11:47 PM nervemail
I was looking a bit at this nervemail client mentioned on Mozillazine. It's a WebMail-like application that generates everything via scripts that get loaded on an as-needed basis. OK. The loading stuff only when needed is good. Also, the fact that data gets passed back and forth rather than having giant blocks of HTML loaded every time one wants to do something is good.
I'll point out the things I didn't like then.
The obvious thing is that it is trying to emulate a mail client UI rather than a WebMail UI. That is fine. But it isn't a good idea to use a language for creating documents to do so. The scripts create the UI by using createElement to throw a bunch of HTML elements on a page. Most of the HTML is not semantically meaningful. It uses <u> elements and <table> elements in ways that don't make sense. Or at least I think they don't. It's hard to tell, since everything is in a difficult to understand script. Why not just use HTML files directly? They're more readable.
Or better, why not use XUL, which has the distinct advantage of already having semantically meaningful tags to handle menus and trees and the like. And you don't have to spend weeks or months re-implementing menus like 20,000 other sites do. If it was implemented in XUL, this application would be quite interesting. It would be like a remote version of Mozilla Mail.
There was mention that the nervemail application uses only W3C and DOM standard things. Yet, the code contains numerous references to innerHTML.
Anyway, I do think that there are some interesting ideas behind nervemail, yet it is still based on some concepts we should be moving away from. More on that soon.
9:50 PM Slightly over budget
Customer: Hello, I'm looking for some gun control regulation.
Salesman: Certainly Sir. That will be 2 million dollars.
Customer: Thank you. Here is one billion dollars. Keep the change.
8:58 PM Happy Third Xul Tutorial
The XUL Tutorial celebrates its third birthday on December 3. To celebrate, have a peek at the original version of it, as it appeared on December 3, 1999. The tutorial has come a long way since then. So has XUL.
My original announcement to n.p.m.xpfe doesn't seem to be archived anywhere, but the responses are available.
11:25 PM Weblog Archives
The Great Dave of Weblogs is talking about Blog Browsers, which would let one view a Weblog using a simple UI. Could fit into the stuff I've been doing. I've been thinking of adding some generic XML handling just for those non-RDF RSS files (and for other things of course).
I'm not sure why this Blog Browser Dave refers to needs an archive though. Would be nice to only need to send the data the user actually is viewing at the time. I think RDF would better let one return as little or as much as one desires.
By the way, you can get an RSS version of any portion of my Weblog (except the static index page) by adding '&format=rss' onto the end of the URL. Use '&min=X' with some number X to indicate the number of items to return.
I've added some UI to do this. You could, I suppose, set the minimum count to some large number to get an archive to use for the Blog Browser.
7:08 PM Interesting...
Tried out that AOL Communicator beta to see if I could find out more about how its implemented. It uses an embedded version of Gecko to display HTML mail. It may even use it to edit mail. It is not implemented in XUL. Instead, it uses the wxWindows GUI toolkit. It doesn't use the Mozilla Mail back-end code either. It appears to have a seperate application for mail, the address book and instant messaging. It does look similar to Mozilla Mail though.
Hmmm. Aaron is working on some secret new application involving RDF. At least he won't have to worry about having to change its name later like the Phoenix folks.
Got to come up with a name like that for my stuff.
7:10 PM Is it just Mozilla Mail in disguise?
Pictures of the new AOL Communicator strongly suggest that it is not only based on Gecko and XUL, but on Mozilla Mail as well. The UI is almost identical, the menubar has the same labels, Modern theme buttons appear on the toolbars, and they have the same features (junk mail filter, collected address book, mail headers in a grey box.)
The only interesting difference from a XUL person is the slightly different tree widget. It has buttons to scroll through the columns in place of the hide/show drop-down.