Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Sep 2008 11:15 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones With the recent surge in WebKit adoption, many have stated to question the usefulness of Mozilla's Gecko browsing engine, claiming that WebKit is far superior. Some even go as far as saying that Firefox should ditch Gecko in favour of WebKit. Ars Technica's Ryan Paul explains why that is utter, utter bogus. "From a technical perspective, Gecko is now very solid and no longer lags behind WebKit. A testament to the rate at which Gecko has been improving is its newfound viability in the mobile space, where it was practically considered a nonstarter not too long ago. Mozilla clearly has the resources, developer expertise, and community support to take Gecko anywhere that WebKit can go."
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RE[3]: Epiphany?
by rycamor on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Epiphany?"
rycamor
Member since:
2005-07-18

Mozilla made a huge bet on XUL and xpcomm many years ago... and today they have to point out the few and little known applications which actually make any use of them, outside of Firefox itself... where they admit that using them too heavily was one of their biggest mistakes.


I'm curious; where have they admitted this?

And as for "few and little known applications", you DO realize that every one of the many popular Firefox extensions happens to be a XUL application. Even if XUL/XPComm's usefulness were limited to this alone, I would say it has been worthwhile. It is something that Webkit and MSHTML cannot even touch.

And, there are actually many, many XUL applications in use as we speak. I personally did a fairly major corporate touchscreen application using it. XUL is a very good choice for corporate "intranet" applications where the company need simply specify the browser for all desktops to use and rich GUI apps can be run directly over HTTP. And XUL/Javascript is way, way ahead of HTML/Ajax.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by sbergman27 on Tue 9th Sep 2008 15:33 in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm curious; where have they admitted this?

Please RTFA. There is a clearly marked link to the Scott Collins quote on the first page.

And, there are actually many, many XUL applications in use as we speak.

What color is the sky on your planet? Because here it is blue, and XUL apps are rarely seen in actual use. Provide a list of these "many many apps" along with estimated user bases. And yes, I do note the importance of actual users here. For example, Chatzilla still exists. But how many people actually use it?

I would like to thank you, however, for posting your views on the matter, rather than engaging in the more common practice of just doing a "drive-by modding" of any post critical of Mozilla/Firefox/Gecko. Unlike that strategy, yours shows that you have genuine confidence in them.

Edited 2008-09-09 15:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Epiphany?
by rycamor on Tue 9th Sep 2008 16:52 in reply to "RE[4]: Epiphany?"
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18


Please RTFA. There is a clearly marked link to the Scott Collins quote on the first page.


Yes, I found that right after I posted, but I figured I would wait for the inevitable F-ing. If you will notice, he does not say that XUL and XPCOM were overused, but simply that XPCOM was used too much in low-level components where it really wasn't needed. I still consider that significantly different from how you painted it.

I certainly have no motivation to provide the list you demand of users and applications (especially because you chose to ignore the many Firefox extensions that are quite roaringly popular). As I said, many of them are internal corporate applications, which I read about by participating in various Mozilla-related mailing lists. No, I can't quantify but neither can you.

I agree it is nowhere near as popular as C# or Visual Basic, but it is no technological "dead end". It has worked fine for me in a corporate app of middling popularity, used by a handful of large companies and about 50 smaller ones. And since Gecko/XUL shows no signs of going away, I am not anxious for its future. It is a nice niche that no other application framework has handled properly. Yes, there were some major warts in early implementations, but it is getting to be a great lightweight technology for distributed client apps. Why tear it down?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Epiphany?
by RawMustard on Wed 10th Sep 2008 11:21 in reply to "RE[3]: Epiphany?"
RawMustard Member since:
2005-10-10

XUL runner is nice and all and I've done touch screen apps myself using it. But you have to admit, the documentation around it is crap and it's way too difficult to use for a lot of wannabe developers, not to mention its long winded routines you have to jump through just to accomplish simple tasks as open a file or save it.

I would not like to see xul disappear, but if they want more people to use it, they had better put more effort into it and make some IDE to program in it easier!

If they did that, thousands would flock to it like VB i'd reckon.
And better support for linux wouldn't go astray either.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Epiphany?
by rycamor on Wed 10th Sep 2008 13:50 in reply to "RE[4]: Epiphany?"
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

XUL runner is nice and all and I've done touch screen apps myself using it. But you have to admit, the documentation around it is crap and it's way too difficult to use for a lot of wannabe developers, not to mention its long winded routines you have to jump through just to accomplish simple tasks as open a file or save it.


You'll get no argument from me there. Especially since I started my app back in 2003 when the documentation truly was abysmal, AND several fairly big changes were made in the XUL engine and Javascript API that completely broke my app during that time. The only decent documentation I found at the time was McFarlane's "Rapid Application Development with Mozilla", but it is a little outdated by now.

I would not like to see xul disappear, but if they want more people to use it, they had better put more effort into it and make some IDE to program in it easier!

If they did that, thousands would flock to it like VB i'd reckon.


At one point there were several XUL/JS IDEs in progress, but none of them made the big time. Ironically, there was an IDE done *with* XUL/XPCOM (ActiveState's Komodo), and yet it was not an IDE *for* XUL. (Honestly, a general-purpose programmer's editor and IDE strikes me as one of the least-applicable places for something like XUL, and I suspect they regretted that choice).

And better support for linux wouldn't go astray either.


I confess, I can't see where the support for Linux was worse than Windows, but then I never targeted Windows to start with (any specifics?). In fact, I used FreeBSD, which the Mozilla team seemed to think was nonexistent, but still don't recall any specific problems with the platform. I suspect most of the *nix-specific problems had more to do with GTK than with Mozilla core.

Reply Parent Score: 1