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.

#3 Mozilla Middleware?

by james_keller <>

Friday November 12th, 1999 11:17 AM

You are replying to this message

After I finished reading the article, I began ruminating on the idea of the browser as middleware. And I got to thinking, why not get right into it, have Mozilla MiddleWare. Web applications are great, sure. But sometimes you want to write a client-side application.

Well what if you could easily write a complete application that relied on much of the mozilla framework. Some of the easy-networking and especially the XML skins would be of great interest. If I could write an application that could already be skinned with next to zero effort on my part. Well.. I think that would be cool. Plus it would be cross-platform.

I'm not involved in Mozilla development, so It's not like I really know what I'm talking about. But here's where maybe someone can take this idea and run with it. I don't know what would be required to create some type of mozilla framework that others could build upon (to make non-browser/plug in type applications. Say.. a word processor, or a cross platform winamp). But I see the potential just in the browser, and in what I hear from any developer I talk to.

Good Idea? Bad Idea?