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.

#21 Require good java support in Mozilla

by Anon

Monday November 15th, 1999 11:38 PM

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For this to happen, Mozilla needs to have _very_ good and stable java integration. XPCOM components need to be written in some language; they are the part that do the interesting things. They are scripted using XPIDL, the DOM, XUL, etc. While XPCOM components can be written in Javascript, javascript sometimes lacks the necessary libraries to do the advanced sort of back-end stuff needed for large applications. Imagine that I make an XPCOM component that can read and write MSWORD documents. Do I want to write this in JavaScript? This might be quite hard. However, if I write it in Java, I can rely on a large collection of open-sourced third party libraries as well as have a cross-platform set of XPCOM components. Then, I could script against these using Javascript, the DOM, etc. This would rock my world!

Thanks, Brad GNUberg