Internet browsers etc.

The war has been here for quite a long time. Actually, since Microsoft lauched the first versions of Internet Eplorer… Yes that’s the war between netcape-sun-gecko browsers against IE… And with same kind of religion behaviours as the one about the best platform/os/mail tool/etc. So.. if we get rid of the religion what do we get to feed our technical and/or business minds? What the truth behind the marcketing? What are the pros and cons of the leading browsers?

Internet Explorer

I have had a long and ambiguious relationship with this application. A mix of love and hate. Hate because.. well.. who like Microsoft strategy? It is probably a very efficient one at getting successful (well, at least until now.. we’ll see how they get through their new challenge, the service oriented market and all itds googleismes). But it is not likeable. I dont know how microsoft employees get through this atmosphere of microsoft being the BIG vilain.. Anyway, that’s not the point and I have a lot of respect for these people who did create the internet as it is now, something a lot funnier than it would have been if netscape had won the war. I realy took an interest in internet browsers whe I had a first glimpse of Internet explorer 4. This was a true revolution. It created the foundation of what dhtml, ajax and web 2.0 is now. Not only the content could be displayed nicely by separating html and css, but also it was possible to move some bits of html, change class names, move object around, show or hide them… Something fresh was happening.. I bought a book about dhtml and started writing teh first drop down menu I ever seen running in a browser. It was a bit grey and built as a set tables but still was able to look exactly like its windows standard C++ counterpart. I remember having thios conversation with colleague about the potential of this technology of replacing traditional UI developement.. At that time the reaction were anything but enthusiastic… But I was convinvced that the bad guys had created something special…

Later on I managed to convince a few trying to replace heavy desktop application by thinner clients based on ActiveX that DHTML had its place in rich clients and we created a workable set of menu widgets. They were based on one truly marvel inside Internet explorer: “behaviors” and HTC components. This is something that even nowis the  with the latest Ajax toolgets, haven’t been beaten. It the holy grail of DHTML development and the fantasy of application architects: the ability to truly separate html structure and its behaviour. This is the same idea as CSS doing the rendering of html elements: assigning independent amd modular components to any html element…

I don’t know why the “good guys” (netscape/sun/etc from the purple team) didn’t want to reuse the concept instead of creating XUL and other things. If they had done so, the internet world would be a lot nicer.. And yes, also create a standard around it… But alt least we have something to use with Ajaxian stuff.

The second thing that really got me really excited on the javascript front was website. These guys built something extremely clever, beautiful (and erh .. useless). It was a kind of windows shell and applications replica running inside IE5. I was so interested that I spent some time looking at the sources, that were based on HTC components, Iframes for calling the server (Ajax…), and CSS. A lot of htcs, a lot of iframes and a lot of css. This was a definite Wawwww. I must admit that I did reuse some of their tricks in my javascript tooljets (like loading drop down menus in iframes so that they can overlap ActiveX.. as at that time this wasn’t possible).

to be continued.. dinner served…


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