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.
#26 Skins and shit
Wednesday April 12th, 2000 7:27 AM
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I hope Netscape ships with skins for each platform.
Okay, for Linux, it doesn't matter: as Greg Knauss said in his article, no two Linux apps look the same anyway. For Windows, it maybe doesn't matter too much either - Windows users are getting used to, well, any old crap, too :)
But Mac users are often fanatical about their interface. It's best to give them what they want, as a default. (And that can be done with XUL "skins".)
Chris is right that users can use pretty much any controls these days (as long as they look reasonably correct - I don't think the slightly-different radio buttons will confuse anyone, but the horrible "looks like it's pressed, but no it just has focus" checkbutton needs to be fixed) and I don't see anyone having problems with the scrollbars. But Mac users will be annoyed at it just because it looks "Windows-like".
But, as long as it's skinned to *look* (at least by default) and work roughly like a native app, nobody will mind too much that the controls aren't really native.
Native controls aren't feasible cross-platform, as Sun found out with Java pre-Swing. Netscape are right not to replicate that mistake. But having an interface that fits at least reasonably well, especially on Mac, would be a very good idea. (Hell, I'd use that skin, and I'm on Windows. :)