Mozilla Services Proposal

Thursday June 24th, 1999

Xplo Eristotle writes in with his proposal for new functionality for Mozilla.

Xplo writes, "I've had an idea for an addition to the Mozilla UI which I call 'Mozilla Services' (or MZS for short). It doesn't really affect Mozilla itself, but it could potentially mean a lot for Mozilla users. I've put up a web page describing it."

It's an interesting proposal, even though it would be "Mozilla only" functionality. My opinion? Well, since you asked! I think that any "proprietary" functionality that is extraneous to the HTML of the page is fine. It's when the functionality starts showing up in HTML and breaking pages on other platforms and browsers that the browser-specific stuff becomes a problem. This seems to be a case of the "extraneous" functionality - similar to Flash panels and plaintext content parsed by other webpages.

#10 Rebuttal to the rebuttal

by Anon

Sunday July 11th, 1999 3:32 PM

You are replying to this message

Ok Anon -- small chance you're still reading this, but here's why you're wrong.

(0) You have no idea who I am, and I do not describe myself in my post. So you have absolutely no evidence that I `possess no attribute that could NOT be improved by kissing a piece of hickory at 120 kph'; personally I disagree, but even if that was true it's completely irrelevant. Resorting to personal attacks just makes the whole of your argument look worse.

(1) `CSS2 is Moz-specific, with the exception of that small portion that made it into IE5 ... a fair amount of support for emerging file formats will be Moz-specific. XUL, which is what makes MZS possible, is Moz-specific. So unless you want to sit behind IE in the #2 slot and use it as a "pacing car", you haven't got an argument.' But I'm not using IE as a pacing car -- I'm using the W3C as a pacing car. They've been sitting waiting for browser makers to get around to implementing HTML 4.0, CSS1, and yes, CSS2, for years now. And what are these? IE standards? No. Mozilla standards? No. They're open standards, and as such have every right to be included in a Web page. Browser-specific standards, however, should not be. I have no problem with sites providing XUL files for download, as long as the Webmasters don't make the stupid mistake of relying on them. But with MZS, they will.

(2) `Browsers can ALLOW good design, and there's no reason to think that Moz won't, but they are incapable of encouraging it, because some people will always be stupid.' Sorry, I disagree that browsers are incapable of encouraging good design. That's what human factors is all about -- encouraging effective use of a tool. My rant against MZS is a simple example of trying to *discourage* BAD design.

(3) `...uh-huh, and since no one had ever had Netscape 3-enhanced pages to look at before, they didn't see what they could possibly want it for, and so it did poorly in the market, with almost no designers taking advantage of its extra features.' You're dodging the issue. I'm talking about the interface, not the Web pages themselves. People used Navigator 3.x extensions because there was no bettwer way of achieving those formatting goals. With MZS, there is a standard way of achieving the same goal -- use A HREF="..." target="_new", or JavaScript.

`But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that you're right, and MZS is a huge flop. Even in a worst-case scenario, having it there doesn't affect Moz' ability to function, so at worst it does nothing good or bad.' Oh really? Having an almost completely ineffectual button on the Mozilla interface doesn't affect the user's perception of the whole program? You certainly are optimistic.

(4) `In closing, there is no way to "forbid" the existence of something like MZS ...' But I'm not trying to do that, Anon. I have no objection to other people putting all sorts of silly things on their Mozilla interfaces. But you and I both know that 90% of users, at least, can't be bothered changing their interface. All I'm trying to do is prevent MZS from being built into the *default* Mozilla. Because that would be bad for Mozilla, and bad for the Web.

-- mpt (<> -- take this to e-mail, if you wish)