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The Internet Editorial

Browser Wars 2004 313

J. Hobbs writes "Recent posts on David Hyatt's site describing the new technology he's working on for Dashboard, coupled with recent announcements from the newly formed WHAT-WG alliance (Apple, Mozilla, and Opera) could add up to a potentially new kind of application development and deployment that I explore in this highly speculative essay. See if you don't agree..."
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Browser Wars 2004

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  • Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wigle ( 676212 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:10AM (#9664898)
    I'd like to see Internet Explorer become obselete as much as the next guy, but the more IE continues to develop--as they inevitably be forced to do if this plugin is released--the more competition there will be on the browser market. That's a Good Thing.
    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:23AM (#9664954) Homepage Journal
      I have about a dozen IE only sites at work, where our IT peeps (who get microsoft perks) use plugins, scripts or even .net that you must use IE.

      One such work order system works flawlessly under mozilla, I had to use proxomitron to re-write the javascript code on the fly to get it to work.

      If someone writes a plugin thats IE only, most likely microsoft is there somewhere, with its fingers in the mix.
      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:16AM (#9665406) Homepage
        I remember having to refuse to use a work intranet site once because of bugs like this. The IT team eventually caved and fixed the damn thing.
      • Re:Competition (Score:4, Interesting)

        by flacco ( 324089 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:57AM (#9665484)
        One such work order system works flawlessly under mozilla, I had to use proxomitron to re-write the javascript code on the fly to get it to work.

        wait a minute! are you saying there's a relatively painless way to get IE-specific javascript to work in mozilla variants?

        • Re:Competition (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @08:49AM (#9665750)
          If you define "painless" as running the script thrugh regexps, replacing parts of it with stuff that works outside of IE, yes. Note that you probably have to do this individually for every single script.
          It's possible to use some IE-specific sites in another browser via the Proxomitron, but you basically have to rewrite all of the scripts from within a regexp-based search-and-replace program, which can be quite a hassle.
      • Re:Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mibus ( 26291 )
        I'd hardly say it works flawlessly if you have to resort to hackery like rewriting JS through a proxy! :-P
    • by rd_syringe ( 793064 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:55AM (#9665060) Journal
      ActiveDesktop. Ads and crap floating on the desktop. *shudder* The sleazy side of the 'net always takes advantage of the new-fangled technology we think is gonna be so great and utopian.
      • by Tarantolato ( 760537 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:49AM (#9665219) Journal
        The sleazy side of the 'net always takes advantage of the new-fangled technology we think is gonna be so great and utopian.

        We have very different memories of the debut of ActiveX. As I remember it, every sensible commentator out there was saying that ActiveX was a dystopian disaster just waiting to happen. Of course, 'twere the early days of the internet, and sensible commentators were few and far between.
        • As I remember it, every sensible commentator out there was saying that ActiveX was a dystopian disaster just waiting to happen.

          The big issue at the time was that IE3 would automatically run ActiveX stuff without any prompt at all. That was fixed in IE4. People were also incorrectly comparing it to sandboxed Java Applets, when a better comparison was non-sandboxed Netscape Plugins.

          Realistically, ActiveX has not been a huge security problem or a "dystopian disaster" (rolls eyes). ActiveX is just one of a t
    • by zhiwenchong ( 155773 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:51AM (#9665224)
      IMHO, just going off an a tangent: I think many of us have been misled. Something else is quietly brewing.

      The stagnation of IE has been made to be seen as a bigger issue than it really is. We see Firefox making headway now and we are happy, but in reality, from a strategic point of view, it is no threat to IE in the long run unless it makes some fundamental changes.

      If Microsoft gets its way, the fight is no longer going to be about rendering web pages.

      I submit to you that this is due to .NET. Detractors may deride it as much as they want, but I believe this Microsoft's strategic weapon. Imagine a browser that can run a native lightweight UI (through Avalon). Imagine a world where such applications are trivial to build.

      Right now, today, we are already beginning to see things like WYSIWYG HTML editors built with ASP.NET, that work like a native application embedded within the browser. (take a look at this, Devedit [interspire.com]. Requires IE.

