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XUL (pronounced "Zool" as in "Cool") Technology

 
 
Adam Warner
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      02-28-2004
Hi all,

I'd like to hear your reactions to the application and GUI technologies
built into Mozilla. I was taken by surprise when I clicked on the
"screenshot" at <http://mab.mozdev.org/> and up popped a fully functioning
application!

This isn't an ActiveX trick that just downloads and executes a native
Win32 application. This is a fully portable GUI application that works on
any platform that Mozilla runs upon. A decent overview is available from
<http://www.mozilla.org/projects/xul/joy-of-xul.html>.

At the moment it popped up I got a glimpse of the future of cross-platform
networked application development. But as Microsoft has halted its browser
innovation on all existing platforms you cannot take advantage of these
innovations (and solution providers can't develop for them) unless
organisations and individuals are prepared to install and use the Mozilla
browser or one its derivatives. The technologies are being standardised
but Microsoft is working upon a Longhorn-specific version it calls XAML.
Thus there will likely be no support for XUL in MS Internet Explorer even
post-Longhorn (and doing so would undermine Win32 desktop lock in).
<http://longhorn.msdn.microsoft.com/lhsdk/core/overviews/about%20xaml.aspx>

I'd also like to hear if there is resistance to installing Mozilla on
business desktops and if so whether such resistance should evaporate the
first time a compelling business application is created using XUL-related
technologies.

Regards,
Adam
 
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T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz
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      02-28-2004
Adam Warner wrote:
> I'd also like to hear if there is resistance to installing Mozilla on
> business desktops and if so whether such resistance should evaporate the
> first time a compelling business application is created using XUL-related
> technologies.


Well for a start it doesn't seem to like working with the proxy we use
at work... the proxy grabs auth from the "internet users" group in AD,
but mozilla just doesnt see it.

IT people get around it, but it would be annoying for users.

--
Http://www.Dave.net.nz
Play Hangman
Register, and play Space Invaders or Pacman.
 
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Adam Warner
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      02-28-2004
Hi Dave,

> Well for a start it doesn't seem to like working with the proxy we use
> at work... the proxy grabs auth from the "internet users" group in AD,
> but mozilla just doesnt see it.
>
> IT people get around it, but it would be annoying for users.


So Microsoft Internet Explorer is the only browser that works on your
network (without manually configuring a different browser's proxy
settings) because it is the only browser that integrates with Active
Directory authorisation?

This is a higher degree of architectural lock in than I was expecting but
one that I'm sure can be addressed via published Windows APIs. So let's
continue on the basis that a future Mozilla can actually access the
Internet. If you've got Mozilla Internet connectivity do you have any
comments about XUL itself? (I don't mind if you don't. The info about
Mozilla not being able to connect to the Internet in some business
environments was very helpful).

Regards,
Adam
 
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T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz
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      02-28-2004
Adam Warner wrote:
>>Well for a start it doesn't seem to like working with the proxy we use
>>at work... the proxy grabs auth from the "internet users" group in AD,
>>but mozilla just doesnt see it.
>>IT people get around it, but it would be annoying for users.


> So Microsoft Internet Explorer is the only browser that works on your
> network (without manually configuring a different browser's proxy
> settings) because it is the only browser that integrates with Active
> Directory authorisation?


Nah, the others work, but users have to chuck in their
username(domain/username) and their password... which isn't a great
issue, and Im sure it would be easy enough for them to change the
username/password to include a domain for users using mozilla on a
domain, and for that matter, Im sure it wouldn't be too hard to get it
to look at what domain it is currently sitting on, grab the current
username from the registry of soemthing so the user only has to enter
the password... but as it is, no, it doesnt work for normal users.

> This is a higher degree of architectural lock in than I was expecting but
> one that I'm sure can be addressed via published Windows APIs. So let's
> continue on the basis that a future Mozilla can actually access the
> Internet. If you've got Mozilla Internet connectivity do you have any
> comments about XUL itself? (I don't mind if you don't. The info about
> Mozilla not being able to connect to the Internet in some business
> environments was very helpful).


Love it, I think it is ****ing amazing.

--
Http://www.Dave.net.nz
Play Hangman
Register, and play Space Invaders or Pacman.
 
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Bob McLellan
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      02-29-2004
From a developers point of view XUL is wonderful. It does suffer from
the usual problem of poor documentation (this is mandatory for any
software, and twice so for open source) but other wise it is great. XUL
(and all the rest of the X's) enable cross platform apps - that is,
write the app ONCE (no compiling) and just run it using the appropriate
Mozilla. Users don't even know they are using Moz and no 'browser' stuff
intrudes. Get the 'mines' app from mozdev.org to see what it can do.

