[Project_owners] XUL webapps
kramicus at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 1 03:31:32 EDT 2004
I'm going to try and dig up some code from a couple years ago that I wrote and see if I can even still.... understand it... but I think there may be a way or used to be a way to pull something like this off... let me explain as best my memory can recall (i.e see the qbal.mozdev.org) page and thel link to the image and I'm going to try and explain what I prototyped at that time...
(I've not done any technical work in this area in a couple years now... so I'm rusty in my thinking and I'm dabbling in so many different languages at any given time so please be cool...)
What I did was:
1) Create an application that ran out of the sidebar ... as you can see from the page I mentioned there are a bunch of icons that when launched, will fire off an application in the open tabbed window
2) What I did was create an application object in the sidebar and write that object to the dom in the tabbed window with a reference back to the siderbar... I'll have to take some time and review my code but I was able to store the entire state of what ever occured in the tabbed window in the sidebar application, which allowed me to pass data between the sidebar application and the opened tabbed window and also access the local system or remote file system via the networked (intranet) local machine.
3) I could open any url in the tabbed window, and launch one of my prototype apps onto whatever web page I had open in the current tabbed window... This was not my intention but I was able to do this... I sent some comments to one of the fourms, probably two years ago about this behavior and thought it was probably a security issue...
4) From what I was able to do two years ago, I would expect that I could open a tabbed window and load an XUL applicaion in that windows dom(s) from the sidebar and manipulate the data, access the local filesytem, etc... etc... I would expect that I can not only manipulate the dom in each frame, but I would be able to comminucate thru the specific frames dom to the server to deliver new XUL
change some properties and I'm done. If an application did not require a toolbar, it was simple, I just did not provide any values to the toolbar properties... If it did not require a status bar, same thing... I could use as much of the application framework object as I needed. I'm still leaning that way, it just seems that the masses have standardized on templates and style sheets. Seems to me, the easy way is to define object and properties and manipulate the dom when you know that you are going to work in a known platform ie. Firefox or IE... I guess I don't see how style sheets and templates are really a code base than can be managed like objects and properties...
You folks are so much more aware of what can be and what cannot be done, but I was a little suprised when I was able to accomplish managing object state in the sidebar and do anything I need to on the dom of the currently opened tabbed window, no matter what was already loaded into it.
Hope I'm not off base here...
Pete Collins <pete at mozdevgroup.com> wrote:
> So with the state of remote XUL as it is now, is it possible to make a
> serious application like webmail or groupware apps?
Sure as long as the "heavy lifting" is done server side. In other words
if you want to write to a file on the client machine, all bets are off.
You only have the same privileges as a web page has - using remote XUL.
My point is. The standard "web app" is a server side programming
language that delivers HTML to the browser. HTML combined w/ js has
become the cross platform "User Interface" of choice, because it is easy
to work with, no compiling, works in a browser, etc. XUL is a text
markup that can possibly replace HTML because it is a rich "UI" markup
designed w/ that specific purpose in mind.
The problems many develops run into are simply needing more access to
the client machine from a remote app. It is possible - I'm just saying
there are some hurtles to overcome.
This now leaves us w/ the "Hybrid" developer/app. One that dips into
both client and server side programming. It is sustaining web app
development in a "browser environment" yet, moving up a level in the UI
space when leveraging XUL.
The bottom line is remote XUL development is wide open . . .
Pete Collins - Founder, Mozdev Group Inc.
Mozilla Software Development Solutions
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