      One might argue that we can sort of already do such things using XUL, Javascript, DHTML, Java etc. That's all nice and well, but how many technologies do you have to learn to build a simple app?

      With .NET, your knowledge in a .NET language like C# (and even your code!) can more or less be reused in ASP.NET, and in frameworks like .NET Compact.

      This was the dream everyone had for Java, and from the way things are going, it looks like this dream will come in to fruition in the form of .NET. .NET just works, for the most part. You can actually build usable GUI apps with it (unlike Java. The only decent GUI apps are SWT-based and even those feel klunky). And it will be interesting to see how things will look like in a few years.

      (btw, I am no MS supporter (my main machine is a Mac OS X box). But I have to admire the .NET architecture -- which incidentally, was not conceived by Microsoft so much as it was by Anders Heijsberg who was pilfered from Borland. You can see the elegance of Borland engineering exude in .NET. Yes, I am a Borland fan.)
      • by Gherald ( 682277 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @04:35AM (#9665307) Journal
        I count 10 mentions of .NET but 0 of Mono [go-mono.com]. I believe your concern is valid and share it for the most part, but shouldn't you mention what is being done about it?
      • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @04:47AM (#9665338) Homepage Journal

        That's great and all, but as a practicing web developer, I can assure you that dealing with MSFT's various idiocies as embodied in IE is a titanic pain in the ass. Just to pick one area where IE's stagnation is very much a big issue if you do this for a living: CSS support. They barely support CSSv1 correctly even in the latest IE, and anything later than that is totally haphazard. As for why CSS is a big deal, well, this comment box isn't big enough to contain all the reasons behind that. I'll leave aside for brevity all the other ways that IE makes our lives difficult at work!

        As for the rest of your post, despite how much I'd love to use web-like tech to make traditional applications, I don't see that working. It's been tried before by quite a number of people unsuccessfully, and C#/.NET/blahblahblahbuzzwordsoup isn't different enough to really stand out. I find it ironic, to a degree, that you ask "how many technologies do you have to learn to build a simple app?" when you yourself list quite a number in relation to the MSFT development paradigm. .NET is a bit better than the trainwreck that is traditional win32 development, but not by a whole lot (see Joel Spoelsky's writings on this topic, that I'm too lazy to link at the moment). Fred Brooks said it best those decades ago, there is no silver bullet in computer programming, and there never will be.

      • by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:20AM (#9665414) Homepage

        "Imagine a browser that can run a native lightweight UI"

        If it's native, wouldn't that be heavyweight? I thought lightweight was the exact opposite of native. :-/

        At any rate, I'm pretty sure that you can interact with XUL via Java instead of JavaScript, if you really don't want to deal with JavaScript.

        And at the point where you're writing purely XUL + Java, I don't see how writing XAML + C# makes life any easier. If anything, it's learning two more languages than the average developer already knows (most people already know Java.)

        • If it's native, wouldn't that be heavyweight? I thought lightweight was the exact opposite of native. :-/

          Native is completely unrelated to lightweight. Lightweight refers to the size (lack of bloat). Native refers to whether it's emulated or whatever.... can't think of a good way to explain it.... anyway, it has nothing to do with the weight.
          • Well in Swing terminology, "lightweight" means rendered by Java, on the canvas, whereas "heavyweight" means rendered by dropping a real widget on the screen. Although admittedly, in some cases (e.g. menu items and tooltips which end up needing to appear slightly outside the canvas) the heavyweight widgets are still drawn in Java.

            My guess is that they named them like this because the heavyweight widgets consume WM resources, whereas the lightweight widgets do not (the heavyweight widgets take longer to dis

  • Active Desktop??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OC_Wanderer ( 729511 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:14AM (#9664911)
    Seems like we've been there before with MSIE 4. It didn't work well then, why should we expect it to work well now?
    • Re:Active Desktop??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:18AM (#9664925)
      "It didn't work well then, why should we expect it to work well now?"

      It didn't? Let me check. Nope, seems to still work. All my network monitoring pages are still on my desktop.

