More Third-Party Innovation: XMLTerm

Monday September 27th, 1999

R. Saravanan has sent in to us a copy of his recent posting to the xpfe and unix newsgroups. He writes:

"XMLterm: an experimental Mozilla terminal

Real time chat ...
Real time messaging ...
Now, real time computing ... (no controversies here, I hope!)

An early prototype of XMLterm, an XTERM-like terminal program implemented using the Mozilla layout engine, is now available to tinker with. XMLterm aims to add graphical and hypertext capabilities to the XTERM command line interface, while maintaining backwards compatibility.

The basic design philosophy of XMLterm is that the user interface is a dynamic XML document. The user and the computer interact by taking turns at appending to this XML document. The plain text content of the XML document, i.e., excluding any markup, corresponds to the plain text that would be displayed by a plain XTERM. The markup in the XML document is used to add graphical and hypertext features. XMLterm uses the Mozilla layout engine to display the XML document.

See for more information, screenshots, and downloads. XMLterm is a non-commercial open source project in its early stages. Comments and contributions are welcome!"

Definitely check it out! You can download the source, or, if using Linux, you can download a binary for use with M9. There's a lot to see at that site (and quite a bit not mentioned in his announcement). What are "Pagelets"? I'll let you find out for yourself, but they're worth seeing.

#4 More Third-Party Innovation: XMLTerm

by wheezy

Monday September 27th, 1999 9:47 AM

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I have to say I'm dubious. Let me clarify: The XMLTerm idea is a wonderful idea, and it brilliantly showcases the power of Mozilla. However, I think this might be another instance of a trend which might not be The Right Thing.

I think Mozilla could be described as a very powerful application core. A browser, an editor, a mail and news reader, etc. are all built on this core. I'll say it again: it's very powerful. So powerful and cross-platform that a trend is emerging, of treating the Mozilla core as an OS in and of itself. This in itself isn't exactly a bad thing -- it's just making use of available technology, as far as I can argue. But it seems like Mozilla may be trying to fill more niches than for which it is needed. It's a strange situation to be in, where the architecture is so damn good that you can do things in it that maybe shouldn't be done the way they are...

This is, I guess, a bit vague of an argument. On one hand, Mozilla is incredible as evidenced by these developments. On the other hand, Mozilla shouldn't (maybe) fill the role of an operating system. For example, an XML-based terminal doesn't exactly make sense on a Mac or Windows platform -- should a cross platform core be used? The list of questions goes on.