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Slides from Brendan Eich's Mozilla Futures Talk at Developer Day Now Available

Monday March 1st, 2004

Last Friday saw the first Mountain View Mozilla Developer Day since the formation of the Mozilla Foundation. The Foundation's press release about the event gives an overview of the talks that took place and James "Kovu" Russell has posted a review of some of the presentations.

The slides from Brendan Eich's Mozilla Futures session are the first be available online. In the presentation, the Mozilla Foundation's Chief Architect outlined Mozilla's strengths and weaknesses and described a future strategy plan. Proposals include accelerating work on integrating SVG, implementing support for more scripting and programming languages (such as JavaScript 2, Python and Perl 5), creating a XUL builder plug-in for the Eclipse platform, improving native widget and desktop integration and setting up a new developer.mozilla.org site with programmer documentation. Collaboration with Opera and Apple to advance Web standards was also floated and several possible end-user innovations were discussed.


#1 SVG - yes please

by leafdigital

Tuesday March 2nd, 2004 12:10 AM

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I'm an Eclipse fan so an XUL interface builder would be cool and all (not that I have any particular desire to build XUL interfaces); so would better Java integration within Mozilla. Actually, if you could code Mozilla extensions in Java, maybe I'd be more likely to be interested in building XUL interfaces :)

But SVG is the really big thing IMO. Not because of 'rich' interfaces as one speaker was quoted (I'm sorry but I don't think rich means good - on the Web, I think rich means bad, and I think client applications are still the best way to go if you need something that's to be used frequently - Netscape failed to take over the world on the 'web as platform' premise many years ago, and there's *still* no reason why client applications should run within a browser). Simply because it's disgraceful that the Web doesn't have a proper, open, free vector graphics format.

I'm not saying that Mozilla is to blame for that 'disgrace' at all - it's an inertia thing from Mosaic, Netscape, Microsoft, and every other browser producer/company throughout the history of the Web. Just as a situation... I mean it's ludicrous. Here we have a format where people have a wide variety of screen/browser sizes - and we're using graphics that can't nicely be resized. Here we have a format where bandwidth is sometimes critical and every server hit adds a little time to page download - and we have to use a bitmap graphic in a separate file if we want something as simple as a rounded box (Mozilla-specific CSS extensions aside).

SVG won't solve everything but it would certainly be nice to have the option - and like everything else, Microsoft aren't going to lead the way. If Mozilla can get the ball rolling with full SVG support in a browser with widespread use, perhaps other people and finally Microsoft will pick it up, just as is happening with popup blocking etc.

By the way, another feature toward visual scaleability would be smooth bitmap resizing (bilinear or bicubic resampling). While still not ideal, this would at least give people the option to specify graphic sizes based on text instead of having to specify text sizes based on graphics. I'd like to see this introduced too - there are performance concerns but it could either be introduced as an option, or with 'bailout factors' (e.g. if the image being resized is small anyhow then use bicubic; if it's larger, use bilinear; if it's really big just use the current size). Perhaps this is already included as part of SVG support...? Hrm. Even if so, it would still be nice on standard IMG bitmaps. --sam