  • Faster, lighter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:19AM (#9664930) Homepage
    How about making Mozilla and FireFox a bit faster and less memory hungry? I know, I know, I should buy faster computers. But there are so many cases where that's difficult or impossible. I would love to recycle older machines as browsing-boxes for friends, relatives, even libraries if only they ran Mozilla somewhat faster. There's still life left in a PII-350.
    • Re:Faster, lighter? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gracefool ( 649481 ) <slashdot@@@gracefool...com> on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:34AM (#9664989) Homepage Journal
      There are many improvements in the pipeline [slashdot.org] addressing these issues, but in any case (basic) Firefox 0.9 is:
      • A ~4Mb download
      • Much faster at rendering and downloading pages (especially with user-defined speed improvements [mozillazine.org])
      • Less of a memory-hog than IE (IE is only any good because of it's integration with Windows)
      Mozilla is slower than Firefox, but it is a full, feature-rich browser suite.
    • by krahd ( 106540 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:08AM (#9665112) Homepage Journal
      I am pretty sure that no other browser can compete with IE until it achieves one thing: IE compatibility.

      IE has one thing that no other browser has: it shows almos Every Single Page as it was intended by the designers.

      I know, I know, web designers' fault. They should create cross-browser pages, but they don't.

      So, while MS does not respect W3C standards, the only way to compete with IE is being able to render the pages exactly like IE does. What would be better is to provide the user with an option: "show this page as IE would or show it as it should be rendered attending to W3C standars".

      Until then, we'll be in a IE driven web (which, btw, is cyclic, designers design for IE 'cos the own the market, and users use IE 'cos the web is designed for IT).

      P.S. I know, Microsoft is bad. And ppl use IE 'cos is there, but ppl does not change browsers due to what is stated above.

      --krahd

      Mod me up, Scottie!
      • by novakreo ( 598689 ) * on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:36AM (#9665185) Homepage

        So, while MS does not respect W3C standards, the only way to compete with IE is being able to render the pages exactly like IE does. What would be better is to provide the user with an option: "show this page as IE would or show it as it should be rendered attending to W3C standars".

        Until then, we'll be in a IE driven web (which, btw, is cyclic, designers design for IE 'cos the own the market, and users use IE 'cos the web is designed for IT).

        How would this help? Everyone would turn the option on, so that their favourite websites render properly, and web designers would continue to design for IE because that's what everybody's emulating.

      • Example's ?

        I have been using Linux only browsers for 4 years and have had no problems with any webpages displaying incorrectly. As a matter of fact the only things I have heard of not working correctly are some streaming media type's (mms:// URL's) and little sites that were made using WYSIWYG tools.

        And I wouldn't hold my breath about it being an IE only web, the more major site's and groups bash IE and promote alternatives the more it hurts MS, no matter how hard they try they wont be able to preve
      • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:57AM (#9665232) Homepage
        while MS does not respect W3C standards, the only way to compete with IE is being able to render the pages exactly like IE does.

        The jargon for this: "bug-compatible". You want to make a browser that is so compatible with IE that it's even broken in the same ways, so that pages render the same.

        The problem with this is that you are trying to shoot a moving target. If the spec is "do whatever IE does", then you spend all your time tracking changes to IE. (Microsoft has been letting dust pile up on IE, but that's about to change anyway. And any strategy that relies on Microsoft to just lie back and not interfere is doomed.)

        IE has been ruling the world, but there are several cracks in its armor.

        0) Mac users have Safari, and they will scream at any web site that breaks it. They tend to be rather vocal. Alas they are a small group as a percentage, but they are vocal out of proportion. Safari has much better standards compliance than IE, so this is pressure in the right direction.

        1) IE has so many security holes that people are actually getting annoyed at it. As long as IE "just works" it meets the Good Enough test and people will continue to use it. But now that people are getting more annoyed with it, browsers like Firefox get their chance. I just tonight put Firefox on a friend's computer, and he's so fed up with spyware that he was eager to switch.

        Rather than testing IE so much you understand it better than Microsoft does, it would be better to just insist on web browsers that actually follow the standards. Besides, testing IE and coding bug-compatible features aren't as much fun as adding cool new stuff to Mozilla. Unless you are volunteering to lead the IE cloning effort, there probably won't be many people working on this.

        steveha
      • I have designed and HTMLed 100+ sites over a number of years. The present situation is nowhere near as bad as it has been in the past.

