Full Article Attached 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.

#45 Mozilla life cycle

by i387

Wednesday April 12th, 2000 4:39 PM

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It has been stated before that Mozilla is not even in it's infancy. I couldn't agree more. This pre-birth state is bound to have usability problems, inconsistencies, and generally be rough around the edges. These problems are not being overlooked by Netscape or Mozilla. This is a small snippet from the April 11, 2000 release of the status update <> written by Warren Harris of the Necko crew.

**SNIPPET** We're all happy that our beta was so well received, although somewhat concerned about 2 things: 1. What are we going to do to make the UI a little more presentable? 2. Are we going to get hammered on performance/footprint issues for beta2 if all we do is feature work?

We're also concerned that much of our necko beta2 work falls below the radar of the user-visible feature set of the product which makes our stuff mostly "non-essential." As Clayton's group moves forward with more of a platform focus, we're going to need to change to a more developer-driven criterion for beta selection -- are the APIs right, are they complete, usable on the right threads, work with minimal dependencies, etc? **/SNIPPET**

To all those web designers out there that are worried about the future of Mozilla, this is a new technology. It will take time for Mozilla to mature, but be assured that it _WILL_ mature. How long has Linux taken? And it is just now starting to come into it's own as a seasoned product.

What a heated battle this is. 1. Newbies: Still learning what the 'Forward' and 'Back' buttons do. While it may be obvious to you and me what happens when we click on a looped arrow (the reload button), the new user has no clue. Even with text that states 'Reload', how does the new user know that it's the current webpage that is to be reloaded. To make things worse, inconsistencies with what they already know are going to confuse and disorient the user.

2. Power users: Want user-customizable chrome. Are going to embrace Mozilla in any form they can get it, so that they can make it look like Netscape Communicator 4.72 and be the envy of their friends. They will find the multiple email account management a 'must-have' feature.

3. Web designers: Will be torn between the de-facto standard of HTML 3.2 (a 4 year old specification that was the result of growing pains) and HTML 4.01 + CSS 2. Personally, I'm going to move foreward and not look back. The past is exactly that, it's overwith. Just think, someday you'll be telling war stories of the world wide web and how you used to code for each browser.

I've heard that the web is a fast-paced place, but I tend to disagree. With standards that don't get implemented for years after their recommendation, it's no wonder people have turned to alternatives such as flash to do the same things they could do with the DOM.

My guess is that Netscape will make a few chromes to choose from (just as Microsoft ships various 'themes' with Windows 9x). These chromes will probably look an awful lot like the native platforms on which the browser runs. The Mac installer will probably set the 'Mac' chrome as default, the Windows installer will probably set the 'Windows' chrome as default, etc.

All in all, we are witnessing a birth of a revolutionary platform. Let's not lose hope at the last minute. Don't worry about Microsoft dominating the web, they are shooting themselves in the foot as we speak (er, type) by ignoring the web standards that have been in place for nearly 2.5 years.