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Chromeless Supplants Mozilla's Prism Project 111

mikejuk writes "Mozilla Labs has dumped its Prism project, that was intended to bring web applications to the desktop, in favor of a revamped and repurposed Chromeless, a way of building experimental web browsers, to provide yet another way to create a desktop app using web technologies."
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Chromeless Supplants Mozilla's Prism Project

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  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday February 04, 2011 @12:37AM (#35100578)

    Why does everything have to be built on desktop apps dependent on the web or web browsers?

    We've been doing desktops since dirt, and have it pretty well understood, reasonably well standardized
    across multiple operating systems. The building blocks are well understood, highly developed and
    well documented.

    So why does it seem as if everybody wants to make us dependent on a 24/7 connection to the
    web, and why does it seem everyone wants to turn the browser into the building block upon
    which everything else depends?

    And don't get me started on clouds!!!

    What do we gain besides a huge dependence on things outside of our immediate control.

    Did events in Egypt not teach us anything about putting every thing on the web and in
    the cloud?

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday February 04, 2011 @12:45AM (#35100640) Homepage
    Browsers are lightweight, 'easy' to program. Cheap. More or less OS independent. So that's where the impetus comes from.

    But I agree, sticking everything in the stupid browser is annoyingly limited. I can't imagine Photoshop or Maya being browser based. Hell, their browser based help systems don't even work well and that's just linked text - something a browser ought to be good at.

    But the vast majority of users don't go past simple stuff - where a browser UI isn't bad. And Bog knows we ought to put everything on the network so that the poor little user can't screw things up.

    That's our job.
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Friday February 04, 2011 @01:12AM (#35100788) Journal

    why does it seem as if everybody wants to make us dependent on a 24/7 connection to the web

    How else do I say it: Because it's *easier*! Rumors that desktop application development is "well understood", well documented, and highly developed, are incorrect.

    I'm an application developer, supporting both client-side and web-based models, and it's much, much easier to support a web-based model than a client-side model. With a web-based model, you can almost always replicate bugs reported by end users without much fuss. You hold the cards, so you can recreate problem scenarios and not have to bother the client with all that.

    But, with client-side development, you run into situations where (I shit you not!) a combination of an antivirus package and MS Office (no, I'm NOT KIDDING) causes your application to mysteriously stop working. You can't recreate it, despite having a test machine with the same version of windows, similar hardware, etc. The only way to reproduce the problem is on the client's computer, and they are behind a firewall that prevents any remote desktop software from working.

    Have you ever travelled 600 miles in order to discover that the problem was their antivirus in combination with a dumb file association with MS Office?

    But when it's web-based, the problem is significantly easier to manage. Browsers are much more standardized than desktops. Javascript runs pretty much the same on 32 bit systems as 64 bit systems, PPC, ARM, or i386, Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or iOS, regardless of firewalls, antivirus, or whatever.

    And to be truthful, end users are often unable to grasp basic things like saving files, let alone backing them up. But when it's web-based, I can provide a very, VERY strong assurance that backups have occurred within the last 24 hours, 365 days per year!

    See the difference yet?

  • by visualight ( 468005 ) on Friday February 04, 2011 @01:57AM (#35100984) Homepage

    All the browser based applications I've ever used suck compared to something similar written in c or c++ (maybe a reflection of how accessible it is to crappy devs and not of the concept). But really I've not run into many of those, there's just not that much need for actual applications in the browser.

    What I do see more and more every week are "web apps" (hear me vocalize the quotes) that really need to be web pages. It's as if people can't put up a paragraph of text with a photo unless there's 4 layers of abstraction and 3 jquery scripts to help them.

  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Friday February 04, 2011 @02:02AM (#35101008)

    why does it seem as if everybody wants to make us dependent on a 24/7 connection to the web

    How else do I say it: Because it's *easier*! Rumors that desktop application development is "well understood", well documented, and highly developed, are incorrect.

    See the difference yet?

    Rumors that Web interface is easy to build are grossly exaggerated.
    If they are without JavaScript, you are stuck within the "power of expression" of HTML. If they are "powered" by JavaScript, the cross-browser compatibility and debugging/tracing on "what the hell is wrong" becomes quickly a nightmare (everything is Runtime and interpreted, no strong typing, a very loose "Object Oriented" programming paradigm, managing the "context/status of the application" may - and will - create troubles due to the lack of concurrent programming, almost everything is asynchronous, etc).

    The best combination for crafting an application I encountered: sandboxed but still rich/smart clients, potentially written as an "update-able plugin". SWT/Eclipse Framework is the first example to spring in mind - many others may exist - : write your application as an Eclipse Plugin and use Eclipse Framework the way an "Web application uses a browser".

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.