Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Firefox 5 To Integrate Tab Web Apps

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-prefer-diet-tab dept.

Firefox 129

An anonymous reader writes "We are hearing that Firefox 4 is now scheduled for a late March release and that the company has some issues fixing the right bugs as more non-blocking than blocking bugs are patched. However, on a positive note, the UI design team has posted some intriguing mockups of partial Firefox 5 interfaces. The big change will be the creation of a site-specific browser, which turns websites into tab apps within Firefox 5. This is the first time we are seeing Mozilla's ideas on how to deal with the app-ification of the Internet and a strategy to keep the web browser relevant."

cancel ×

129 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Browser vs OS (5, Insightful)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222128)

Please, stop adding features to the browser what makes it more and more like a OS. (Firefox without a microkernel, or Firefox as monolithic OS without monolithic architecture).

Re:Browser vs OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222526)

But they're not! All they want is for Firefox to be the emacs of the browsing world!

Wait...

Re:Browser vs OS (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222848)

All they want is for Firefox to be the emacs of the browsing world!

Isn't Emacs the Emacs of the browsing world?

Re:Browser vs OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225134)

All they want is for Firefox to be the emacs of the browsing world!

Isn't Emacs the Emacs of the browsing world?

Emacs is the Emacs of the Emacs Emacs

Re:Browser vs OS (5, Funny)

tokul (682258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222622)

Please, stop adding features to the browser what makes it more and more like a OS

We already have emacs for that.

Re:Browser vs OS (0)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222838)

There are plenty of Windows alternatives for those tired of this mad decline of quality in light of FF's success. The problem is that newbies have hardly a clue about what they are in Linux. In 15 years of dealing with newbies anyone will see that "what browser?" and "what Operating System do you use?" come back with blank stares even when the splash screens are displaying.

To even find an alternative like Midori, "A Web browser" (brand-free FF), Seamonkey, Konqueror* in the package managers, but they need to the keyword "browser", because Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer and "Google Chrome" will return no results without presciently tweaking their sources.

* Many Ubuntu users have never walked outside of Gnome because they don't heard about KDE's platform, especially post 4.0, so Konqueror followers have suffered since FF is default everywhere in the Linux world now .

Yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223000)

I thought websites re-inventing browser features was terrible. A javascript "Bookmark this site". A giant RSS feed button. As if the browser tools aren't infinitely superior.

Now the browser is re-inventing website features!
Absolutely horrendous idea.

Re:Yuck (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224034)

I dont like at all when web pages adds own panels top/bottom of the page with javascript so they stay always at bottom/top everything else. Especially when trying to browse web with a netbook. Even with browser set as fullscreen, the panels (sometimes just one, sometimes two) takes too much space from the web page itself.

And all RSS, Facebook, Twitter and other buttons to "share the page" are just so stupid. Taking space from the actual and relevant information.

If Pop-ups and then Ads were not enough, now we need to suffer this stupid "socialize this" or "share this to your friends" thing. Maybe some social network users likes that, but all the information goes then passed trough the website owner again?

    Well, I am just waiting until we really use first OS to run all other software (libraries, system programs etc) on computer, to run web browser, to run a desktop at somewhere on Internet. And no one really knows where the fuck their data really is! Welcom Jolicloud and Facebook!

Re:Browser vs OS (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224602)

Please, stop adding features to the browser what makes it more and more like a OS. (Firefox without a microkernel, or Firefox as monolithic OS without monolithic architecture).

Mozilla worked hard to produce a brilliant little browser - it had it's flaws, but it made it possible to do lots of cool things - but ever since 3.0 they've been working hard to DESTROY what they've done. Forcing changes on the users, adding bloat instead of fixing bugs. They've just lost their way. Within 5 years I'd say we'll be talking about Firefox the way we now talk about Netscape. IDIOTS.

Re:Browser vs OS (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225140)

I agree wholeheartedly. Creating an environment where users can't casually tell the difference between a local program and a website is just evil. It robs users of what little cluefulness they can already grab onto in modern systems, and the resulting confusion can be used to shift control of users' applications away from them without them realizing it.

