Published 2005-08-26 23:33:47

My favourite blog post this year has to have been Jamie Zawinski's "why working on hula would just not get you laid."

The obvious counterpoint to this is, well what would get you laid (or at least let's you say, god, this is just sooo cool, that it's fun). Well XUL just does this every time for me. Clients absolutely adore it, (it looks so similar to their normal desktop applications). As a developer, it is the perfect opposite of Microsoft products.
It works everywhere, and doesnt involve huge kludges to workaround known bugs in different browsers. real "write once, run everywhere."

Just to counterpoint that introduction, XUL is so dangerously cool, it even makes writing a mini groupware project fun. 

I've been using Evolution quite a bit recently, but It's just not quite there for calendaring. I access my data from at least 3 machines, let alone on the road so there is no real clean way at present to do this). . It would also be very useful to keep track of what projects I'm working on, and for which client. So the hourly billed clients get something resembling the right bill.., and the fixed cost projects can be checked to see how badly I underquoted.... - now there's a specification!

So out of sheer fustration, last month I started hacking on a XUL calendar - doing the way it's supposed to be done (I consider sunbird as a rather poor example of this.). You can get a bit of an idea of it by just testing one of the templates - week.xul

Adding entries work by highlighting a time block, then pressing a key (or the new button), then filing in the details. This for me is what a calender should do, no fuss with popup windows or crap like that. (have a play with colours - that's really nice here, as changing projects in the real version set's the colour..)

Drag works reasonably ok for resize / move. There is associated month.xul and groupweek.xul (which are less developed), and the project/client/user admin stuff. But to be honest this is one of those - I need this, if someone else wants to play and send me patches, feel free, but I'm not going to get all excited about packaging and releasing it...

But that's the thing about XUL, you just feel like playing with it because it's fun (like todays addition of TODO to it), I cant remember the last time I had that feeling working around bugs with IE's javascript ;) [google for IE bugs if you are in doubt there]

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XUL r00lz
I absolutely agree with you.
Mozilla is the best platform for web applications and XUL the best choice.

I hope Safari and Opera adopt XUL in the future.
#0 - GeorgeNava ( Link) on 2005-08-27 01:48:26 Delete Comment
It works everywhere, and doesnt involve huge kludges to workaround known bugs in different browsers. real "write once, run everywhere."

No, it doesn't run anywhere. It will however, run anywhere that you use a MOZILLA based web browser.

I'll probably be drawn and quartered for saying this, but how is that any different from what MS tried to do 10 years ago or so? Remember all those "best viewed with Netscape" and "best viewed with Internet Explorer" buttons you used to see? Do we want that all over again? I don't.

Opera and Safari may or may not adopt XUL, but IE never would. Thus, segragating the internet community ... again.

I'm fine with XUL. I've used it, and it's truely great. But I sincerely hope it never takes over. Because I don't want to be tied to ANY brower... IE, or Mozilla...

#1 - Anonymous Coward ( Link) on 2005-08-27 14:03:49 Delete Comment
write once run everywhere
I agree that XUL is really the best I've seen so far in the RIA playground.

But... :-)
> doesnt involve huge kludges to workaround known bugs in different browsers. real "write once, run everywhere."

Unfortunately it does. I'm using XUL for not so small prject - CMS. I run several times in the problem that it didn't work for Mozilla or Firefox or Epiphany... all latest versions. The CMS WYSIWYG editor initialization drove me crazy because it worked always in two of mentioned browsers but never in all three.

And don't forget that the current implementation of XUL is NOT COMPLETE! It has few serious inconsistencies/bugs. Starting with XBL inheritance problems and ending with inability to load remote DTD files (I�m Czech and localizability is really the key feature for me). What scared me a lot was when I run my project in Deer Park it didn't work at all.

To be honest I see ten times a day my FF crashing. And believe me in app with thousands of JS lines/XBL it is not easy to find the piece of code that causes crashes. There are not many tools for XUL developers out there. The rest of available tools crash in the same time as Gecko...

XUL will be REALYYY COOOOOL... but in the near future � not now, now is only COOL but it is definitely worth ;-).
#2 - Elixon ( Link) on 2005-08-31 02:49:04 Delete Comment
XUL has alternatives
XUL is OK (not cool), as I too have faced problems similar to those mentioned by Elixon above.
XUL has alternatives like ThinLet ( ) which has been adopted by Genesis Framework (

Another approach to watchout is Laszlo
IBM has adopted it in its ETTK (
For a developer who has not invested much in XUL must first look at Laszlo and Thinlet before commiting to Mozilla XUL.
Be aware though, that Thinlet claims to be XUL but is <b> NOT </b> Mozilla XUL.
They seem to use the term in a generic manner.

I have not mentioned Microsoft XAML, since its not cross platform YET!
#3 - Ashish Banerjee ( Link) on 2005-09-13 17:47:14 Delete Comment

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