'Rapid Application Development with Mozilla' Author Interviewed by SearchEnterpriseLinux.com (Part 1)
Wednesday January 7th, 2004
SearchEnterpriseLinux.com has published the first part of an interview with Nigel McFarlane, author of Rapid Application Development with Mozilla. In the interview, McFarlane discusses how enterprises can build on the Mozilla platform when developing tools for their own in-house use and explains how Mozilla's cross-platform nature makes it perfect for mixed computing environments. In another recent article, McFarlane supplies some tips for deciding whether to use Mozilla in an enterprise IT setting.
#1 Real Mozilla shops
Wednesday January 7th, 2004 3:44 PM
Does anyone know how many real software houses are using Mozilla for such work? I checked several job boards recently and found just one.
#2 It's bloody difficult
Wednesday January 7th, 2004 4:51 PM
to do anything useful with it because of all the extra security stuff, and, dare I say, lack of bountiful, up to date information on how to deal with it. Signing applications is simply way too complex for most developers to handle. If it was easier, more people would be distributing signed apps which did cool stuff.
#3 Re: It's bloody difficult
Thursday January 8th, 2004 3:44 AM
In addition to being non trivial, the mozilla platform is a moving target. Just look at how many (mostly) trivial extensions break between versions of mozilla and firebird. Most application developers will only adopt something like mozilla if they have some guarantees that their products will work with future mozilla versions. Basically you just want to create your application, install it next year on whatever mozilla version is fashionable then and not have to worry about whether it will work.
#7 Re: It's bloody difficult
Thursday January 8th, 2004 8:48 AM
Mozilla Firebird is a "Technology Preview" and thus compatibility isn't guaranteed between any of its versions. mozilla.org has only released two (perhaps three) versions that are considered stable APIs. Many extension developers, however, continually update their code for every Mozilla and Firebird release, and often nightly builds.
Many of the 'trival extensions' often rely on specific features of the browser, such as things to overlay, code in navigator.js/browser.js and certain UI. It isn't possible to maintain complete compatibility in many cases. I don't know of any application that allows the level of customization that Mozilla does. The power comes at a cost in compatibility.
#4 About Mozilla Gecko apps I worked on
Thursday January 8th, 2004 6:42 AM
I worked on a couple of mozilla apps for companies that were run off of CD-ROMS. They were slick multimedia/knowledge base type apps. We took advantage of adding plugins to mozilla and used Flash for fancy diagrams and such. They were medium sized projects. We ended up skinning the mozilla UI to make it blend in perfectly with our mozilla app. It worked pretty good. I think the same problems that Java originally faced XUL now faces: basically you can't run a downloaded Gecko app. without the GRE. Most people don't have the GRE. This is the same problem with Java. No JRE on the client computer and the app won't run. Realistically most IE users see no reason to install Mozilla since they are happy with their just-good-enough browser. I was excited when I heard the KDE people are experimenting with running the UI using an extended version of XUL widgets. That would be very cool. So any XUL developer running KDE could write a Gecko app and expect an XUL interpreter to be available. Possibly Mozilla apps. would really benefit if both Gnome and KDE could run Gecko apps. by default. This might actually happen on KDE pretty soon. Maybe Mozilla.org could sue Microsoft and get the GRE installed by default on Windows (joking, but I wished it happened).
Thursday January 8th, 2004 8:23 AM
>Maybe Mozilla.org could sue Microsoft and get the GRE installed by default on Windows (joking, but I wished it happened).
Conceivably computer vendors could install the GRE on their computers (along with all the other tons of software they through on it). My relatives just bought a Dell and it came with Sun's JVM on it.
Thursday January 8th, 2004 8:24 AM
ergh... meant 'throw on it'.
#8 XUL For the KDE Linux Desktop
Thursday January 8th, 2004 9:24 AM
> I was excited when I heard the KDE people are experimenting with running the UI using an extended version of XUL widgets. That > would be very cool. So any XUL developer running KDE could write a Gecko app and expect an XUL interpreter to be available.
Note, that KaXul and uXul is an independent build that also works as a plugin in Konqueror. There's no need for Gecko. You might wonna read the XUL News Wire story titled "KaXul and uXul: XUL for the KDE Linux Desktop Talk Slides Now Live" for details online @ http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.lang.xul.announce/154
PS: I would be great if some Mozilla officials could comment on KaXul and uXul. Is this iniative in your interest? Do you plan to sue? Have you contacted the project leaders? Open source is all about open communication and not behind closed door wheeling and dealing. You might wonna adjust your attitude because the glory days of AOL or Netscape are over if I dare to say.
#9 Re: XUL For the KDE Linux Desktop
Thursday January 8th, 2004 11:06 AM
"I would be great if some Mozilla officials could comment on KaXul and uXul... Do you plan to sue?"
I'm not a Mozilla official but from what I can tell from their pretty presentation http://www.staikos.net/~staikos/presentations/August2003/kaxul/, KaXUL and uXUL follow the XUL specification. As far as I can tell, KaXUL essentailly converts a XUL app into a KDE app, while uXUL takes a XUL app, uses KaXUL to convert it and then runs it. Now if it was a project to convert applications written in some other random XML-based declarative markup language that just happens to bear a passing resemblence to XUL to KDE apps, that would be different because they would be using the XUL name to apply to something that isn't really XUL.
#10 Re: Re: XUL For the KDE Linux Desktop
Thursday January 8th, 2004 11:26 AM
KaXul and uXul remind me why I still like KDE over Gnome: I have always felt KDE is cooler, looks better, is more intutive, and easier to customize. Everything cool like uXUL appears to come out on KDE first. What's up with that? Is their developer base just better or larger?
#11 We Are The World - Trust Us
Thursday January 8th, 2004 12:28 PM
> Is their developer base just better or larger?
My guess is that it's not dominated by American companies (e.g. Sun) that push their own interests above all else but KDE has a lot more smaller independent player.
#12 XUL Is A Standalone Independent XML Language
Thursday January 8th, 2004 12:57 PM
> As far as I can tell, KaXUL essentailly converts a XUL app into a KDE app, while uXUL takes a XUL app, uses KaXUL to convert it and > then runs it.
Well, if I dare to say KaXUL and uXUL just happen to bear a passing resemblence to Mozilla XUL. You can't just grab any Mozilla XUL apps and run them on KDE using Konqueror. uXUL and KaXUL just uses a toolkit independent XML UI Language that reuses XML tags pioneered by Mozilla XUL to lessen the learning cure. Don't expect XPCOM, XPIDL, XPInstall, RDF, and other monstrositis showing up in uXUL and KaXUL anytime soon.
PS: > KaXUL and uXUL follow the XUL specification. Do you really think KaXUL and uXUL will support the Mozilla XUL XPIDL interfaces outlined in the abandoned "specification" working draft last touched up in 2001?
PPS: Care to comment on Luxor XUL online @ http://luxor-xul.sourceforge.net ? Does it apply the XUL name to something that isn't really XUL? Is it just a random XML UI Language? How about the Perl XUL project online @ http://perlxul.sourceforge.net ?