App-ification (5, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222160)

There's no "app-ification of the web", there's just a rush to cash in on the "app" and "appstore" buzzwords that Apple pushed from solely developer lingo into the mainstream.

Those are bookmarks. But with their secondary menus and new, more confusing ways to do the same old stuff they try to blur boundaries between web and apps. Boundaries, which people need, as a sandboxed browser site and an app is not the same thing by a long shot.

In the end, this will only push users away and to whoever offers the simplest experience.

Re:App-ification (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222464)

app wasn't solely developer lingo -- dating back to NeXTStep, .app was the suffix for application bundles, like .exe/.com for MS-DOS.

Re:App-ification (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223392)

app wasn't solely developer lingo -- dating back to NeXTStep, .app was the suffix for application bundles, like .exe/.com for MS-DOS.

I didn't think anyone other than developers ever used NeXTSTEP.

Re:App-ification (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223864)

Some would say the same about Linux.

Re:App-ification (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224154)

Back in college, not that long ago, my roomates managed to score some nextstep gear. A couple of cubes, monitors and whatever that other box was, it was really nice stuff, assuming you could handle the monitor being black and white.

Re:App-ification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224298)

It's not exactly like .exe/.com, since most .app apps are actually directories. You double-click the directory, which has a regular program icon, to run the application. The icon, menus, text, help files, etc... all exist as resource files inside the .app directory.

On OS X for instance, you have apps which run natively on both Intel and PPC chips because there are two distinct binaries inside, both sharing the same resource files. The overhead to add a new system architecture is minimal, since only the compiled code itself has to be ported, rather than all the normally in-executable resources.

On the plus side, it usually makes it quite easy to modify games.

Re:App-ification (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224736)

NeXTStep is now Mac OS X, and .app is still the extension for application bundles.

Re:App-ification (3, Interesting)

RL78 (1968236) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222662)

If a software application is a tool used to help users do one or more related tasks, then even a browser tab could be considered in app running inside the browser. More so if you were to be running a web app like google docs or online banking as opposed to reading an article somewhere. These added app tabs in Firefox and app shortcuts in Chrome just go one step further in treating the tab as its own app environment, giving the look and feel of a stand a lone program. Isn't the web itself an app? The web technically isn't the internet (the hardware and connection mediums) but the suite of software that runs on top of it that enables the communication. The web is what allows us to appify the net. Pushing users to the simplest experience I would think is their goal, with the simplest experience being with their browser. Stripping the browser away and leaving the website or webapp front and center for a specific task doesn't get more simple to me.

Re:App-ification (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222910)

...they try to blur boundaries between web and apps. Boundaries, which people need, as a sandboxed browser site and an app is not the same thing by a long shot.

So, with more OS's sandboxing local apps and more apps sandboxing themselves, combined with the nearly universal network features of desktop apps, I'm just not seeing the important differences of which you speak. From an end user perspective, most Web apps tend to be more reliant upon network services than desktop apps, but then some desktop apps don't work at all without a specific network service either. The move to Web apps makes a lot of sense to me. I don't like it as an architectural choice, but given that most people's other option is the limitations and expense of Windows, what can you expect?

The Internet Suite. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223074)

There's no "app-ification of the web", there's just a rush to cash in on the "app" and "appstore" buzzwords that Apple pushed from solely developer lingo into the mainstream.

Here is small sampling from Vizio's Internet Apps [vizio.com] for the HDTV:

Amazon Video
Facebook
Flickr
Hulu Plus
Netflix
Pandora
Rhapsody
Twitter
WikiTV (The Wikipedia)

and (Coming Soon) OnLive gaming.

Add Skype to the list and support for the Kinect controller and you are in Hog Heaven.

The suite of apps for the Internet-enabled HDTV, Blu-Ray player, home theater receiver, video game console and mobile device is growing ever larger and more ambitious.

The OS is invisible - and the browser - and the ideologies and the politics which surround it - has no meaning here.

Re:The Internet Suite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35226200)

This is the (far) future. After the onslaught of Chrome OS and the browser/OS line melts (hell, it all started with IE engine being used for explorer process), then the next step will be to have access to the safe software base on all devices. In other words, we will be OS-neutral and the choice of operating system won't matter.

