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XSLT Support in Next AIR Release

August 31st, 2007 by enefekt

I make use of XSLTProcessor quite a bit in XULRunner, so I was hoping to see this happen. Looks like Mike Chambers spilled the beans in the comment thread on this post. (Thanks Mike!)

Dave Johnson had been chafing over this too.

BTW, here is info on the different XSLT engines used in Mozilla and WebKit browsers:
Mozilla: TransforMiiX
WebKit: libxslt

Filed under AIR, Adobe, IDA having Comments Off

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WebRunner:Instant AIR Competitor

August 29th, 2007 by enefekt

I’ve been trying my best to try and figure out the current landscape of technology offerings for RIA and IDA development. So forgive me for this rant-ish post, and correct me or help me where I’m just dead wrong.

I believe in choosing the right technology for a project’s or product’s requirements. Some of the projects I work on are obviously web applications, so I target the browser and either use HTML/JavaScript for simple interfaces, or Flex/ActionScript for advanced interfaces or rich media integration.

But we’ve frequently found ourselves in the position of needing to create relatively light-weight desktop applications with advanced UI requirements, that can easily work with web technologies.

Building these IDAs with client technologies like Flash/Flex/XUL/ECMAScript has been awesome in developing fast and good, and not having to code Swing layouts. This idea has pretty much been hackish at best in the past until XULRunner came along. But now AIR is here, and I’m trying to evaluate both. So this is the type of target I’m referring to with this post, Internet Desktop Applications with advanced interface requirements.

This post and chat transcript posted by Matt of AllPeers really kind of set off some alarm bells. Not gonna summarize it, so you may have to read it. But I’m replying to some thoughts presented in it.

HTML? Hyper-text Markup Language: Formatting text documents.

XUL? XML User Interface Language: Creating user interfaces

Merge XUL into HTML, gradually over time? Why? Use the best tool for the job! Leave HTML for what it does best, for documents. And talking about some future idea that may be cool (or the worst thing ever done), is not NOW. There are excellent tools and technologies available NOW that do these things (Flex, ActionScript 3, AIR)

What is WebRunner’s or Firefox 3’s interface developed in? XUL, not HTML. Maybe once we see Firefox shipping with an all HTML interface then I’ll be able to see HTML as some sort of capable user interface language.

If Mozilla’s own evangelists are encouraging HTML over XUL, then it would be downright foolish to champion it, and makes me uneasy choosing it to develop with.

So who is putting their weight behind a modern, advanced, rich, and internet friendly programming language and user interface markup language? Adobe, with Flex and ActionScript 3.

In more than one spot I have seen this evangelism of using HTML over XUL for developing rich applications, and wonder what is at it’s core. Maybe it is because the Mozilla Foundation/Corporation is unsure of the future API or compatibility and stability of using XUL and its companions. And they figure HTML is the safe way to go for the “masses”.

Again, who has the awesome history of distributing a runtime far and fast, proven backwards compatibility in a runtime, and is at the same time making great advancements with innovation for rich media, RIA, and internet desktop application developers? Adobe. With the Flash Player, and no doubt soon to come AIR.

I’m trying my best to find something to keep me hackin’ on XUL and JavaScript, but I keep seeing these confusing mixed signals as to the future of a capable RIA/IDA platform or runtime using Mozilla technologies. (Or no signals at all)

Don’t get me wrong, I love working with XUL, JavaScript, and XULRunner, and I have a number of projects using the technology. So I’ll be continuing to develop with it. But for new and future projects I’m gonna have give it some serious thought.

Filed under AIR, Adobe, IDA, Mozilla, Mozpad having 5 Comments »

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Super Add-Ons Possible!

August 23rd, 2007 by enefekt

Looks like my idea of Super Add-Ons might be possible with Firefox 3!

It appears its all experimental right now, but hey I’m not to proud to gobble up table scraps!

Some shortcomings to note right away:

  • Firefox prefs and commandline handlers are still in effect.
  • On Mac the dock icon will be Firefox
  • On Windows the shared taskbar icon will have the Firefox logo.

Let’s see what we can’t do.