Whatever Became of Composer?

Saturday September 19th, 1998

On a slow news Saturday, Jason Kersey, the MozBin Admin, writes in with some questions for us. Jason asks, "What's happened to Composer? Is it dead? It seems that is has not changed since 4.0. Its toolbars remain the same and nothing has been added. Should composer be kept?"

What do you think?

#1 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Martin Willemoes Hansen

Saturday September 19th, 1998 2:15 PM

Personly I don't user Composer! imo it should be left out!

#2 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Ender

Saturday September 19th, 1998 2:43 PM

yeah, i'd have to say to drop it as well... I don't think anyone actually uses it seriously...

#3 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Pedro Ivo Tavares

Saturday September 19th, 1998 2:59 PM

In my opinion, Composer has gotten behind the times. There are scores of better HTML editors out there (such as HomeSite, DreamWeaver and the like), with many more features than Composer.

However, it's good for people doodling in HTML, without knowing much.

My suggestion: make it an optional component, so people who use i (or may use it) don't get left out.

#4 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by David

Saturday September 19th, 1998 3:25 PM

yes leave it out, its clunky/awkward..

#5 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Jason Kersey

Saturday September 19th, 1998 3:40 PM

Yes, I agree with what most have said. Composer was behind during all the developement of 4.0, and is still behind. It has basically been forgotten and is now just dead weight in my opinion. It's HTML layout is poor, and I'm sorry to say that Microsoft's own program is 1000 times better than Composer. It definatly should be an addon similar to what Netcaster was, but not be installed with Communicator by default. Long live Notepad!

Jason Kersey - MozBin -

#6 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by George Giannukos

Saturday September 19th, 1998 3:44 PM

I say leave it out, but keep it as a separate program. I think Netscape should split all of their apps into different programs and you can choose if you want them or not..

I have used Composer just to start my site then i normally, use Notepad, so i have found it useful.

I think they should also drop AOLIM if you ask me or atlest have an option not to download it..

#7 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Chris Nelson

Saturday September 19th, 1998 5:44 PM

It'd be wise to remember that Composer controls any HTMLized email that you wish to create. When Mozilla gets mail re-integrated (in whatever form) if composer's not there, the HTML mail will not be there either.


#8 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by arielb

Saturday September 19th, 1998 5:57 PM

Yes it should be separate-no it shouldn't be dropped. You can't compare it to notepad because it's WYSIWYG. I only know of 2 html editors that are completely wysiwyg and css compliant and one of them is only for the mac. We need a css compliant mozilla wysiwyg editor.

#9 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Jason Kersey

Saturday September 19th, 1998 6:37 PM

A. I hate HTML mail...even more reason to ditch it (no offense, but it just screws up things).

B. I believe that you won't get any advanced features (like css) until you can clean up the mess that it puts out right now. (I've never seen such use of <font> tags in my life except for Composer).

C. It's just so far behind the rest of the project, it is not worth the effort. As I said before, Composer was the last thing to be finished in Communicator, and in many peoples minds, it is not finished. And from what we are seeing currenly, it looks as dead as Netcaster, execpt its still in Communicator.

Those are my feelings. It would be cool to here from someone at Netscape about Composer and its status.

Jason - Mozbin Admin -

#10 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Joachim

Saturday September 19th, 1998 7:59 PM

I think that the composer in its current state is just a cosmetic ingredients for the Communicator suite. If you gonna keep it, be more bold in your efforts and make a basic layout and text-editor not only for html but for all kind of writing and layouting; just make it simple but support added functions as plugins. If Microsoft can turn their Office 2000 suit into a html-editor using XML - then it must be possible for Netscape and the open software movement to do the opposite : turn the composer into a mini all round editor/layouter where anyone can add functions and toolbars by writing plugins (just like the navigator is expandable to show different contents by plugins). With a little luck a short term goal could be a program with some of ClarisWorks versatility and user-friendlyness. Microsofts plan is clearly to squash Netscape by integrating their browser with, not only Windows, but their entire Office suite. Netscape have to come up with something equal - and this is to expand their software platform.


#11 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Duane

Sunday September 20th, 1998 1:34 AM

I would like to see composer remain, but only if it is fixed to become really useful. It is nice in that it is a cross-platform WYSIWIG html editor. What I hate about it is the horribly formatted code it produces. I want to see it produce intelligently formatted, properly nested code similar to what the unix program "cb" does for C code. I won't let it sully my html now for it will reformat it all ugly and unreadable.

#12 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Frank Hecker

Sunday September 20th, 1998 3:01 PM

I can't speak for Netscape, but here are some of my thoughts on Composer, for what they're worth (remember, I'm in a sales group, not a development group :-)

First, if you want more authoritative info on Composer you should contact Kathleen Brade, module owner for Composer; see the module owner's list on the site for contact information and even some more detailed information about Composer plans. This might be a good subject for one of ChrisN's status reports and/or interviews.

Second, I just don't see Netscape dropping Composer as a product feature. Unlike Netcaster, there are lots of people (including me) who use Composer for creating basic web pages and web-based documents. The fact that there are more powerful HTML editors available is somewhat irrelevant; I (and I suspect others) just want a simple way to create basic web content, one that's reasonably well-integrated into Communicator and convenient to invoke and use.

