Suck on Skins

Tuesday April 11th, 2000

TheUIGuy wrote in about a 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.)

#33 There is a simple solution!

by mintSlice

Wednesday April 12th, 2000 6:43 PM

You are replying to this message

Sheesh, there's a simple solution sitting under all our noses and we're missing it.

It seems that each OS would really like to have a skin that looks and feels like that OS. And this is actually really simple to do.

Write the skins for each OS to work as that OS's users would expect. So you'll have a skin for Windows, a different one for MacOS (maybe even one for MacOS X) one for Linux (I'm happy with the current skin, but the 'Sullivan' skin looks quite nice too.), and you get the idea.

When you download a specific version of Mozilla you get the skin that looks and feels like the OS. If you download the source you get the default skin. If you wan't to change your skin you can, BUT everyone gets what they expect when they first use Mozilla and that seems to be the reason behind all these remarks.

And as a bonus, what a sales point. A product that works just the way you expect, but with all power to work the way you want it too!