Joel "on Software" Spolsky Switches to Mozilla Firebird

Sunday June 1st, 2003

James Tikalsky writes: "Joel Spolsky has switched to Mozilla Firebird. Having used Netscape's decision to rewrite the browser code from scratch as an example of what not to do for years, it's nice to see that he can give credit just as well as he can dish criticism. He also has a suggestion for the development team: 'My highest priority would be to implement Mozilla as a COM control that supports the same embedding interfaces as IE, so that the AOL programmers can switch to Gecko.'" Joel notes that Adam Lock is already working on a Mozilla ActiveX control.

In case you've never heard of the guy, Joel Spolsky is a software developer living in New York. He's worked for Microsoft in the past and today runs his own company called Fog Creek Software. He has his own weblog, Joel on Software, where he regularly writes about software project management issues.

#8 Fine, but it does need to be supported...

by leafdigital

Monday June 2nd, 2003 3:15 AM

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If people are to seriously use Gecko ('use' being defined as 'provide a drop-down where people can choose which browser') in their software, this Joel guy is right: it has to be a standard, officially-supported part of the software, along with all that implies. (Making it part of the standard tests to make sure it doesn't break in new versions, for instance; and a commitment to continue with it even if - say - Adam loses interest.)

To be honest, personally (having embedded IE in a large Java program, at great pain/time/effort) I don't think I'd have bothered offering a browser engine choice since that's just one more thing to go wrong / one more system difference for helpdesk... but, on the other hand it might also be a potential *solution* route for helpdesk (browser doesn't work? Ok, try the other one) so maybe it would be worth doing.

I've got to say a 3-4 MB download that you could ship without having to have the user actually install Mozilla - i.e. literally include it inside your application's install, no separate installer, just copy and handful of files and register a dll - sounds very tempting. (It would solve some 'must have IE5.5 installed' type requirements, for example.) But, um, *where is it*? I can't find the file, and all the page Adam lists talks about is installing the full Mozilla and registering a dll (which I also can't find)... I guess the small-version control-only files haven't been made yet.