Finally, making Composer a full-featured up-to-date HTML editor, with full CSS support and the like, will almost certainly require it to be rewritten to use the new layout engine. As with support of new layout in Mozilla, that requires both finishing the new layout engine and doing additional integration work to use it appropriately. Personally I presume that that's too much work to get done for the 5.0 release, but rather will have to wait for a post-5.0 release.

#13 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Andy Gruyaert

Sunday September 20th, 1998 3:40 PM

Leave it out. Mozilla has to be a browser, not a html-editor.

#14 Re: Composer as an option !

by ZB

Sunday September 20th, 1998 4:30 PM

Must go out ( even do I use it from time to time ), it was never any god with frames and tables ... there is new tool built with JavaScript within Netscape that is much better for DHTML ... look for it ...and you'll see why Composer must leave .

#15 Re: Composer as an option !

by ZB

Sunday September 20th, 1998 4:32 PM

Must go out ( even do I use it from time to time ), it was never any god with frames and tables ... there is new tool built with JavaScript within Netscape that is much better for DHTML ... look for it ...and you'll see why Composer must leave . ...maybe even before netcaster (which should be updated to suport XML and new java, javascript and flash = .swf) Than it will be of more use to developers.

#16 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Joshua Go

Sunday September 20th, 1998 6:18 PM

I've always kind of liked Composer. It's nice and basic, and works just like a word processor. I even started writing a Linux guide ( with it just to test it out. But having it taken out won't make that big of a deal to me; I just use pico now...

I haven't used a lot of HTML editors that weren't plain text editors as well, but Composer's ease of use got me to use it and try it out. Of course, part of the thing that deterred me was the speed... it's slow compared to just editing HTML and just reloading the page.

Another thing, not anybody's fault, but I had to clean up the HTML to my own personal distorted taste because there were a lot of tags that Composer put in the pages that I considered "messy". I would still recommend using Composer to beginners. It makes the job a lot easier and more simplified.

#17 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Fernando Fuentes

Monday September 21st, 1998 1:41 PM

I use composer to send rich e-mail, and to update some pages on my intranet and is an excelent tool for that. Composer is not a state of the art HTML editor, but not all what you do is state of the art publishing. But if you want to publish some pages that need to be updated quick, with no so much know how, then Composer fits well. Composer should do a better job with tables, and with link manipulation.

#18 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by john

Monday September 21st, 1998 9:06 PM

god! no! how i love my composer!! don't leave it out!! its the most featured wp with the smallest memory reqs on linux!!! (well.. partially due to that netscape is always running ;)

plus its output is cross platform!! i don't have to worry if office95 in the cluster won't read 97 files. EVERY computer view/print HTML! now i can put off buying a printer for another 3 years! whoo!

#19 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Mike Christiansen

Monday September 21st, 1998 9:25 PM

Leave it in. I use it all the time to edit jump pages other simple content on the site I manage. It should not be improved to compete with professional editors. But the fact that it is well integrated and allows the edited pages to be put back on the server make it mighty handy. Also, I like getting HTML mail. Alot of cool things can be done.

#20 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Neil Corlett

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 1:31 PM

leave it in, and update it to ***support CSS*** and get the unix and wintel versions in sync.

the reason it that it provides a fairly simple editor that is realtively easy to use. it actually generates most things most people need for departmental web pages. other solutions are often hairier.

the other benefit is that it ships with the browser. no additional installations, no extra fees. nothing. it is also one of the few web page editors available on unix (including linux).

#21 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Joaquin Gracia

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 2:16 PM

I think that composer must be removed from Mozilla, i never use composer to design Web pages.

#22 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Chris Nelson

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 3:50 PM

Stay tuned for an update on the status of Composer. There are some cool things coming.


#23 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Lee S. Bumgarner

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 4:48 PM

Composer should become a fullfleged wordprocessor. That would be a great selling point.

#24 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by George Giannukos

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 7:49 PM

YA....Netscape should make a FREE word processor and fuck Microsoft over!?!

give them a taste of their own medice..

Netscape should boundle the word processor with compaq computers, IBM, ect...

#25 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Bill Norton

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 8:12 PM

Keep Composer! It's great for quick changes and edits and besides it works well in Linux.

Like to see it become a word processor as well, perhaps integrate word processing into a program that combines both Messenger and Composer and general word processing, all in one program.

#26 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Jason Kersey

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 11:51 PM

OK this thread is now dead. Read the article on composer, and see how that looks. Give me your feedback on that in talkback!

#27 Re:Whatever Became of Composer?

by Alexey

Friday September 25th, 1998 1:38 PM

It is useless unless they add form controls to it.

#28 Composer? Better than nothing

by SuperSamat

Sunday October 4th, 1998 12:56 AM

Well, Composer (right now anyway) is a free WYSIWIG editor.

It's problems, it's slow, clunky, has a miserable refresh on Windows, and lacks support for today's tech.

On the good side, it's awesome. Compared to something miserable such as FrontPad included with IE4 (curses!), it's one of the best things you can get for free. More and more people are making web pages out there, and having a good editor to make good pages for the browser is not a bad idea. Doesn't matter if the thing is put off till the end, if it comes out decent, included Composer will be well worth it.