Re:App-ification (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223112)

If Apple, Google, Mozilla, or anybody else thinks I'm going to upload my Porn fiction and store then as "web docs" online, they can just think again. The last thing I need is to have that crap out in the open where any FBI agent or Employer Detective can find them.

I want my Docs on my computer in the privacy of my home. I want to stick with either Microsoft or Libre Office.

BTW the FF5 mockup looks like shit. It looks like they are trying to copy Opera (again), and failing miserably. Or possibly creating another Windows 3-type shell that sits on top of the OS. Ick.

>>>dating back to NeXTStep, .app was the suffix for application bundles

On AmigaOS (which is even older) we didn't use lame DOS-style suffixes. And the apps/programs were called "tools" that were stored in "drawers". And we had preemptive multitasking. And it was good. ;-)

No, there's really an "appification". (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223402)

Mozilla may not be the driving force of it, mind you, but it's a real phenomenon. Places like, oh, Facebook? with monolithic application-like interfaces are really taking over the original notion of a "world wide web" of hyperlinked documents. That philosophy has been seriously undermined. Not that you need to be stupidly ideological about it, but we'll pay the price sooner or later.

Re:No, there's really an "appification". (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223538)

It was seriously undermined over a decade ago when the first studies on navigation showed that people navigated linearly through a website. Hence why breadcrumbs became so popular. The idea of hyperlinking for most of the web is pretty much dead the exception being Wikipedia. That is the closest thing to the concept of hypertext that exists today.

Re:App-ification (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225590)

I think the article is kind of misses the target a bit, and completely fails to mention Mozilla Labs Chromeless, which is how it will be done. Maybe you've never looked at what Adobe Air or applications like Steam or LoL, but there's a demand and need for the app-ification in terms of web development, including both consumer ended applications I have mentioned and business solutions such as Zimbra or in-house applications. Tabbed browsing is great and all, but I'm glad Mozilla is once again pushing the envelope. This is to say, it might be best to have one tab / menu for a given website, and it might be best for that website to be allowed a higher level of control for the components within that site... Take web-chat for example... Yes gmail and facebook have a little fancy javascript object that they maintain through nasty tricks like page-anchor "hijax" (a type of AJAX), but really there's no reason it should be that complex to make a broad spectrum of integrated features into any given website. It's more that developers need ways to integrate multiple websites / website components / user data into one streamlined "application", and trying to dump all of that into a what was meant to the single-document page view style of websites is not an optimal experience for the user, developer, and network... I want a google app with my google browsing tabs in an app. I want slashdot in its own app, and my browsing from there separate. I want facebook, gmail, fark, stumbleupon, etc... to run in their own separate process flow and I don't want to have to deal with 50 different tabs. There's no reason people shouldn't be able to choose an optimal sandbox for each of their favorite sites. There's no reason web developers shouldn't make their own application sandbox to make for a nice experience for those browsing there. "The network is the computer." -John Gage

How about some security? (5, Insightful)

thsths (31372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222172)

All the other browsers are adopting a decent security model with process separation and enforced sand boxing of plugins and tabs. How about catching up with some decent engineering, instead of another GUI mock up?

Re:How about some security? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222244)

Firefox has had plugin sandboxing for a year now (is in FF3.6).

They are working on tab sandboxing concurrent with other development.

Re:How about some security? (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222316)

Are they ever going to make the entire browser not lock up when one tab is doing something that requires starting Flash or gets stuck downloading data from a server?

I'd much rather they fix that than add 'apps' to the browser.

Re:How about some security? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222448)

I imagine apps in their own tabs would require a new way of processing the tabs so you may get your issue fixed while providing new features.

Re:How about some security? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222482)

Different teams are working on both; here's a link to Mozilla's one-process-per-tab feature, I believe there are some downloadable builds to try: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis

Re:How about some security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222654)

Yep, already done. Try using a version of Firefox that is relevant.

Re:How about some security? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222734)

Yep, already done. Try using a version of Firefox that is relevant.

Like what? I was using the latest version of 3.6 on Ubuntu last night and it still happens.

Re:How about some security? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222948)

Arguing with AC is like like trying to agitate a block of lead with a magnet.

