[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[DotGNU]flexible for users, or flexible for developers? (was Re: User In
[DotGNU]flexible for users, or flexible for developers? (was Re: User Interfaces)
Fri, 28 Jun 2002 00:21:26 -0500
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.1a) Gecko/20020608
Adam Theo wrote:
I've been thinking about user interfaces today, dredging up alot of my
old ideas. Here's what I think the best option is for user interfaces of
the future to be built on.
I think there needs to be a universal, platform-independant was of
defining a user interface. Probably using an XML document to define it
for each application, and they all share the same XML vocabulary so they
can be interchangeable. This is what Mozilla has done, I believe,
although I forget the name or the details.
It is XUL, the XML-based User Interface Language. However, IIRC, it was
designed for a rendering system like Gecko (all the UI in Mozilla is
rendered just like pages). I don't think this is the best way to go
However, while this spec should remain simple and easily
learnable/implimentible, it should also be increadibly flexible in what
it allows application and skin/theme developers to do. I think the best
example we have today of a very flexible interface is the web with HTML.
XUL is very flexible, but that is a result of its implementation.
However, HTML sucks, and as many have stated was never meant to deliver
applications. HTML cannot be used. But a HTML-inspired, XML-improved,
well thought out spec could be created that used a web-like interface to
allow maximum flexability to developers and users.
It would be better than HTML because we would make it that way.
Just another out-of-the-blue thought from Theo.
Easier said than done, unfortunately for DotGNU ;)
I think this is very viable for the future. However, today I think that
two of your requirements are mutually exclusive. You say universal,
platform independent, yet you want it to be very flexible. This is
excluded simply because of the types of platforms there are.
Perhaps this is possible when `platform-independent' means working on
all different OSes, but expecting the same thing when it comes to a
computer (screen, keyboard, mouse, proc, HD, filesystem, software can be
installed), in the sense that most people say `computer' (after all,
most people don't think of their TVs as computers, or their calculators,
etc. But when you start going as far away as a PDA, things change. The
expected user interface changes. Or what about accessibility devices? So
you have to let the implementation (of the UI displayer) decide alot of
what should be happening. However, this preempts the whole "flexible for
developers" thing. To allow the platform to be flexible, we must limit
what the developer can create, so as to guarantee a consistent (and
uncomplicated!) user experience.
That's why the flexibility of XUL won't do.
DotGNU `Contributor' -- http://www.dotgnu.org
The GNU GPL is not Mr. Nice Guy. It says "no" to some of the things
that people sometimes want to do.
-- RMS, "Copyleft: Pragmatic Idealism"