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

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Adam Warner, Feb 28, 2004.

  1. Adam Warner

    Adam Warner Guest

    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
    Adam Warner, Feb 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. 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.
    T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz, Feb 28, 2004
    #2
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  3. Adam Warner

    Adam Warner Guest

    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
    Adam Warner, Feb 28, 2004
    #3
  4. 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 fucking amazing.

    --
    Http://www.Dave.net.nz
    Play Hangman
    Register, and play Space Invaders or Pacman.
    T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz, Feb 28, 2004
    #4
  5. Adam Warner

    Bob McLellan Guest

    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
    Bob McLellan, Feb 29, 2004
    #5
  6. Adam Warner

    Ray Greene Guest

    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.
    Ray Greene, Feb 29, 2004
    #6
  7. Adam Warner

    AD. Guest

    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
    AD., Feb 29, 2004
    #7
  8. Adam Warner

    AD. Guest

    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
    AD., Feb 29, 2004
    #8
  9. Adam Warner

    Adam Warner Guest

    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
    Adam Warner, Feb 29, 2004
    #9
  10. Adam Warner

    AD. Guest

    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
    AD., Feb 29, 2004
    #10
  11. AD. wrote:
    >>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/


    thanks, I'll keep my eye on them.

    --
    Dave Hall
    http://Dave.net.nz
    We have Hangman, Pacman, and Space Invaders
    T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz, Feb 29, 2004
    #11
  12. AD. wrote:
    > 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?).


    For the same reason that "scientific research" can be paid for to prove
    or disprove practically anything.

    > 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.


    yeah, it's good like that.

    --
    Dave Hall
    http://Dave.net.nz
    We have Hangman, Pacman, and Space Invaders
    T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz, Feb 29, 2004
    #12
  13. Adam Warner

    AD. Guest

    On Mon, 01 Mar 2004 12:14:00 +1300, T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz wrote:

    > AD. wrote:
    >>>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/

    >
    > thanks, I'll keep my eye on them.


    Apparently the negotiateauth stuff (using kerberos) is scheduled to be
    included in Mozilla 1.7:

    http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=17578

    That's the bit that transparently authenticates you to the webserver (ie
    like Windows Integrated Authentication on IIS and IE).

    I would really like to see completely transparent authentication working
    across just about any combination of OS, browser and webserver (and proxy
    server also).

    Cheers
    Anton
    AD., Mar 1, 2004
    #13
  14. Adam Warner wrote:
    > I even more recently described XUL to some developers and one promptly
    > told me that it sounds like Mozilla is copying XAML.


    Your original post seems to have dropped off my server, but I find using
    that app you linked to, kinda like using our Java interface for backups
    at work...

    http://dave.net.nz/images/backup.jpg

    --
    Dave Hall
    http://Dave.net.nz
    We have Hangman, Pacman, and Space Invaders
    T.N.O. - Dave.net.nz, Mar 4, 2004
    #14
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