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Wed Aug 28 19:55:30 2002 UTC (17 years, 9 months ago) by david
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<h1>Let a Hundred Browsers Bloom</h1>

<p>Because Mozilla can be used to create any sort of application, there's no reason why it can't be used to create different types of browsers.  
Several projects are currently under development independently from the work being done on the default Mozilla browser. This variety is a huge
asset because the Mozilla community doesn't have to try to create one browser that is all things to all people.

<h2>Who is the Target Audience?</h2>

<li>aol users for netscape 7?
<li>power users for the mozilla developers
<li>no one browser can fit...

<h2>Gecko Based Browsers</h2>

<p>Additional projects are creating different types of alternative browsers, but instead of using Mozilla itself to create the application they use
the native user interface toolkits for different platforms. These projects create stripped-down browsers that use just Gecko, Mozilla's layout
engine. Because these projects use platform-specific code they work only on a specific operating system. Some examples include Chimera
( for Mac OS X, Galeon ( for Unix, and K-Meleon ( for


<h2>XUL Based Browsers</h2>

<p>A few of these projects are working on improving the basic Mozilla browser interface. One of the first Mozilla applications, Aphrodite
(, has an interface designed and created by members of the Mozilla community. Another project called m/b (short for
mozilla/browser) addresses shortcomings that some people see with the default browser interface. In many ways, these projects are similar to
themes, but they take this idea one step further and use XUL, CSS, and JavaScript to change the layout of the browser interface and not just the
look of the browser.

	include aphrodite themes
m/b            (screenshot)   
        project piglet


	- links to other browsers
	- minotaur reference???
	- let 100 browsers bloom

<p>If you think of a type of browser that is needed but that is not being developed right now, use Mozilla to create your own browser.




Beonex Communicator

aol and compuserve clients	gecko based or mozilla based?

minotaur  - alternative mail client
	phoenix reference on the page

Lot's of changes are under way for the Mozilla browser

- The "Skyline" project, which is a version of Mozilla is being worked on internally at Netscape, "is a short-term project to build a working 
prototype of a new web client that provides for the daily needs of novice-intermediate users, is fun to use, and really shines in a broadband 

- Project "Phoenix", "...a redesign of the Mozilla browser component, similar to Galeon, K-Meleon and Chimera, but written using the XUL user 
interface language and designed to be cross-platform" (via mpt's site)

- The mozilla/browser project, mentioned a while ago on this site has resurfaced on mozdev. There are some screenshots, but the installable 
XPI is not working, yet.

</pre> (stand-alone mail client)


reasons for creating alternate browsers


In some cases features that are of more obvious benefit to one app end up affecting the design of all the apps. For example, profiles are of far 
more use to mail than they are to a browser. Are profiles even really necessary if you were designing just a browser? In this era of Windows XP and 
Mac OS X, both of which have fast friendly user switching, I'd claim that they aren't.

Another example of horrid user interface is the Mozilla Preferences dialog. Again, all prefs are shoved down into the hierarchy by an extra level, 
because the top level must necessarily be given over to individual application branches. User interface that logically belonged in preferences has 
been torn out because it would have ended up too buried to be useful, e.g., the Mail/News account settings.


The end result of these colliding forces is Mozilla 1.0, a lumbering beast of an application suite that boasts a bewildering array of features
supplied by contributors whose respective agendas are inevitably at odds.  What's even worse is that none of the warring factions is happy with the
end result. Mozilla ends up with geek features like the Links Toolbar that make Netscape unhappy, and Mozilla ends up with a lousy toolbar design
in order to keep Netscape happy. [...] You'll never see eye-to-eye, because you're not trying to produce the same browser.

The only real solution I see to this problem is for Mozilla to escape the one-browser mold. After Mozilla 1.0, should relinquish
control of its flagship application to Netscape and strike out on its own with new browser projects that are truly innovative. Let one group of
people try to design the power user's dream browser, while another works on a simpler elegant user experience.


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