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.

#7 More Third-Party Innovation: XMLTerm

by svn <>

Monday September 27th, 1999 10:59 AM

You are replying to this message

Some quick responses to comments on XMLTerm:

1. Agreed the graphical "ls" looks kind of weird. Most command line users, myself included, wouldn't use it simply because it takes up too much screen space. It is just an example and not actually a part of XMLTerm. As a long time command line user, I'm not even sure I like the blue/black color combination. But I couldn't thing of a better way to distinguish between plain and hyperlinked text ... It is trivial to get the "cat my.tiff" command working under XMLTerm and maybe it would make a better example for the next version.

2. Regarding the Mozilla-specific nature of XMLTerm: I have taken the trouble to code the core portion of XMLTerm to be completely independent of any browser. It is actually written in plain C and is dually licensed under GPL and MPL. I was aware of only one open source layout engine that was powerful enough for what I wanted to do, and so I decided to build a Mozilla-specific layer on top of the core XMLTerm. If Gnome comes up with a good GPL'ed layout engine, for example, the core of XMLTerm could be made to work with it.

3. About XMLTerm and Windows: Strangely enough, I actually use the Bourne shell (as part of the Cygwin utilities) and the TC-shell for locating, moving, or renaming a bunch of files under Windows, with features like command line completion etc. I find the Windows GUI or the MSDOS shell too slow for those operations. Eventually, I hope to get XMLTerm working under Windows so that I can use these shells in a fancier window, but it is not high on the list of priorities. I am out of touch with the Mac world, but I don't suppose it has shell scripting.

4. About the back-end: At the moment, XMLTerm is configured to use a pseudo-TTY on Linux and Solaris. It has a fallback option of using cross-platform NSPR pipes to communicate with the client process on other platforms where PTY support has not been implemented.