I'm really enjoying this. I haven't been this interested in programming in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed building my framework in PHP, with all the backend stuff like session tracking, authentication, security, and so on, but then on the GUI end of things I stalled out as html templates became too boring to create.
Now I'm plugging my PHP framework into XUL instead and having a lot more fun with it. XUL is a little less open-ended in terms of visual design but a lot more enjoyable to create a front end with than HTML for various reasons.
It helps me prototype very quickly, which keeps me organized.
It allows me to create working units of functionality easily and simply so that I can test very quickly and keep my interest up.
Firefox/Mozilla adapts XUL's look and feel to the platform I'm running the code on, and it's completely skinnable using Firefox themes. If you load a new theme the whole XUL interface looks like your theme (but I can override it with CSS if I really want to).
Good stuff. Highly recommended. The lack of IE support I suppose is a bad thing but for me it just means that I don't have to write any extra baby-sitting code for IE to make sure my application behaves. I can write standards compliant stuff (with the exception of XMLHttpRequest which isn't a w3c spec) and know it'll work. And really, when you give the user an app, you can also just discreetly load Firefox or Mozilla as the "runtime" or whatever and just give them an icon. They don't care what the app runs in, for the most part.
"They don't care what the app runs in, for the most part."
You sure about that? if your doing this for a hobby then thats fine but if you seriously wanna make money out of it I'm not so sure.
If my application install installs Firefox as part of the load, what are 99.9% of users going to care? They're not.
Anyway you're right, it's mostly a hobby. It may one day lead to a product I'll try to sell, but even then I think I'll still enforce the Firefox requirement. If that reduces my market to a niche I'm still comfortable with that. It'll save me the stress of trying to support IE's idiosyncracies, and I can better serve the customers I will (ostensibly) have.
Maybe my game will become Firefox's Killer App. :-)
True story: other guy is at client side this morning. He discovers that Firefox is going thru memory like Beano at a barbeque (they have to restart the app every 20-30 minutes). Not happening at our PCs, go figure. Going with Firefox as a platform: frigging nightmare.
January 20th, 2006
Firefox does have a memory leak, but I haven't ever seen it get out of control unless I leave the app open and running for literally days upon days.
Whether it's worse with XUL, I don't know.
"It'll save me the stress of trying to support IE's idiosyncracies, and I can better serve the customers I will (ostensibly) have."
I am going to have to support you on this. Why take all the fun and productivity out of development and let Microsoft ride you like a bitch if you don't have to?
Unfortunately, my target audience requires IE. Sigh. I like Bindows though.
Yeah, Mr Generic. Firefox takes a week to crap out on my machine too, but at my clients it was taking 20-30 minutes to go climb the Sisyphean memory hill (up to 300MB) with a XUL-like app, no-custom XPCOM components or nothing, (FFX 1.0.6, XP Pro).
Beats me why. Plus the documentation for the low-level, non-AJAX, stuff is crappy.
January 20th, 2006