On Seamonkey

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On Seamonkey

Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email)
Some time ago someone on this newsgroup kindly told me about XUL Runner
<http://wiki.mozilla.org/XUL:Xul_Runner>.

I've just had another quick look at the page I just referred to: seems
to be no mention of making XUL Runner a core technology for Firefox and
Thunderbird.

If XUL Runner did become a core technology for Firefox and Thunderbird
then the people using these programs would only need one Gecko runtime
loaded into memory no matter how many XUL+XPCOM(*) applications they're
running simultaneously.

So wouldn't that be just about it for the Seamonkey project if that
happened, given that with separate apps Firefox & Thunderbird it's
easier to do releases? Or are there strong other reasons that some
people prefer and integrated suite?

(*)If you ask me what this is I would be likely to dribble and cry.
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Re: On Seamonkey

Karsten Düsterloh
Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email) aber hob zu
reden an und schrieb:
> If XUL Runner did become a core technology for Firefox and Thunderbird
> then the people using these programs would only need one Gecko runtime
> loaded into memory no matter how many XUL+XPCOM(*) applications they're
> running simultaneously.
>
> So wouldn't that be just about it for the Seamonkey project if that
> happened, given that with separate apps Firefox & Thunderbird it's
> easier to do releases?

No, why should it?

> Or are there strong other reasons that some people prefer and
integrated suite?

Making FF/TB run as XULRunner applications would "just" be a background
change, you still would lack the tight integration of the components as
found in SeaMonkey, and their look and feel would still be different
from SeaMonkey...

Furthermore, we do strive to make SeaMonkey become a XULRunner app also
(even though we're not sure yet if this is possible without losing too
much of SeaMonkey's distinctive likeness).


Karsten
--
       Freiheit stirbt        |       Fsayannes SF&F-Bibliothek:
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Re: On Seamonkey

Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email)
Karsten Düsterloh wrote:

> Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email) aber hob zu
> reden an und schrieb:
>> Or are there strong other reasons that some people prefer and
>> integrated suite?
>
> Making FF/TB run as XULRunner applications would "just" be a
> background change [..]

Well, true, it would be a technical change--"background" if you
like--but the user would have the benefits of quicker application
loading times (for the second and subquent invocations of XUL Runner
apps after restart).

> [..] you still would lack the tight integration of the components as
> found in SeaMonkey [..]



I think there's another approach to integration that would work just as
well as Seamonkey's approach: making more extensive use of URLs (of a
wide variety of schemes) and MIME-types in the intercommunication
between Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird/(Calendar), etc.

MS Windows XP (the OS I'm presently most familiar with) provides the
facility to invoke the user's preferred application on an object
provided a file type, MIME-type or URL-scheme is available.

Examples:

A Thunderbird user clicks on a HTTP URL in an email message: Thunderbird
gets Windows to invoke the user's preferred web browser on the URL,
bringing up a browser window displaying the resource located by the URL.

A Sunbird(Calendar) user might click on an email address (mailto URL) in
a calendar entry: Sunbird gets Windows to invoke the user's preferred
mail client on the mailto URL, bringing up an email composition window
with the recipient and possibly other fields already filled in.

A Firefox user browsing an organisation's webpage with an online
calendar of events clicks on a link describing a seminar in the iCal
(text/calendar MIME-type) format: Firefox gets Windows to invoke the
user's preferrer calendar program which creates a dialog window the let
the user enter the seminar into their diary.

I can think of further examples.

This architectural approach allows applications to "hand off" any number
of different types of object to the appropriate other application,
without requiring one monolithic application which is hard to release.

No doubt this architectural consideration is one of the major reasons
(most of) the Mozilla team decided to go with the Firefox/Thunderbird
approach.

> [..] and their look and feel would still be different from
> SeaMonkey...

Well yeah, no arguing with you about that.
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Re: On Seamonkey

Boris Zbarsky
Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email) wrote:
> I think there's another approach to integration that would work just as
> well as Seamonkey's approach: making more extensive use of URLs (of a
> wide variety of schemes) and MIME-types in the intercommunication
> between Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird/(Calendar), etc.

> A Thunderbird user clicks on a HTTP URL in an email message: Thunderbird
> gets Windows to invoke the user's preferred web browser on the URL,
> bringing up a browser window displaying the resource located by the URL.

What if a Thunderbird user clicks "submit" on an HTML form in an email message?  ;)

> I can think of further examples.

So can I, but there are times when one needs to pass large amounts of data
around; URLs are very ill-suited for that.

> This architectural approach allows applications to "hand off" any number
> of different types of object

As long as each object is small.

-Boris
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Re: On Seamonkey

Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email)
Boris Zbarsky wrote:
> [..] There are times when one needs to pass large amounts of
> data around; URLs are very ill-suited for that.

Yes, I don't think URLs are good for that. But this is when I think MIME
can come more into play. Application #1 sees a MIME object and copies
it, perhaps to a temporary file or shared memory, and passes it to
Application #2. E.g., this is what Firefox does when it invokes Windows
Media Player on an MP3 music file. In fact Firefox (and of course
Seamonkey) can have any number of helper applications registered and.

I know there are deficiencies in Thunderbird's ability to be invoked
with URLs (it doesn't support the mid: or cid: schemes (see
<ftp://ftp.rfc-editor.org/in-notes/rfc2392.txt> and
<https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=264270>).

Thunderbird has problems with attached message/rfc822 messages
(interestingly perhaps these problems have recently been fixed in
Seamonkey <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=241213>). So I
doubt it behaves sensible when invoked upon a message/rfc822 object.

The barrier to integration between diverse applications, the
architecture I am arguing in favour of here, is the lack of (especially
non-Mozilla) applications that support sophisticated invocations from
another app. By 'sophisticated' I mean that the invoked app does more
than just start: it starts in a context set for it by the invoking app.

> Sean Vickery (remove the blood-smeared Nordics to email) wrote:
>> This architectural approach allows applications to "hand off" any number
>> of different types of object
>
> As long as each object is small.

Depends on the how the hand offs are implemented.
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