Cool Introduction To Mozilla's Technologies

Wednesday May 17th, 2000

Shelley Powers writes, "Archimedes once said of the lever, 'Give me a place to stand, and I can move the earth'. I'd like to modify that quote and say 'Give me XML, CSS, and a little script, and I can create any application'.

"The technology that inspires this statement is all bundled up under the misnomer 'browser', and goes by the name of Mozilla or Navigator 6.0.

"I say 'misnomer' because though all of the components delivered with each product do make up a browser, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. In fact, downloading Mozilla/Navigator 6.0 is like getting your own little toolbox of goodies that you can then use to create your own applications.

"Once you have a better idea of the functionality that's easily accessible, you'll be just like me -- you can't wait to create your first application. So here's mine, an online interactive tutorial that covers the functionality included with Mozilla/Navigator 6.0.

"There are two ways to view the tutorial: viewing the tutorial pages directly or using the Tutorial Viewer, created using XUL."

#1 Re: Tutorial

by zontar

Wednesday May 17th, 2000 11:05 AM

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I checked it out using PR1 and the custom viewer for the default skin.

Works very nicely. :-)

#2 Offtopic: W3C,XML trouble?

by basic <>

Wednesday May 17th, 2000 11:10 AM

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#3 Very Cool

by asa <>

Wednesday May 17th, 2000 3:28 PM

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Mozilla, an XP application toolkit.


(you know it -posted with 051708 build)

#4 question.

by jazzman45

Wednesday May 17th, 2000 11:58 PM

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who thinks that mozilla would make a pretty cool word processor? perhaps AbiWord and Moz could join up together? A browser/office suite.

just a question...

#5 Re: question.

by basic <>

Thursday May 18th, 2000 12:26 AM

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Abiword? There's the question of licence (GPL) and can abiword be convince to use Moz's XP-stuff? ( They already use Moz's webtools.. hmm)

A word processor sounds good, but I'd like to see a working html editor first.

#11 Re: Re: question.

by basic <>

Friday May 19th, 2000 11:46 AM

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> working html editor first I meant a "full featured html editor". The editor as it is works.

#8 Re: question.

by Tanyel <>

Thursday May 18th, 2000 6:58 AM

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How would Mozilla handle file conversions and saving files?

#9 Re: Re: question.

by Tanyel <>

Friday May 19th, 2000 7:10 AM

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Based on the answers I have received for this question, I do not think Mozilla would be a good foundation for a word processor due to its limitations. I think it will be good for Intranets though, if it gets finished.

#10 Re: Re: Re: question.

by basic <>

Friday May 19th, 2000 11:40 AM

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Would you mind sharing the answers you have received for this question?

What limitations are you refering to?

#14 Re: Re: Re: Re: question.

by Tanyel <>

Saturday May 20th, 2000 1:48 AM

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I was referring to the answers in this forum. Based on that, I can assume Mozilla cannot handle file conversions or saving files. That would be a big limitation for a tool used as a foundation for applications.

I do recognize that the lack of answers does not mean Mozilla does not have this capability. Still, I chose to answer based on the feedback I received and acknowledged that the answer was based on that feedback.

#15 How to do File Conversions in Mozilla

by BradNeuberg <>

Monday May 22nd, 2000 3:56 PM

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Mozilla has a cross-platform COM like component model named XPCOM, for Xross-Platform COM. XPCOM components can be created in C++, Java, or JavaScript, and can then expose interfaces that can be scripted against by other C++, Java, or JavaScript interfaces. The entire Mozilla browser is essentially a toolkit of XPCOM components that are scripted with JavaScript. If you want to do custom file-conversions, you would create a C++ , JavaScript, or Java XPCOM component, and then call it from the JavaScript file that links to your XUL user-interface. While C++ is fast, it isn't cross-platform like JavaScript or Java. I would probably choose Java for a cross-platform file-conversion XPCOM component.

Thanks, Brad Neuberg

#16 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: question.

by asim

Thursday May 25th, 2000 8:22 AM

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Tanyel, if Mozilla did not have the ability to save files, there would be no way to cache files, correct?

If there were no way to convert files, you would not be able to take a stream of ASCII text and make it into a table, yes?

All Mozilla does, is allow for easy extention of the basic platform. The easiest way I can explain, is to refer to plugins -- a word processor would be like a plugin to Mozilla. Mozilla provides a framework, and the plugin fills in with it's specific needs. For another example, Communicator doesn't know how to stream multimedia to you, but the RealPlayer Plugin does. All Communicator has to to is what it does best -- grab TCP/IP data and move it, in this case to a plugin.

Sometimes, you want a "thick" framework, like, say, Win32. It provides nearly everything, but is non-portable, can be slow, and lacks flexability (just ask the guys trying to code alt. shells from Win32 paltforms...)

