
2. Develop some GUI for developing XUL!!!! and do it before Microsoft releases Longhorn!

This is Open Source so anyone can actually take up the lead (maybe IBM or HP?)...

Also check out:
MyXAML  here:
http://www.myxaml.com/ and here: http://www.myxaml.com/marcclifton/ (a blog of the developer) another effort in the same direction


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