MozillaZine on Skins
Tuesday April 11th, 2000
I have decided to put my own head on the chopping block and weigh in on the Mozilla skins and native widgets debate. To read more, click "Full Article" below.
#18 You all may have missed the point...
Wednesday April 12th, 2000 12:37 AM
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Customizable UI's don't require skins. You can rearrange native widgets - look at MSOffice's toolbars for instance. XP doesn't require skins either - Navigator 4 was released for UNIX, Windows, and the Mac, with native widgets on each platform. There was even a neat-looking special compile for IRIX. I think there are two real reasons why skins are being used. First, to make the UI the same across platforms. That relates directly to my second idea - BRANDING! AOL/NS wants some flashy eye candy they can toss out there to get people's attention, something unique which people will recognize as THE NEW NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR. This way there will be no mistake which browser appears in trade magazines, on TV, etc. I think this has a very real potential to backfire, though, since they have a priori sacrificed the familiarity and integration of native widgets. Consistency between apps is important, and a browser doesn't really need (its own) skins any more than a word processor or a telnet client does. And before you remind me "NS isn't MZ", don't forget that the great majority of MZ workers are still NS employees. The fact that the default MZ skin was used in NS6PR1 is telling.