Neil's Place

August 17, 2004

7:07 PM Netscape Toolbar

Looks like the Windows version of Netscape 7.2 includes the new Netscape Toolbar. I hear it was developed by some brilliant programmer. I wonder what other exciting things will be available soon?

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August 16, 2004

6:56 PM XUL Tutorial Translations

There are a couple of translations of the XUL tutorial that I know of. There's a French version and a Russian version. If you are translating the tutorial, you might be interested in recent changes. Also, there are changes to the element reference. Let me know if you'd like to be notified of changes in the future.

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August 8, 2004

2:09 PM XUL 2.0 Prioritized

I've now taken my XUL 2.0 wishlist and prioritized the items. I haven't explained my reasoning yet, but the order is based on various factors, including the demand for a feature, how difficult it is to workaround, and how difficult it would be to implement. Add a comment if you don't agree with the order I've put things in.

Note that three of the items are already being implemented.

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August 7, 2004

Mozilla Developer Day Notes
Lots of info from the recent developer day

August 1, 2004

11:48 AM Codebase Principals

There's a preference in Mozilla called 'signed.applets.codebase_principal_support'. I've seen numerous XUL application authors and others encourage their users to set this preference to true. I'd imagine a significant number of mozdev developers have this enabled. What does enabling this preference do? It allows all web sites on the Internet to delete files on your hard drive with only one click.

OK, that's a bit misleading. What it really does is allows permissions to be granted based on the hostname and directory of a site rather than its certificate. It effectively disables code signing in a sense, which means that unsigned code can run after the user clicks OK in one dialog box. Also, it allows this for every web site, not just a particular one.

Now, I don't think code signing provides much extra security, since malicious code can also be signed. However, one generally has to pay for certificates ($300-$400 per year), and figuring out how to sign code is such a complex task that no one bothers, and as a result, you won't find a lot of signed code around. Still, there is at least some comfort with signed code, since one can see the name of the organization which signed it, assuming that someone isn't trying to trick you by using a certifcate from 'Amazon Retailers' instead of ''.

The point though, is that enabling the codebase principals preference reduces your security, and no author should ever be asking their users to enable it.

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July 28, 2004

8:11 PM XUL Template Examples

One of the most difficult things to get working in XUL is templates. If you do have problems, perhaps you might find these 30 new template examples useful. Also, you can view them using a simple XUL viewer.

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July 23, 2004

3:52 PM Mozilla document.all

Looks like Mozilla just added support for document.all in order to get more sites working. However, there is a slight difference. If you just use it to detect the presence of the property, as many do for browser detection, the check will return false. For instance the condition 'if (document.all) ...' will be false.

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July 20, 2004

4:18 PM XUL Enhancements for the Future

I've put together a big list of enhancements (90 items altogether) that I think would be useful for XUL in Mozilla 2.0. Please comment there with items you like, or don't like, or any ideas you might have regarding any of the items. Feedback will be reviewed by Mozilla 2.0 developers to better prioritize what needs to be done.

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July 13, 2004

10:40 AM Apple Canvas

In order to compare for the Mozilla canvas tag, I took a look at the Apple Dashboard canvas tag source code to see what it did. I found the canvas code fairly easily since the KHTML code is pretty understandable, compared to, say, Mozilla's code. Here's the API:

HTMLCanvasElement {
  Context getContext()
Context {
  scale(float x, float y)
  rotate(float angle)
  translate(float x, float y)
  setStrokeColor(string color)
  setStrokeColor(string color, int alpha)
  setStrokeColor(int graycolor)
  setStrokeColor(int graycolor, int alpha)
  setStrokeColor(int r, int g, int b, int a)
  setStrokeColor(int c, int m, int y, int k, int a)
  setFillColor(string color)
  setFillColor(string color, int alpha)
  setFillColor(int graycolor)
  setFillColor(int graycolor, int alpha)
  setFillColor(int r, int g, int b, int a)
  setFillColor(int c, int m, int y, int k, int a)
  setLineWidth(float linewidth)
  setLineCap(string type) - type is either "round" or "square"
  setLineJoin(string type) - type is either "round" or "bevel"
  setMiterLimit(float limit)
  moveToPoint(float x, float y)
  addLineToPoint(float x, float y)
  addQuadraticCurveToPoint(float cpx, float cpy, float x, float y)
  addBezierCurveToPoint(float cp1x, float cp1y, float cp2x, float cp2y, float x, float y)
  addArcToPoint(float x1, float y1, float x2, float y2)
  addArc(float x, float y, float r, float startAngle, float endAngle)
  addRect(float x, float y, float w, float h)
  clearRect(float x, float y, float w, float h)
  fillRect(float x, float y, float w, float h)
  strokeRect(float x, float y, float w, float h)
  drawImage(image, int x, int y, int w, int h, string composite)
  drawImageFromRect(image, int sx, int sy, int sw, int sh,
                    int dx, int dy, int dw, int dh, string composite)
  setShadow(float width, float height, float blur, string color)
  setAlpha(float alpha)
  setCompositeOperation(string composite)

It's pretty logical. Could be adapted to other browsers for the most part. One advantage of building an API like this is that Apple can construct it suit their platform. For instance, the Mac has a function CGContextSetMiterLimit, so the canvas has a similar setMiterLimit function. Mozilla doesn't have such a function. Interesting that there are no text drawing in the above set of functions. The Mozilla graphics code has stuff to draw text and get the width of text in certain fonts, which is why these functions would appear in the Mozilla canvas tag. Everyone does code this way, which is why the IE specific features tend to look like things created by Microsoft since developers tend to make things in a similar fashion to the rest of the platform.

If a standardized canvas tag appears, perhaps through the WHAT-WG, I'd imagine it would incorporate the best or worst of everything.

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