Adam Warner wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I'd like to hear your reactions to the application and GUI technologies
> built into Mozilla. I was taken by surprise when I clicked on the
> "screenshot" at <http://mab.mozdev.org/> and up popped a fully functioning
> application!
>
> This isn't an ActiveX trick that just downloads and executes a native
> Win32 application. This is a fully portable GUI application that works on
> any platform that Mozilla runs upon. A decent overview is available from
> <http://www.mozilla.org/projects/xul/joy-of-xul.html>.
>
> At the moment it popped up I got a glimpse of the future of cross-platform
> networked application development. But as Microsoft has halted its browser
> innovation on all existing platforms you cannot take advantage of these
> innovations (and solution providers can't develop for them) unless
> organisations and individuals are prepared to install and use the Mozilla
> browser or one its derivatives. The technologies are being standardised
> but Microsoft is working upon a Longhorn-specific version it calls XAML.
> Thus there will likely be no support for XUL in MS Internet Explorer even
> post-Longhorn (and doing so would undermine Win32 desktop lock in).
> <http://longhorn.msdn.microsoft.com/lhsdk/core/overviews/about%20xaml.aspx>
>
> I'd also like to hear if there is resistance to installing Mozilla on
> business desktops and if so whether such resistance should evaporate the
> first time a compelling business application is created using XUL-related
> technologies.
>
> Regards,
> Adam


 
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Ray Greene
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      02-29-2004
That's pretty cool.

Where I work I'm sure they would be happy to use Mozilla if there was a
reason to do so.

Having said that I can't think of anything we could actually use it for, and
I doubt that anyone we deal with would be innovative enough to bother.

I'll be interested to see how XUL does, but I honestly can't see it taking
off unless it works in IE.

Ray Greene.
 
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AD.
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      02-29-2004
On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 13:58:29 +1300, T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz wrote:

> Adam Warner wrote:
>> I'd also like to hear if there is resistance to installing Mozilla on
>> business desktops and if so whether such resistance should evaporate the
>> first time a compelling business application is created using
>> XUL-related technologies.

>
> Well for a start it doesn't seem to like working with the proxy we use at
> work... the proxy grabs auth from the "internet users" group in AD, but
> mozilla just doesnt see it.
>
> IT people get around it, but it would be annoying for users.


I haven't tried it out, but doesn't Moz 1.6 have the ability to do NTLM
auth? In fact I think 1.5 could also do it, but just on Windows. I also
assuming it can use this for proxy auth too.

And you would still need to have NTLM enabled in your AD. For Kerberos
only ADs, open source support is less mature.

Here are a couple of projects that are heading in the right direction - if
very slowly

http://negotiateauth.mozdev.org/
http://modgssapache.sourceforge.net/

Cheers
Anton
 
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AD.
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Posts: n/a
 
      02-29-2004
On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 13:53:33 +1300, Adam Warner wrote:

> I'd also like to hear if there is resistance to installing Mozilla on
> business desktops...


No more than the general resistance to install anything non MS on
corporate desktops

> ... and if so whether such resistance should evaporate
> the first time a compelling business application is created using
> XUL-related technologies.


You'd be surprised how good the average IT dept is at resisting compelling
business applications

The moment someone did write a compelling business app in XUL, MS would
turn up the marketing of all kinds of XML, .NET, and Longhorn stuff enough
to make IT depts think they could just wait for MS to bring it out.

Cynical, me?

Cheers
Anton
 
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Adam Warner
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      02-29-2004
Hi Anton,

>> ... and if so whether such resistance should evaporate the first time a
>> compelling business application is created using XUL-related
>> technologies.

>
> You'd be surprised how good the average IT dept is at resisting
> compelling business applications


That's disturbingly funny.

> The moment someone did write a compelling business app in XUL, MS would
> turn up the marketing of all kinds of XML, .NET, and Longhorn stuff
> enough to make IT depts think they could just wait for MS to bring it
> out.


I even more recently described XUL to some developers and one promptly
told me that it sounds like Mozilla is copying XAML.

Regards,
Adam
 
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AD.
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      02-29-2004
On Mon, 01 Mar 2004 11:22:33 +1300, Adam Warner wrote:

>> The moment someone did write a compelling business app in XUL, MS would
>> turn up the marketing of all kinds of XML, .NET, and Longhorn stuff
>> enough to make IT depts think they could just wait for MS to bring it
>> out.

>
> I even more recently described XUL to some developers and one promptly
> told me that it sounds like Mozilla is copying XAML.


I'd laugh if it wasn't so inevitable. I think that's why MS gets away with
calling itself innovative - their intended audience isn't going to know
any better.

The one thing that bugs me the most about the 'computer industry' is the
way so many so called professionals put on blinkers and ignore
alternatives to their chosen technologies (or should that be religions?).
And in case anyone thinks I'm just attacking MS developers/admins here (or
Woger hehe), I'm not - it happens pretty much everywhere where people have
invested time in learning something.

One good thing about usenet etc, is that while it may not exactly make
everyone more open minded, they will at least be exposed to other points
of view or the possibilities of other technologies.

Cheers
Anton
 
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