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?

#6 Clearly Defined Boundaries.

by jesusX <>

Saturday March 25th, 2000 12:32 AM

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History shows us, that in the real world, clearly defined boundaries are the key. Computers are not just machines anymore. They truly are extensions of the human mind. Just like every other machine, they are designed to serve people, and thus, should model the users it is made for.

Countries have clearly defined borders, and yet many interact very smoothly, while still being different and independent. States have clearly defined borders the same way. Even people have clearly defined borders. The OS and Browser model is no different.

I feel that a browser and OS should interact well, but NOT integrate. Too many problems are created when you try this. Security, performance, flexibility, etc. Plus, when you tie a browser to one OS, then you wind up losing strict adherance to standards, plus opening up the OS to the network at large. IE has shown this over and over. IE does not offer great standard compliance, but it's horribly insecure, and in some areas, broken. Flat out. While Communicator has even worse standards adherance at times, there is rarely a security compromise, due to it's clearly defined borders.

Mozilla has the most clearly defined borders, and sticks to those borders VERY well. Standards compliance is second to none, speed is fantastic, cross-platform suport is also second to none. But it could work a little better in the interoperability department. Since some code HAS to be platform specific, there should be a little better support for each platforms' APIs. Cut and paste for example, is a pain in the ass. Like the Linux guy said above, I want my normal shortcut. I want to just right click and then COPY. Also, I'd love to be able to browse my local computer like I can in Communicator, especially when I'm testing web pages locally.

I don't THINK it would take much to add these features, because these would have to go into the platform specific code of each port, so it SHOULDN'T break any XP compatibility. But over all, Mozilla is DEFINITELY on the right track. Total XP compatibility, standards out the wazoo, almost pixel perfect redering across multiple platforms, open and standards-based extensibility of the browser (which is ALSO XP by it's very nature!), it's a web designer's dream, and a web users answer.

Yes, it has some not-so-shiny aspects, but for all reality, it IS a version 1 product. It will grow and mature like everything else, but Mozilla has a leg up on the competition already: clearly defined borders.