        Currently, I will code, check IE and then check Mozilla, Safari and IE for Mac. There are some critical differences if you're obsessive on pixel-perfect placement (I am) and it's probably more trouble if you're using CSS for positioning (ideal, but still trouble and I avoid it), but generally things look pretty decent in all of these. One of the older IE/Mac browsers was a b
    • How recently have you tried Moz? Admittedly, it's not operating at *warp* speed but I find it completely usable on my laptop (which with a p3-500 and a slow laptop hd is hardly an all-devouring speed demon). Even with anti-aliasing and all that glitzy, shiny crap enabled, the only time I see noticeable slowdown is when I fire off my "news and blogs" group-of-tabs bookmark (which has 15+ entries). This is mozilla 1.6 from debian-testing.
  • Great idea but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrispyman ( 710460 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:20AM (#9664937)
    If you blur the line between desktop and web browser, the don't you essentially become no diffrent than Internet Explorer, only cross platform? I suppose it could be neat if done correctly but I fear that this could just open Mozilla and others up for some nasty Internet Explorer-esque exploits.
    • by 00420 ( 706558 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:47AM (#9665031)
      Blurred line between desktop and web browser != blurred line between kernel and web browser.

      It still could open up room for exploits, but not the same type of exploits as IE. That being said, I personally would prefer my browser to do nothing but browse.
      • Even if the browser can't get to systems-level stuff, there are still plenty of bad things it could do to or with your data, if the browser is running as your user and all that. Credit card numbers, financial data of any sort, corporate documents, love letters, blah blah... all of those things have intrinsic value that is independent of their lack of "function" in a systems sense.
    • by zaxios ( 776027 )
      It won't be neat and it wasn't neat (Active Desktop anyone?). New ideas need to be weighed against their potential to overcomplicate or become intrusive. Without a practical purpose, complicated additions only damage usability.
    • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:36AM (#9665183) Journal
      I suppose it could be neat if done correctly but I fear that this could just open Mozilla and others up for some nasty Internet Explorer-esque exploits.

      By its very nature it can't be done correctly.

      That is to say, of convenience, power, or security, pick any two.

      For web applications to be convenient, they have to be easy to install and offer all the power of a desktop application. That includes access to the filesystem, and to the burgeoning number of peripherals: personal LANs, WiFi antennae, microphones and webcams. (Did you know that Flash pages can turn on the web cam on your computer, if you allow it?)

      But security requires bright lines of demarcation between your local machine, its peripherals, the LAN it may be on, and servers owned by others. It's on those distant servers that these applications will live, but this paradigm means granting any one of them as much access to the local computer as any locally installed program.

      And as others gave mentioned, the reason I like Firefox is that it's only a browser. I don't want or need a browser that tries to be a poor substitute for several other programs, like a cheaply made Swiss Army knife -- I want a browser that is just as good a browser as possible.

    • Konqueror does a great job of this in KDE, without creating the privilege problems that we have in IE.
  • by myrdred ( 597891 )
    The Surfin Safari [mozillazine.org] webpage shows David Hyatt's public weblog discussion on the matter of the Safari HTML extensions, it is a very interested read. (David Hyatt is the lead engineer at Apple on WebCore, Safari's rendering engine.)
  • Standards war? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 3) profit!!! ( 773340 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:21AM (#9664947) Homepage
    I like competition as much as the next guy, but I'm worried that if this turns into a "Browser War" we're going to end up with conflicting standards: widgets that only work with Microsoft products, and then widgets that only work with Mozilla/Opera/KHTML. And then we'd be stuck coding two different versions of each widget, or doing hacks like are currently done in CSS to get it to work on winIE.
    • Re:Standards war? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OC_Wanderer ( 729511 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:24AM (#9664961)
      Ummm...that already happened. Where have you been?
    • Re:Standards war? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:28AM (#9664974)
      As long as the widgets conform to an open standard and degrade gracefully you have nothing to worry about.

      Remember this is not MS we are talking about here. We are talking about a development consortium that is dedicated to open source and open standards. They no intention of locking anybody out of anything.

