Sans Browser

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XULExplorer 0.4 for Mac [Updated]

June 22nd, 2007 by enefekt

Since I noticed that Mark Finkle’s download slot for XULExplorer 0.4 for Mac was still labeled as “coming soon”, I figured I would whip up a Mac distribution. So I grabbed the source from Subversion and did just that.

Some things I got errors on:
I didn’t see a “tasksOverlay.dtd” file, so I just disabled those entities in “inspector.xul”.
There wasn’t a “venkman-overlay.dtd”, but I found one via Google and slammed that in there.

So I guess this isn’t an “official” distribution, there prolly is some stuff not 100% right. The app bundle directory arrangement might be a little different too, since I slapped the source into my own build process, and created the distribution from that.

Oh, and I used XULRunner, what I had laying around. I guess it’s not a UB. If I do this again, the next one will be. (Should still work fine on Mac Intel, will double-check when I get on my Macbook Pro later today)
Update: Works fine on Mac Intel, forgot that gives you a UB, will update this weekend sometime.
Update 2: Now a (fat) Universal Binary

Here it is:
XULExplorer 0.4 – Mac (Universal Binary – 19.2 MB)

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Neo-Desktop Applications and the Three Religions

June 21st, 2007 by enefekt

There are a couple great posts spawned by a post by Simon Morris on He talks about three flavors of RIA “religions”, Browserism, Neo-Desktopism, and Pragmatic Neo-Desktopism.

Shaking the gratuitous buzzwords and fictional religious names off, I think there is a lot of relevant material here for Mozpad.

Caught all this by way of Ryan’s post. Ryan makes an excellent point:

The browser is not going to replace desktop applications, it just won’t happen. So instead of focusing so much energy on trying to pull that off, the “Browserists” should engage with the “Neo-Desktopists” and come up with a very web-centric solution for deploying desktop applications.

This idea is what was behind my idea to merge the deployment, distribution, and update mechanisms that exist with Firefox Add-Ons, with XULRunner apps.

So is Mozilla a Browserist, and Mozpad a Neo-Desktopist? :) You decide, here are the definitions:

Browserism is the belief that the web browser (or comparable page-centric markup-orientated HTTP-bound middleware platform) is the future of end user facing software; a belief solely based on observation that the web is currently the predominant tool for accessing the internet. The goal of Browserism is to slowly evolve a common web platform to include the functionality traditional desktop applications have supported since the rise of the Micro Computer in the early Eighties. Browserists get very excited by user interfaces approximating desktop applications circa 1984 (”wow, you can drag the map!”) or functionality which reminds them of a Commodore 64 (”gee whiz, I can save data onto the computer’s disk itself!”)

Neo-Desktopism is the belief that the web browser as an end user facing application platform is ultimately an evolutionary cul-de-sac. The goal of Neo-Desktopism is to evolve traditional desktop application technologies (for Java, this would be Swing and AWT primarily, although also includes the JRE itself) to a point where they can float free of a physical local client installation, deploying on demand just like web pages. Neo-Desktopities get very excited when their Java WebStart applications actually start on a friend’s laptop first time, without having to spend ten minutes fiddling with their Java installation while gawking at an impossibly long stack trace.

Pragmatic Neo-Desktopism is the belief that the web browser as an end user facing application platform is ultimately an evolutionary cul-de-sac, but we’d all get fired if we admitted that to our bosses. Pragmatic Neo-Desktopities desperately want to write proper Neo-Dekstop software, but are conscious of the fact that the fashion amongst Dilbert-esque managers is for all software to launch from a URL. So they simply embed heavyweight technologies inside a web page, which, while acting totally without sympathy to the host environment, at least keeps the Dilbert-esque managers happy.

Filed under Adobe, IDA, Mozilla, Mozpad having Comments Off

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Songbird’s XULRunner Wishlist

June 21st, 2007 by enefekt

Songbird has posted their wishlist for XULRunner.

Filed under Mozpad, XULRunner having Comments Off

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Updated Mozpad Action Proposals

June 18th, 2007 by enefekt

I have updated and hopefully clarified a couple of the Mozpad action proposals that I’ve championed. You can either leave comments here or start a thread on the Mozpad groups list. The two that I’ve updated are:

Mark Finkle has already started on his Platform wish list.

Filed under Mozpad, XULRunner having Comments Off

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Mozpad Action Item Proposals

June 12th, 2007 by enefekt

I have added some bits to some existing proposals and added proposals for some items that I’ve championed on the Mozpad wiki. Here are some direct links to those:

Oh, and on the wiki, is that cat image causing the main page to load slow? It’s not a huge image, but seems like it is being served up slow.

Filed under Mozpad, XULRunner having Comments Off

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Mozpad: My Agenda

June 11th, 2007 by enefekt

I thought it would be a good idea to briefly highlight a few things about myself and my interest in Mozpad, XULRunner application development, and how I feel I can contribute.

First, where am I coming from? What is my experience to-date with software development? I have over five years experience in multimedia and web development. A while back I did a small amount of work with Macromedia Director, but mainly I have worked with HTML/JavaScript, Flash/Flex, and PHP/MySQL. I started Flash development with Flash 5, and have been working with the Flash Platform all the way through today with ActionScript 3 and Flex 2. For the past year and a half I have been working with XULRunner in addition as well. So I’m relatively new to this whole Mozilla community, so forgive me If I make some missteps or mistakes. (Like mentioning the F (irefox) word in a Mozpad IRC meeting? :) )

How can I contribute? Being able to provide a viewpoint of someone from the “outside” who is more familiar with JavaScript and ActionScript than C++ or make. Focusing on application development, not the actual platform development of XULRunner itself. Determining what are hurdles for me (and hopefully by extension others in a similar area), and helping to find a way to lower those hurdles, if not help eliminate them.

What do I expect to get in return? To start with, better firsthand experience with the technology and the community to help guide some of the decisions I need to make at my day job, and personal work. I’m especially interested in the general subject of cross-platform desktop applications that use web technologies, and work with the web. I also would like to get some more experience working with an open source community, something which I think seems to be getting more and more important. Last, I do have some selfish interests in making myself and my skills more marketable, and establishing some networking
for future opportunities.

Just a heads up too. I am not Mozilla-exclusive, and will continue working with Flex and Adobe AIR.

So thats my agenda. :)

We’ll see how this goes. I’ll regularly do some checkpoints and try and evaluate whether it seems I’m contributing anything of value, or making any progress.

To start, some brief Mozpad action item champion posts will follow.

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Mozpad Mic Check

June 4th, 2007 by enefekt

One two one two.

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Mozilla’s and Adobe’s Gears Responses

June 2nd, 2007 by enefekt

Interesting to see reactions from Adobe and Mozilla to the Google Gears project.

Even though both companies have a platform that has been working on similar functionality, Adobe has welcomed it with open arms by announcing work to align APIs, while Mozilla is keeping it at arms length.

Also, I wonder if all those anti-plug-in purists that hate the Flash Player will take on a double-standard and adopt the Gears plug-in.

Filed under Adobe, Apollo, Firefox, Mozilla having Comments Off