Mozilla will be lighter, meaning you won't get as much, but that can open up more for the programmer.

I hope that helps. :)

#17 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: question.

by Tanyel <>

Thursday May 25th, 2000 4:25 PM

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Well, while Mozilla may be able to cache files, nobody said that functionality could be accessed from scripting languages.

If you are referring to the HTML tables, that would be displaying files, not converting files. Using a plugin to fill in the missing functionality would be like using Java as somebody else suggested. It would make the word processor possible but would not suggest any benefit from using Mozilla.

However, I have noticed something about file input/output capability being added to the Javascript. I wonder if my comments had anything to do with that... Regardless of the reasons, that would greatly improve things.

#6 Mozilla is the new Emacs

by gwalla <>

Thursday May 18th, 2000 1:00 AM

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This just struck me the other day. Mozilla and Emacs have very similar design philosophies: the executable itself should be at its core an interpreter, only handling the very basic tasks of the application space, while everything else is defined in external files. The differences are in the languages interpreted (LISP for emacs, XUL/JavaScript for Mozilla), and what are considered "basic tasks" (text buffers, file access, and cursor control for emacs; networking, layout, XML/HTML parsing for Moz).

Both can be used to implement new applications, and Mozilla has some definite advantages: cross-platform consistency, parsing of standard data formats (HTML, any XML, JavaScript, CSS), display of graphic images, and stylable layout. Will we see Mozilla emerge as the new Emacs?

#7 Re: Mozilla is the new Emacs

by rkl

Thursday May 18th, 2000 4:51 AM

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The problem I have with Emacs is that I now consider it bloatware - why do we *need* a LISP interpreter in a text editor ? Emacs defaults also leave a lot to be desired - for example, why does it default to dreadul half-page scrolling and why are the key mappings so arcane (e.g. CTRL-C is part of the sequence to exit - as in CTRL-X - CTRl-C - whereas CTRl-C is normally interrupt in UNIX ! Also CTRL-Q/CTRL-S are used, which are traditionally XON/XOFF chars...) ?

No, I'd rather Mozilla wasn't the new Emacs thank you, but you could argue it's going that way. I'm a little surprised that there's no "Standalone" build binaries available for Mozilla (i.e. no News, no Mail, no Editor, just the Browser) - by not supplying those in addition to the full Mozilla suite, some people could accuse Mozilla of getting a bit bloated...

#12 Mozilla is the new Emacs ? cannot agree more...

by RvR <>

Friday May 19th, 2000 4:58 PM

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i know XEmacs better than FSF Emacs, so i'll tell you what i know about XEmacs.

XEMacs has its own scrollbars comparable to Mozilla's own widgets. it has its own graphical layer abstraction "lwlib", that might be an equivalent of the gfx lib in Mozilla. this is why it's cross-platform.

note: you can't say "why do we *need* a LISP interpreter in a text editor ?" because lisp lies at the heart of [X]Emacs... at first, [X]Emacs is a lisp interpreter with which you can build an editor but also a tetris or a calendar :) in a word, you can't remove lisp from Emacs.

and then, it's not "bloatware". you can do *everything* in it, that's all. if you want to use a limited editor then [X]Emacs is not your choice. but if you want an editor+IDE+... then it's just what you need.

#13 Re: Re: Mozilla is the new Emacs

by gwalla <>

Friday May 19th, 2000 5:44 PM

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"why do we *need* a LISP interpreter in a text editor ?"

You may as well ask why we need XUL or a JavaScript interpreter in Mozilla. Emacs is a Lisp interpreter with some basic text editor features, not the other way around. Everything in Emacs is built with Lisp, just like Moz-based apps will be built with XUL/XBL/JavaScript.

"Emacs defaults also leave a lot to be desired - for example, why does it default to dreadul half-page scrolling and why are the key mappings so arcane (e.g. CTRL-C is part of the sequence to exit - as in CTRL-X - CTRl-C....) ? No, I'd rather Mozilla wasn't the new Emacs thank you"

But that's entirely tangential to my point. Bizarre key mappings have nothing to do with the kernel-ish design of emacs and mozilla (although somebody has been clamoring for emacs-style key mappings in Mozilla, God help us...)

However, ever the key mappings have an analogue in Mozilla if you think of them more generally as a look & feel decision that goes against the normal behavior of the platform. The analogue, of course, would be Mozilla's non-native widgets. Note that both can be set to more platform-friendly behavior: emacs keybindings with set-key, Mozilla widgets with skins.

#18 Looking for Tutorial Message Board

by kat

Saturday September 7th, 2002 3:32 PM

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I am hoping someone can direct me to a message board where I can learn how to use the Mozilla browser.

I am about to change internet services,and "think" I may switch to Earthlink. So I suppose they can help me configure the browser for surfing and for sending/receiving my email.

Should anyone want to email me,a secondary email address that I use is: <> thanks