      I for one think it would be awsome if web pages looked and acted better in mozilla then IE. Maybe then the windows users would find the motivation to go install mozilla (presuming of course they know how to download and install stuff).
      • Re:Standards war? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thinmac ( 98095 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:49AM (#9665038) Homepage
        While the current extensions are being written by an open source, open standard consortium, that still doesn't solve the problem of a possible standards war.

        The problem, as I see it, is rather that once these standards become, well, standard, MS will pull out it's old standby, embrace and extend. We'll see a system compatible to Dashboard and it's Opera and Mozilla equivelents, but extended so that new MS Dashboard widgets are not compatible with the others.

        The hope, I guess, is that the combination of the huge security problems with IE and these new features will allow Safari, Opera, and Mozilla to hold a plurality of the browser market, so that MS won't be able to use their market dominance to embrace and extend. It should be pretty interesting to see what happens.
        • Embrace and extend? Microsoft? That's the problem. There is little embracing of the standard and much done in the way of proprietary tags/functionality.

          If they at the very least had support for open standards, they could add their own widgets/etc. on top. It's fine for specialized use, internally if that's what your company uses and you know that everyone who is going to use it will be using IE.

          But it's the responsibility of web developers to make their pages standards-compliant and to degrade nicely
        • Re:Standards war? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by killjoe ( 766577 )
          MS is already going to do that with Avalon. They have no intention giving up their monopoly by obeying standards. It's useless to worry about what MS might do. They will do anything and everything to stop competition. They have no morals or ethics.

  • I see a lot of news lately promoting a movement towards 'alternative browsers', and while it sounds interesting, I think there are some downsides.

    1. How will I update this browser when the next security vulnerability affects my new browser? How will home users, or worse yet, businesses, patch these vulnerabilities? I can deploy an IE patch to 5000 systems in an hour. How will I do that with these alternative browsers?

    2. These browsers are good bets from a security point now, but why would they be safe
    • by iamsure ( 66666 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:38AM (#9665001) Homepage
      >I can deploy an IE patch to 5000 systems in an hour. How will I do that with these alternative browsers?

      The same way you do the IE patch - using SMS. If you use SUS instead, then add SMS to your list of neat-o technologies and voila.. you can push out auto-updates to ANY app - not just MS ones.

      Thats of course ignoring startup scripts, domain login scripts, and good-old-fashioned "You must install this app or your email access will be restricted until you do". Lots of alternatives.

      >These browsers are good bets from a security point now, but why would they be safe in 6 months, or a year?
      Because they are designed with better security paradigms - they don't by default trust DATA as EXECUTIBLE CODE.

      >As these browsers gain market share, they will be everyone's new favorite target, and there for no better off
      Wrong. See Apache v. IIS. Far more Apache servers, and its attacked far less than IIS, and far less effectively. Market share != vulnerability. Even if it did, alternative browsers wont reach "majority" status for AT LEAST two years - even at the current-this-week migration %'s.

      >Additionally, users will clamor for the same features, bells, and whistles IE has
      Users already clamor for the features, bells, and whistles that IE *DOESNT* have that the other browsers have - tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, and *real* css and png support. So much so that - oh look - SP2 will fix some of those "issues".

      >don't switch because of security. Why not? Because anything computer related will be compromised.

      Somethings are compromised more easily - security is rarely black and white, and it definitely isnt here.
      • These browsers are good bets from a security point now, but why would they be safe in 6 months, or a year? Because they are designed with better security paradigms - they don't by default trust DATA as EXECUTIBLE CODE.

        This begins the circular argument. This begins the question that has never really been answered. If an open source program becomes the dominant standard for a large number of desktop users, open source will be tested as never before. The code will be available for all, white hats and black


      • >As these browsers gain market share, they will be everyone's new favorite target, and there for no better off
        Wrong. See Apache v. IIS. Far more Apache servers, and its attacked far less than IIS, and far less effectively. Market share != vulnerability. Even if it did, alternative browsers wont reach "majority" status for AT LEAST two years - even at the current-this-week migration %'s.

        I agree with the general idea. But not the details.

        Apache gets considerable attention. If you can trust Zone-H

    • A Few Answers (Score:2, Interesting)

      I can deploy an IE patch to 5000 systems in an hour.

