Suck on Skins
Tuesday April 11th, 2000
TheUIGuy wrote in about a Suck.com article that talks about Mozilla/Netscape 6 and it's skinnability. It takes a very negative view on what we feel is a very positive technology.
Skins allow the user to pick their interface. Packages allow them to extend it. This customization allows anyone to choose how they browse the Web, manage mail, or use any of Mozilla's other applications. The author of the Suck piece, Greg Knauss, seems to feel that choice is bad, because there is the possibility for poorly designed or useless skins. That comes close to saying, "there could be ugly pages on the Web, so shut it down."
Greg also states, "by adding in all the flexibility of XUL, the Mozilla programmers have removed our ability to make the application use the native controls of the operating system." This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Open Source. The direction Mozilla is taking doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything. The capability to do exactly what Greg wants is right there, in the code sitting on the CVS server, and in the mind and will of someone who needs something done differently. Mozilla might not be doing what you want, but that does not mean that you are prevented from doing it yourself.
(FYI, there are projects for Windows and Linux -- and nothing preventing a Mac project -- for embedding the HTML renderer into a native wrapper application.)
#23 Classic (4.7x) Skin please?
Wednesday April 12th, 2000 9:10 AM
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As the average user who doesn't know a thing about C / XPcom / etc, i think that first Mozilla should have worked on a skinless Mozilla and fix the browser & mail bugs - of course, at least having a MINIMUM base for a decent, Netscape 4.x-compatible user interface (i did read about the platform/UI compatibility problems).
While so much time is invested on the skins, many users (i suppose - if i´m wrong then correct me) are desperate for the 100% PNG support (bugs 16742,3013,3195,19283,28616), or a better low-memory support for earlier 16MB 486's (mine has 16Megs).
On the other hand, if developers come in and they WANT to work on the skin stuff, who am i to tell them NOT to work? It's a free resource and it should be appreciated. Why not beat IE on this? At least MS can't say - hey, we gave skins to the webbrowsing stuff, you owe us :)
BUT - and here comes the important part: If developers work both on skins AND Layout engine / MathML / PNG etc, then priority should be given to the latter.
What we (at least me) want is a bug-free, standards-compliant browser with optional features (i.e. skins) available for a later version, not a bells&whistles browser still in beta-status because there are many bugs to be fixed - i mean, that's precisely why i think Moz became open-source.