Salon: The Browser as Middleware and Microsoft's Missteps

Friday November 12th, 1999

Salon Online has an interesting article in their Technology section, "Do the paranoid survive?" which delves into the paranoia that caused Microsoft to go after Netscape. Although the author discusses the idea of "the browser as middleware" -- the idea that the browser could function as a platform upon which other applications can be developed, in effect commoditizing the Operating System -- he neglects to mention that as a direct result of Microsoft's actions, Mozilla has sprung up and has been quietly developing a browser that actually embodies Microsoft's paranoid delusions. With 95% cross-platform code (expected to be 97% by release) and a user-interface built from XML, scriptable via JavaScript and C/C++, and rendered via HTML/CSS, Mozilla has more potential as a middle-tier base for cross-platform, Internet-ready application development than Netscape's offerings ever had. The Mozilla team is forging ahead into a new era in Internet applications (the Nokia/Intel Internet appliance is only the beginning) and even if it can't surmount IE's lead in the desktop browser base, it will indelibly change the face of the Internet, just as the first GUI browsers did. And Microsoft will once again be playing catch-up.

Thanks to James Keller for the news.

#14 StarOffice has it's own reality

by james_keller <>

Friday November 12th, 1999 11:37 PM

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I'll agree with that one. As a win95 user, I'm used to my desktop and things behaving in a certain way. StarOffice's default behavior is to make itself the desktop (which it does not do 100% well) and it begins changing some of the common metaphors that I'm used to. Now perhaps in another OS this is more normal, but it all combines into a slightly unfriendly first impression. It's trying to be more than *just* an application.

Mozilla has it beat hands down. Mozilla is exactly what I expect + more. So you could be onto something with the whole synergy angle. I appreciate what Sun's trying to do. And maybe in time I'll love StarDesktop, but if I weren't a bit of a power user I'm sure I would have given up by now. <shrug> lessons to learn from I guess.