      Check out Remote Desktop [apple.com] for Apple. I am sure their are plenty of Open Source alternatives. Hell, I could even write a Windows AT job that checks a directory and runs any executables inside it. All you have to do is write a self-installing executable(most have -silent installs).

      These browsers are good bets from a security point now, but why would they be safe in 6 months

      Stupid Questions. Administrators have to be ready to update software and
      • Bad idea to run anything from a given directory on the local machine ... too many potential escalation attacks.

        Try, say, an AT program that contacts a secure, internal server, which then tells the local machine what to download and execute.

        Same idea, just a bit more secure.
    • Re:A Few Questions (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) *
      1. You can distribute alternate browsers however you distribute other software. Windows, Linux, and MacOS X all have methods of centrally managing and distributing software to client systems on a network.

      2. IE is a horrible bet from a security point of view right now. Six months down the road it will likely be just as bad. Mozilla on the other hand is much safer right now and will likely continue to be pretty safe six months down the road. Mozilla's also got quite a few features IE lacks entirely. Firefox
  • Not peace!
  • by ThatWeasel ( 113982 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:46AM (#9665028) Homepage
    I want IE dead with the rest of the dead browsers just like the next /. poster but the fact isn't lying in the web browser but the web developer. Stop jumping on the latest and the "greatest" but just create a webpage that I can visit on any browser. Yes, this means programming for Lynx, the text based browser.

    I thought Safari was the best until I ran into a new website using Flash 7.0 which I wasn't prompted for nor asked to download and it wasn't until I tried it on my Win2000 machine that I figured out what was wrong.

    Just stop it. Just stop moving forward until the rest of us catch up before you deploy the next level of interactivity to the web.

    IE is dead in the water if you listen to the government. Too bad the entire world isn't listening to the American Government.

    • Re:Down with IE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NBarnes ( 586109 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:57AM (#9665069)
      Please.

      When was the last time standing in front of the bleeding edge of technological progress and screaming 'Stop!' did anything except get you cut off at the knees?

      Those of us who are, in fact, interested in what advanced content tools are authentically useful for are uninterested in your neo-Luddite tendancies. Lynx is a fine browser for those things that can be represented in text, but if you think that everything the web is good for can be presented in Lynx, you're living in a dream world. Or 1991.
      • Re:Down with IE (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kfg ( 145172 )
        When was the last time standing in front of the bleeding edge of technological progress and screaming 'Stop!' did anything except get you cut off at the knees?

        You have a point, however, your point is worthless unless you can distinguish between the bleeding edge of technological progress and that which is merely new.

        They aren't the same thing at all.

        KFG
  • by poofyhairguy82 ( 635386 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:50AM (#9665039) Journal
    I this the 90's again?

    I care more about a web content war. Like when is there going to be an open source initiative to put Flash out of business?

    As soon as most of the people on the web have broadband, such content will be king.

  • Anyone else read it,

    (Apple, Mozilla, and Opera) could add up to a potentially new kind of application development and deployment that Iexplore

    Ok, its official, I'm a nerd. go moz.
  • by Yo Grark ( 465041 ) * on Sunday July 11, 2004 @02:53AM (#9665052)
    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing

    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing

    Browser Wars is something that I despise
    For it means you can kiss standards good-bye
    For it means tears in thousands of coders eyes
    When they have 2 sets of code to mess up their lives

    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing
    Say it again
    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing

    Browser War
    It's nothing but a heartbreaker
    Browser War
    Friend only to the patent maker
    Browser War is the enemy of all Webkind
    The thought of another browser war blows my mind
    Handed down from Corporation to generation
    Induction destruction
    Who wants standards to die

    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing
    Say it again
    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing

    Browser War has shattered many OSS giver's dreams
    Made their widgets disabled and broke, Free Time is too precious to be coding indoors each day
    Browser War can't give family life it can only take it away

    Browser War
    It's nothing but a heartbreaker
    Browser War
    Friend only to the patent maker
    Open Source, Standards and understanding
    There must be some place for these things today
    They say we must fight to keep our freedom
    But Lord there's gotta be better than MS'S way
    That's better than
    Browser War

    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing
    Say it again
    Browser War
    What is it good for
    Absolutely nothing

    Yo Grark
  • by Anonymous Coward
    All Microsoft has to do is to make their "Dashboard-alike" support just slightly broken and keep it that way. People will be forced to choose or keep separate development trunks, and we have the same fucking problem that we do today.

