Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 13th Sep 2012 20:00 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Mozilla & Gecko clones "Over the past year and a half I've been spending more and more of my time working with Mozilla's latest project, Firefox OS. During that time I've fallen in love with the project and what it stands for, in ways that I've never experienced with a technology platform before." I'm not convinced just yet. I hope it succeeds, but I just doubt it actually will.
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HTML as a toolkit for a mobile OS?
by p13. on Thu 13th Sep 2012 22:11 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

Web based tools and languages don't even work properly for the web nowadays. JS for example is bloaty, inadequate and people try to make it do things it was never designed to do ... resulting in hacks uppon hacks uppon hacks.
HTML is a MARKUP LANGUAGE, it is meant to do layout, framing, formatting, etc of a DOCUMENT.

So why would it be a good idea to build an entire mobile operating system around this?

Reply Score: 8

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Web based tools and languages don't even work properly for the web nowadays.


I find the situation to be better than it ever has been to be honest. It is certainly better than it was 10 years ago.

JS for example is bloaty, inadequate


How? Why? It has it's warts, no doubt about that, but honestly I find it to be a wonderfully useful language. It is also extremely powerful and expressive - it is just tied up in an unfortunate straight-jacket of C-like syntax. Sure it can be ugly, but it works - and it works well.

Anyway, that is becoming less and less of an issue because it is (for better or worse) becoming quite common as intermediary language for other languages to target (GWT, CoffeScript, etc.)

and people try to make it do things it was never designed to do


That is more of a people problem than a language problem... It happens with all languages, just more so with popular ones.

HTML is a MARKUP LANGUAGE, it is meant to do layout, framing, formatting, etc of a DOCUMENT.

So why would it be a good idea to build an entire mobile operating system around this?


The same reason many modern GUI layout tools use markup-like systems (XAML, Glade, XUL, etc.) - you need to do layout, framing, formatting, etc in any GUI...

Besides, your twisting the premise a bit. Firefox OS is not "built around" HTML, it is built around gecko...

Gecko is a powerful, extremely feature rich layout engine - light years beyond most purpose built layout systems used in most OS stacks if feature set is your measuring stick. Same goes for webkit and other browser engines. Sure, there may not perform as well in certain scenarios, and they all sprawl quite a bit, but what they lack in speed and refinement they make up for in sheer flexibility.

It is a crime to waste the amount of optimization and research that went into these engines - why wouldn't you want to use them for GUI layout?

Just saying... What is so different between something like this and something like Glade or XAML?

Reply Parent Score: 3

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


I find the situation to be better than it ever has been to be honest. It is certainly better than it was 10 years ago.


Relative to other languages, it is still in the stone age. Better than 10years ago isn't really an excuse. Web tooling is pathetic.


How? Why? It has it's warts, no doubt about that, but honestly I find it to be a wonderfully useful language. It is also extremely powerful and expressive - it is just tied up in an unfortunate straight-jacket of C-like syntax. Sure it can be ugly, but it works - and it works well.


Besides the warts, it is inherently difficult to make fast. Making something which is almost axiomatically slow the bed rock of web technology is foolish.

Its barely palatable on the web, do not push it into the app space where there are much higher expectations. People have come to expect the web to be a sub optimal experience.


Anyway, that is becoming less and less of an issue because it is (for better or worse) becoming quite common as intermediary language for other languages to target (GWT, CoffeScript, etc.)


Use a real intermediary language. Don't shoe horn JavaScript into that position.

You know things are bad when a selling point of JS is "Its good because its so ugly others hide it as much as possible"


That is more of a people problem than a language problem... It happens with all languages, just more so with popular ones.


Correct. Mozilla has a people problem. Probably a common sense deficiency too.


The same reason many modern GUI layout tools use markup-like systems (XAML, Glade, XUL, etc.) - you need to do layout, framing, formatting, etc in any GUI...


XAML is for marking up applications. It has a 1:1 mapping to the .NET object model. Glade is closer to XAML than it is to HTML.

Just because they're all markup doesn't mean they're all the same. HTML is almost comically bad at marking up applications.

The HTML layout model is a mish mash of 100 bad ideas.

This is exactly what happens when you design by committee. I'm sure things will get better in another 10 years. Not.

Edited 2012-09-14 01:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

+1 As I cannot vote

Even though I get paid to develop mostly web applications, for me HTML is for documents.

It is insane what people try to bend the browsers to do, spending sometimes days fighting with HTML+CSS+JavaScript, for what would be a few function calls in a native application.

And in the end they complain that it still does not look integrated. Of course it does not, HTML is for documents!

But at the end of the day it is all about the money, so the customer gets what s/he asks for.

Reply Parent Score: 3

swift11 Member since:
2012-08-23

But at the end of the day it is all about the money, so the customer gets what s/he asks for.

HTML5 is also about freedom:
http://mashable.com/2012/09/05/grooveshark-html5-player/

Reply Parent Score: 2