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.)
#6 skins suck
Tuesday April 11th, 2000 8:18 PM
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the techies always defend skins by saying "well you can change it to suit your desires" but this is inane. the problem with skins is that it has burned countless brain cells and is arguably, completely useless. it's ridiculous how a menaingless feature such as skins can dominate the discussion pushing things like getting something launched in a reasonable amount of time to the back burner.
again, the problem with the mozilla project is the horrendous scope. it should not take 3 years to build the thing that everyone wants which is a high performing, standards-compliant, lean, stable rendering engine/browser. lose the skins. lose the editor, mail and news as well. they have no business burning up the super-limited developer resources.