Re:How about some security? (1)

jvonk (315830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223564)

...how does arguing with an AC require direct kinetic energy transfer ? Oh wait, I understand now.

Re:How about some security? (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223022)

I don't know what the progress is, but they do have a goal of moving IO out of the main thread (which should help with the UI locking up).

Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223654)

This is way worse in Safari than it ever was in Firefox

Re:Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224168)

This is way worse in Safari than it ever was in Firefox

And that is an excuse? Even IE has this down pat.

Re:How about some security? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222702)

Ok. Admittedly that isn't plugin *sandboxing* just process isolation.
But then, sandboxing of flash is very new, and no other plugins in any other browser are sandboxed either.
That's why Microsoft's H.264 "fix" for chrome is so broken (breaks API and styling, but also introduces windows media player plugin bugs)

Re:How about some security? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222770)

Ok. Admittedly that isn't plugin *sandboxing* just process isolation.

Once the plugin is in a separate process it can easily be sandboxed with Apparmor or SELinux.

Re:How about some security? (2)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222282)

It is already in Firefox Mobile, it was planned to be completed for normal/desktop firefox 4.1. But I guess that will be called Firefox 5 now ?

Re:How about some security? (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222374)

All the other browsers are adopting a decent security model with process separation and enforced sand boxing of plugins and tabs. How about catching up with some decent engineering, instead of another GUI mock up?

They are doing as part of the electrolysyis project [mozilla.org] , though I can't see how this fits in with their release roadmap.

Re:How about some security? (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222894)

They are doing as part of the electrolysyis project [mozilla.org] , though I can't see how this fits in with their release roadmap.

And that is exactly the problem. They hardly get the stuff on the roadmap done, so how do they every want to complete this project?

Re:How about some security? (1)

Sartan4455 (718556) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223382)

I'm sure people have heard of teams?
They have a GUI team/people, and that's all they're going to work on.
They security team/people will worry about security and they'll meld them as needed.

These just mock-ups and ideas - not everyone from mozilla is working on the interface, chillax

Re:How about some security? (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224288)

That's being done. Firefox 4 Mobile will be shipping with out-of-process tabs. Firefox 4 for all versions has out-of-process plug-ins. Desktop Firefox will be getting out-of-process tabs as soon as the UI is fixed to work with them (the back end is all done, since it's shared with Firefox Mobile).

Mandatory Update (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222258)

Will they make the updates mandatory, or will we have the option of staying with the version that we like?

Re:Mandatory Update (0)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222290)

You can always turn off Firefox updates. You can run FF 0.8 if you want, if you can find it that is. There are probably still people on Firefox 2 and Firefox 3(.0), even as the current version is 3.6.

Re:Mandatory Update (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222310)

Only change I know of in that regard is that in Firefox 4 minor updates are planned to be automatic, similair to Chrome. But I don't know if they completed that yet.

Re:Mandatory Update (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222334)

Also they made it easier to make addons which don't break at upgrades, because they use a different API. It also allows for installing addons without restarting the browser.

Re:Mandatory Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223084)

As a consequence most of the existing add-ons are broken in the beta (things that worked between 2.x-3.x without being modified) and likely will never get upgraded since their authors are long gone and nobody is taking over because they're not popular. You still need to restart the browser in beta11.

Re:Mandatory Update (2)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223568)

I'm currently have more addons in my list which are supported on beta than addons that are disabled because they are not supported in beta.

Re:Mandatory Update (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222312)

As with all previous FF updates, it should be optional. You can turn off auto update with Tools->Opitons->Advanced->Update.

Re:Mandatory Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224596)

And then you wait for the next security vulnerability.

Re:Mandatory Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225602)

I believe he means if we'll get to stay with the MAJOR version we like and still get updates for vulnerabilities.

The question is born of the fact that Mozilla is supposedly going to release Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 in 3-6 month intervals. With such a short cycle, they must all be using the same Gecko engine version so if we don't want the new bullshit will be able to stay with Fx4 and get patches without using Fx5/6/7?

Re:Mandatory Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223228)

As much of an option as you have with tab candy

Re:Mandatory Update (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35226062)

Will they make the updates mandatory, or will we have the option of staying with the version that we like?

