Replacing DHTML Menus with XUL
Monday April 5th, 2004
Nigel McFarlane writes in with news about his latest article on using XUL rather than DHTML to create Web page menus: "I've written another article highlighting the features of Mozilla. To the best of my knowledge this is the first 'dirty XUL trick' that might appeal to web developers. It's nice to see that the Mozilla styling and layout systems are robust enough to support this kind of fiddling. It would be wonderful to see a full Web toolkit of XBL objects spring up to replace the junk we do in Dynamic HTML."
#4 Re: Mozilla only?
Tuesday April 6th, 2004 1:39 AM
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You culd try distributing the gecko activeX control as a plugin so that MSIE could render XUL. However, in general, only gecko-based browsers support XUL. Therefore XUL cannot be used to provide the /only/ interface for a public web site or web service. However this technique is sutiable:
1) For providing an enhanced interface for XUL-capable browsers. Sites like hotmail and yahoo already use IE-specific functionality to 'enchance' their user experience. There's no reason that sites can't make use of the more powerful features avaliable from gecko to do the same thing.
2) Intranets. If your organisation has standardised on gecko based browsers, there could be great benefits in using XUL for internal applications since you get a Real User Interface for the same cost as hackiing together an interface with HTML. Personally I think this benefit needs to be sold to more people.
3) Providing a differentt interface to different browsers. One can imagine writing a basic all-html version of a page and a sophisticated all-XUL version of a page and providing people wth only the version that they can use.