Linked by mufasa on Mon 10th Aug 2009 12:25 UTC
Web 2.0 The web browser has been the dominant thin client, now rich client, for almost two decades, but can it compete with a new thin client that makes better technical choices and avoids the glacial standards process? I don't think so, as the current web technology stack of HTML/Javascript/Flash has accumulated so many bad decisions over the years that it's ripe for a clean sheet redesign to wipe it out.
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rycamor
Member since:
2005-07-18

40 comments about the future of thin clients and no one has mentioned Mozilla's XUL?
( https://developer.mozilla.org/En/Using_Mozilla_code_in_other_project... )

It was created out of exactly the sort of frustration of trying to use HTML to develop rich GUI applications, BUT it doesn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. You can deliver XUL via HTTP just like HTML--in fact you can include HTML inside XUL and vice-versa. You can use Javascript--and with signed applications, you have access to lower-level capabilities such as sockets and file operations.

HTML was designed as a document presentation language. That was the whole point, since it is just a subset of SGML. While it excels at that, it was never intended as a GUI application language, which is why we have to do all sorts of contortions with Javascript, DHTML and CSS whereas real GUI application toolkits have things like element bindings, observers, and broadcasters as well as rich GUI elements like collapsible trees, resizable lists and grids, etc... XUL has all these and more, and lets you specify them as easily as you do HTML, and because of the overall design, often requires a LOT less Javascript to handle interactions, compared to how one would solve the problem with HTML.

The fact that the same browser can handle XUL and HTML makes it a perfect marriage, because you can still use HTML whenever it is appropriate, without any preamble or boilerplate.

For the life of me I can't understand why more companies aren't using XUL for thin client apps. It is completely cross-platform approach, requiring only Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, or just the special stripped-down interpreter called XULRunner.

Edited 2009-08-11 05:19 UTC

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