You mean, like we could for Slashdot?

definitions (2)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222276)

world-wide web = global interconnected information resource - like a spider's web with vertices representing information resources and edges representing explicitly defined links between those resources

application = self-contained software for fulfilling some well-defined task

web browser = browser for the world-wide web

HTH, all web browser writers.

Re:definitions (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222958)

application = self-contained software for fulfilling some well-defined task

Your definition is too vague. What does "self-contained" mean? Do server apps count? Web apps? Picasa? What about Skype; without a remote service it is useless. Is it self contained and thus an app? If not, what is it it? If so, how is it qualitatively different from Google Docs?

Re:definitions (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223122)

Your definition is too vague. What does "self-contained" mean?

It means that the software requires no external processing support to fulfil its particular purpose.

N.B. This includes software such as the Skype client, since its purpose is to be a client for voice/video communication and it does so on its own.

Do server apps count?

What's a server app, exactly?

Web apps?

No. That's just an abuse of HTML to make a document of information look like the UI of a software application.

Picasa?

Not used it. Never managed to see the value in any of Google's offerings beyond its straight web search.

Re:definitions (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223296)

Your definition is too vague. What does "self-contained" mean?

It means that the software requires no external processing support to fulfil its particular purpose. N.B. This includes software such as the Skype client, since its purpose is to be a client for voice/video communication and it does so on its own.

But it does nothing at all without Skype run servers to connect to. If there is not a service running on the internet or if that service is unreachable, even if you can get to other parts of the internet, you can do nothing with the client software. Another good example would be an AIM application.

What's a server app, exactly?

A server app is an app that runs on a remote machine, but that you connect to via a client. E.g. MS Word running on a server connected via Citrix.

Web apps?

No. That's just an abuse of HTML to make a document of information look like the UI of a software application.

What about local apps that use HTML as the display format? Are they then, not applications?

My opinion of your definition is that it is wholly inadequate. You're trying to draw a distinction and failing on all fronts that I can think of. From our discussion thus far, you seem to think "application" refers to apps that don't involve HTML because you want to segregate a specific XML subset for some reason? You aren't making sense to me.

Re:definitions (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223800)

But it does nothing at all without Skype run servers to connect to. If there is not a service running on the internet or if that service is unreachable, even if you can get to other parts of the internet, you can do nothing with the client software. Another good example would be an AIM application.

You're not thinking hard enough. The purpose of the Skype client is to act as a client to the Skype system, not to act as the whole Skype system. It fulfils that role using only the workstation in front of you. Thus it is self-contained in the sense described.

There is no such notion as absolute self-containment - almost everything relies on the Sun and you could argue that the solar system's behaviour in some way depends on the rest of the galaxy/universe. But that's the kind of silly, self-diagnosed-Asperger's-derived argument which gets no-one anywhere.

A server app is an app that runs on a remote machine, but that you connect to via a client. E.g. MS Word running on a server connected via Citrix.

That's just an application having its UI displayed somewhere distant. There's no inherent reason it cannot be run locally.

What about local apps that use HTML as the display format? Are they then, not applications?

Well, it makes for a slow, bloated choice, but there's nothing about choosing it which makes it not an application. It stops becoming an application when it is no longer self-contained, i.e. you lose the ability to execute the software's functionality. A web app is the on-screen equivalent of printing out the UI, sending the printout to someone, letting someone fill in any empty boxes and circle whatever they want to click on, then following the written instructions. The level of control is pathetic and you haven't given any sort of "application" to anyone.

Since you are having difficulty understanding, how about the following question for classification: ask, "What am I running?" In the case of Skype, you are running the Skype client. In the case of Office over Citrix, you are running Office on a remote machine. In the case of Google "Apps"... you are running nothing.

Re:definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224058)

A server app is an app that runs on a remote machine, but that you connect to via a client. E.g. MS Word running on a server connected via Citrix.

That's just an application having its UI displayed somewhere distant. There's no inherent reason it cannot be run locally.

What about local apps that use HTML as the display format? Are they then, not applications?

