Using Firefox 3 as a XUL runtime environment

Using Firefox 3 as a XUL runtime environment

Some other post about it

This tidbit is actually rather exciting. Firefox uses a rendering engine that reads XML to determin how its user interface is laid out. And now that they’re going to release it as a runtime environment, it should be possible to create desktop clients like one develops for the web. So instead of an API like Swing, or the like, you have a declarative language for rendering layout for desktop applications.

In addition, it should also be possible to transmit user interfaces from application to application and platform to platform more easily with such a declarative language for layout. I imagine being able to drag and drop interfaces from your desktop to your mobile device as a metaphor for “taking things with you.”

I’m sure other people that have been paying attention in this field saw this coming for a while. Adobe’s AIR (Adobe Integrate Runtime) is aiming specifically in this field. We’ll see how this plays out, but likely, developers will choose one or the other for a specific strength, and each will have their own niche. You can try out Firefox 3’s current alpha. It’s been much more stable in the last couple of weeks.


Adobe open sources Flex, it’d be nice for mobile too

Now that’s news. I think it’s a good strategy on their part, since there’s still work to be done in the adoption phase of user interfaces, both on the web and mobile devices. What is most interesting is if Adobe plans to use some version of Flex as a platform for mobile devices. Currently, it’s done in JavaME, and after trying it out, it was hard, because the tools were still a bit inadequate, and the fact that it’s still not easy to get applications on to phones.

With an open sourced language for rich/heavy front-ends, I wouldn’t be surprised if this gains quick adoption, as I see just OpenLaszlo and Microsoft’s Silverlight as being the alternative. AJAX will have to come up with other tricks up its sleeve, like faster javascript engines…This whole scene will be something to keep an eye on, as it’ll be interesting how it plays out.