Back in my February 2004 Developer Day slides, I promoted the idea of using Eclipse to create a XUL application builder, with direct-manipulation graphical layout construction and editing, project management wizards, etc.
Although a few people expressed interest and even did some hacking (the MozCreator project being the most conspicuous example, although not Eclipse-based), no one actually created an Eclipse project and built on its Graphical Editor Framework to realize a XUL app-builder.
The good news this week is Open Laszlo and IBM releasing the Eclipse IDE for Laszlo. LZX is cool, and similar in spirit, and in many ways in flesh, to XUL.
So the thought occurs: why not patch the Eclipse IDE for Laszlo to support XUL as an alternative target language, and Firefox (or any new-style XUL app, soon enough unified via XULRunner) as the target runtime? Any takers?
The Greek poet Archilochus wrote “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
But what does the Firefox know? Both many things (tabbed browsing live bookmarks popup blocking mouse gestures extension architecture download manager small fast . . .) and one immense thing: that the power of the Internet and the power of open source are two sides of one coin, minted by millions of people working together as never before. Firefox shows what can be done when people use the web to collaborate without any agenda other than a common vision of simplicity and ease of use, and with the freedom to extend that vision according to individual good taste in boundless directions through XUL extensions.
In the case of Firefox 1.0, those people include the dozens of top hackers on the Mozilla project, the project managers at the Foundation and among the key strategic partners, the hundreds of CVS committers, the thousands of daily build testers and advocates, and the millions of users. I’ll single out only four by name, without slighting any others in the least.
First, many thanks to ben, who took up the flag after 0.5, kept his cool and his great sense of design under pressure, and carried the ball into the end zone. Kudos also to blake and hyatt, who started it all and showed the world the way to a better mousetrap. Finally, thanks again, and always, to asa, for his tireless testing and release leadership.
Onward to Firefox 1.1 and Mozilla 2.0!