    Why? Cause the damn browser is bundled into the OS and people can't choose to use one that isn't broken.

    Fuck you DOJ. Do your damn job already.
  • by allanj ( 151784 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:16AM (#9665138)
    The competition will be with XAML [xaml.net], .NET Zero Deployment [microsoft.com] and the likes om them. The initiative described in the article is probably good and all, and I seriously hope they do make it into something. But make no mistake - MS has been working long and hard on getting stuff that blurs the line between web and local pages (or apps, if you prefer that name), and some of it works just fine (.NET Zero Deployment is a good example here). Soon enough, there will be no browser war because the browser will not be as essential as it is today. It still is, though - and that's why I use Firefox whenever I can :-)
    Seriously, running richer and richer "weblets" (for lack of a better technology-neutral term) on your local machine, feeding them with remote data and making it all flexible and (hopefully) secure, is a trend that's been going on for YEARS now. A lot of us would like this to feature open standards, open source and other such goodness, but we need to take a long, hard look at the initiatives from MS - their market dominance means that THEIR standards will become a reality.
    • A lot of us would like this to feature open standards, open source and other such goodness, but we need to take a long, hard look at the initiatives from MS - their market dominance means that THEIR standards will become a reality.

      I don't think it is so cut and dried yet. Longhorn, and hence XAML and all, is still at least a couple years off. Everything I've heard implies the release is going to go one of two ways: (1) It will be horribly late (2) A bunch of promised features are going to be heaved over
  • by jamezilla ( 609812 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:39AM (#9665192) Homepage
    These guys aren't talking about making cool browsers, they're talking about using browser-based technology to make cool applications.

    It's much easier to write UI code in HTML with some JavaScript that it is to write the same UI code with C++ or any other language for that matter. Instead of scoffing at the notion of web apps, people should embrace it as a new paradigm. Faster, cheaper, cross-platform, what could be better?

    Microsoft was headed down this road with IE, but suddenly they realized that they couldn't continue or they would make the Windows API monopoly irrelevant.

    IE development came to a screeching halt and they decided to come up with a perverted proprietary work-around to implement the same thing in a way that wouldn't threaten Windows (XAML and Avalon [microsoft.com]). XAML is essentially a fancy mark-up language (like HTML) that, coupled with C# (instead of JavaScript) creates rich client applications that are compiled windows apps. Throw in a little Indigo [microsoft.com] to make the apps web-aware and you've successfully recreated the wheel.

    It only seems natural that someone else would want to carry the torch of rich browser-based apps. Most of the things these guys are talking about are already possible in IE. They're just trying to standardize it so people can roll up their sleeves and start writing cool apps.

    • by dekeji ( 784080 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @03:58AM (#9665234)
      It's much easier to write UI code in HTML with some JavaScript that it is to write the same UI code with C++ or any other language for that matter.

      Yes, but that's not because HTML+JavaScript is such great technology, it's because C++ or Java using common toolkits are such awful technology for writing GUIs.

      It's also not clear to me why we need a "standard" for this. If you are going to write applications, you can pick a good toolkit to go with that and just use that. In fact, if you like writing HTML-based apps but don't like the constraints browsers impose, chances are the toolkit you already have and use lets you do just that: use its HTML widget. In fact, you'll probably get embedded IE or embedded Mozilla out of that.
  • "Dashboard" (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by dekeji ( 784080 )
    Would Apple kindly stop stepping on names already used by the open source community? Calling Macintosh OS 10 "OS X" was bad enough ("are you running X on your Mac"?).

    Dashboard [nat.org] is Nat Friedman's implicit query system for Gnome. That's been around for a while.
    • What's funny is, when Mozilla were sitting on the name Phoenix, and then Firebird, they at least had the decency to change their name, even though the products which they had the same name as were different types of software.

      Apple, though, will probably never change the name from the one they have stolen. Yet, Apple are not evil. Apparently.

