Weekend Discussion

Friday March 24th, 2000

Time for another weekend discussion. The question this weekend:

What do you feel is an appropriate level of integration between a browser and an Operating System? And at the other end of the spectrum, what are your feelings about Mozilla's cross-platform approach?

#28 integration

by socbyset <>

Saturday March 25th, 2000 10:16 PM

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It's important for a browser to "know its place" as just another application sitting on the OS. Both IE-Windows and Netscape/Mozilla violate this rule in opposite ways.

IE Windows' integration is annoying and unnecessary. As was mentioned before, it just spreads dll's around in an attempt to make Windows blow up if you try to remove it-- Although I must admit that it is convenient to turn any folder's window into a browser by typing a url in the title bar.

Mozilla's lack of integration with OS's user interfaces is even more annoying. They seem to have this idea that since the Internet will create an uber-platform for networked computing, they should make Mozilla look and behave exactly alike on every platform. Then, in theory, people would just learn the Mozilla environment, it would become the internet "platform" and particular OS's would be downgraded in importance to plumbing, just commodities. But this is awfully hubristic, people want their browsers to behave just like all their other applications (especially Mac users- they are fanatical about the Mac OS user experience). If every app decided to reinvent the UI wheel then the whole computing experience would be a maddening hodgepodge, you would have to relearn the most basic tasks for every app you use.

It reminds me of the early days of Communicator 4.x, when you were forced to download mail, news, and Composer just to use the damn browser- Netscape sometimes thinks about what users want second, and what it wants first.