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.

#11 Mozilla Services Proposal

by Anon

Monday July 12th, 1999 5:59 AM

You are replying to this message

"Ok Anon -- small chance you're still reading this..."

And why shouldn't I be? It's my proposal.

"You have no idea who I am, and I do not describe myself in my post."

Oh no? I find the implication that I am required to wait for you to explicitly describe your flaws before I become capable of recognizing them, faintly offensive. Perhaps you have confused me with an eel, or a fern, or some other life form generally incapable of reason, as so many other people seem to do (by way of making the same implication).

"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."

Here you go again saying that MZS will cause bad design and broken pages.. but you have no evidence to support your claims, and you can hardly say that MZS will contain sinister, demonic powers that will lead designers astray.

On the other hand, I can (and do) contend that given a sufficiently good browser to design for (which Moz is), the designer, not the browser, is responsible for good design. Furthermore, I contend that some people are responsible designers and some aren't; and that the responsible ones will know to include non-MZS content, just like they would include clean browser sniffers or ALT tags or NOFRAMES content or anything else. The irresponsible ones have been designing bad pages all along, and MZS can hardly be blamed for chronically irresponsible designers, especially when they've been around for years before MZS was even conceived of.

"Sorry, I disagree that browsers are incapable of encouraging good design."

I don't know about you, but my copy of Netscape doesn't offer formatting tips, advice on X-browser Javascript compatibility, or nagging reminders to provide alternative content for other browsers. It doesn't lecture me on coding style, and it doesn't provide me with user studies on my web pages. So I don't know what you're talking about, but my browser sure doesn't do anything to encourage good design.. the best it can do is allow it.

"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."

I don't know what rock you've been under, but most web pages ARE interfaces, in addition to any content they might provide. Any page with a hyperlink qualifies. In fact, the Mozilla interface itself is nothing more than a screwy web page, thereby taking the concept of page-as-interface to its logical extreme.

"With MZS, there is a standard way of achieving the same goal -- use A HREF="..." target="_new", or JavaScript."

I'm well aware of that. The difference between those methods and MZS is simply that MZS is always available and uses up otherwise wasted space on the toolbar, while putting the links directly on the page would either require frames (possibly wasting genuinely useful screenspace) or scrolling to find the link.

"I have no objection to other people putting all sorts of silly things on their Mozilla interfaces. [...] 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."

I still don't see that you've established how this is so. Your arguments seem to consist almost entirely of supposition, misconception and strawman-whacking; if you want to convince me that integrating MZS is such a bad idea, you're going to have to better than this.

Incidentally, I never said that MZS *has* to be integrated into Moz by default. I simply feel that without that integration to give it exposure (both to designers and to the general public), it'll end up being ignored, and any benefits it might have provided will be lost.