  • Dashboard is a much better paradigm than a desktop for mobile devices. Proactive background metadata joins. Data storage hidden beneath presentation and logic layers. Inherently distributed computing, with a trusted multimedia thin client. Just as the PC enabled the desktop to replace the terminal for the masses, so will something like the Dashboard replace the desktop for the wider masses with mobile "phones".
  • Their ONE demo [whatwg.org] on their own site doesn't work in opera on linux. Mmmm, web tricks not working on browser X. Gee just what is needed eh?

    It sounds like a nice idea but if MS chooses not to implement it or to do it badly (like say PNG support) then it is all for nothing UNLESS opera can use its dominance on the phones to some good. IF the phone is going to replace the PC (there are more mobile phones then PC's already) THEN people might be getting upset that their browser on their phones beats the pants of th

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gtshafted ( 580114 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @04:58AM (#9665363)
    People keep talking about XAML or this new consortium... but aren't rich UI web applications already here?

    http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/flashpro/ development/ [macromedia.com]

    http://www.macromedia.com/software/central/ [macromedia.com]

    Am I wrong?

    I love and use Java like hell, even though applets are now usable - but so far only Flash can really claim write once, run anywhere ubiquity. I don't even think XAML stands up to it and Flash is already pretty much in every browser from Win, Mac, to Linux....

  • Split Windows (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 )
    What I'd like is the ability to split a browser window and view differnt parts of long pages either alongside or above/below each other so I can compare page elements. It would be nice to be able to split two different pages the same way too - sort of like a personalised version of framesets.

    In-page bookmarks, with the option of being temporary or persistent would also be handy for navigating through large documents.

    Another nice-to-have would to be an option to open all (or settable a maximum number
  • The web browser is basically becoming a virtual computer.

  • Stagnation is such an ugly word.

    Wouldn't you prefer a consistent, solid interface, even layout bugs and all.

    That crap earlier about mozilla learning wtf you are browsing. Who wants that in a browser. That's what a proxy is for you idiots. Stupid 'ooh lets make it do this' crap just keeps us on the treadmill so we have to keep our eye on the the bleeding edge so we know what's coming. Stop already.

    You are allowed to say 'hey, it's finished'.

    There should be no such thing as tabbed browsing, window managem
  • by orangeguru ( 411012 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @09:02AM (#9665781) Homepage
    So many new and fancy acronyms/tech. They will make web developement only even more complicated, code even more bloated with workarounds and versions for a gozillion new browsers ...

    If choice means so much chaos and so little truely working 'standards' then please give me a working monopoly! I don't care if the steering wheel in a car is on the left or right side - as long as it works.

    So far nothing really works as it should in all browsers - so I will simply follow where the money comes from: IE.

    And please spare me the 'develop with web standards speach' - neither Moz, Firesomething nor Opera fully and properly support all CSS versions, DOM etc. ... and let's not talk Java either.

    So far almost each new technology for the web has made things more complicated and less 'standard'.

    IMHO I hope that a technology like .NET will kill the browser completely and create an easier way to create webenabled application - proper applications - instead of that stupid static web page metaphor - truely ONLINE instead of 'what you saw on the server ten seconds ago'.

    With real apps we could have proper and speedy shopping tools, better online forums, cool chat apps without bloated Java behind it ... if your Amazon Client can talk directly to their database, you won't need an HTML-Page as 'in between' translator/wrapper for tthe information.

    Instead of wasting gazillion of Terrabytes for sending html, java and css codes and workarounds lets focus on sending and communicating the truely wanted data as direct, speedy and interactive as possible - without any unnecessary wrappers.

    HyperText is/was a great idea, but it should only be used for documents/news etc. - it was never meant for (web) applications. All that crap has been put on top later - and it never worked properly.

    Let the server application/database and client talk directly ...
    • So far nothing really works as it should in all browsers - so I will simply follow where the money comes from: IE.

      And please spare me the 'develop with web standards speach' - neither Moz, Firesomething nor Opera fully and properly support all CSS versions, DOM etc. ... and let's not talk Java either.

      Come off it. All the other major browsers support 99% of the CSS, DOM, etc specifications, so it's unreasonable to criticise Internet Explorer for scraping by with something like 50% support for the

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