Well, it makes for a slow, bloated choice, but there's nothing about choosing it which makes it not an application. It stops becoming an application when it is no longer self-contained, i.e. you lose the ability to execute the software's functionality.

How is the first case different from the second case when you make it remote? You've made an arbitrary distinction between "an application having its UI displayed somewhere distant" and"an application having its UI displayed somewhere distant" in HTML.

Re:definitions (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224136)

But it does nothing at all without Skype run servers to connect to. If there is not a service running on the internet or if that service is unreachable, even if you can get to other parts of the internet, you can do nothing with the client software. Another good example would be an AIM application.

You're not thinking hard enough. The purpose of the Skype client is to act as a client to the Skype system, not to act as the whole Skype system. It fulfils that role using only the workstation in front of you. Thus it is self-contained in the sense described.

It is self contained in a useless sense completely invisible to users. Skype advertises their service as being able to "call other people around the world for free", not "connect to Skype".

That's just an application having its UI displayed somewhere distant. There's no inherent reason it cannot be run locally.

That doesn't answer the question.

Well, it makes for a slow, bloated choice, but there's nothing about choosing it which makes it not an application. It stops becoming an application when it is no longer self-contained, i.e. you lose the ability to execute the software's functionality.

So you think a Skype client doesn't lose it's functionality when it can't connect to the Skype network, but GoogleDocs loses it's functionality, when you can't connect to Google? Either way the end user can do jack and shit.

Since you are having difficulty understanding, how about the following question for classification: ask, "What am I running?" In the case of Skype, you are running the Skype client. In the case of Office over Citrix, you are running Office on a remote machine. In the case of Google "Apps"... you are running nothing.

In the case of Google Apps I'm running an app on Google's servers and connecting to the interface via my browser. It's the same as running Word on a remote server and connecting to it vie Citrix, except for the specific software. Heck I can even buy a box from Google (if I have the money) to run Google docs locally on my own machine and connect to localhost via a browser.

You're just trying to make an arbitrary distinction because you don't like the limitations of some Web apps and don't care about those same limitations you are used to with certain traditional apps. So you try to make up a definition that lawyers the former out and the latter in. That's weak.

Re:definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223946)

But it does nothing at all without Skype run servers to connect to. If there is not a service running on the internet or if that service is unreachable, even if you can get to other parts of the internet, you can do nothing with the client software. Another good example would be an AIM application.

It's NOT supposed to!!! It's sole job is to CONNECT to the service and present the service's options to the user. Should the server providing the service not be accessible, it is the job of the client to gracefully make that known to said user.

Re:definitions (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224272)

It means that the software requires no external processing support to fulfil its particular purpose.

Can you provide an example of this mythical "application" you speak of. Last time I looked there was little if any software that did not require an operating system (which is also software) for it operate. Most software won't even start without an OS that knows how to handle the file format and how load load and begin execution. Last time I worked on or with any software that ran without processing by other software was when Commodore was at their peak (When I worked on software that ran on the bare metal of a disk drive to utilize otherwise wasted processing power).

I agree that a web browser is no place for an application, but you are just trying to draw an arbitrary line. An Application browser on the other had should be perfectly suited for executing remote applications with unified UI elements. I mean by your definition there are no Java Apps, and if you run your application in virtualization, then it's not really an application.

"Websites as apps" ? what apps ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222284)

you mean just pulling parts of the content that is served by the remote webserver, and presenting it as if it was something separate from a website ? the fact that i can push a few form buttons there does not make it any different from a website.

basically you separate widgets and page-specific functions from a website, and call that an app.

oh boy go fuck off. in an 'app' fashion if you will - piecemeal.

Re:"Websites as apps" ? what apps ? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222632)

From the mockup, it looks like they're going to scrape a few functions from the website's interface and add them to a site-specific menu in the Firefox menu bar.

While I wouldn't call this terrible so long as it would actually work, it seems like something that would break at the slightest change to the websites it's designed to support, which ranks it up there somewhere near "worst idea ever" in my estimation. They're basically assuming that Facebook isn't going to change their javascript, and/or putting upon themselves the hassle of fixing the menu every time Facebook's update breaks it.

The only way I could see this being workable is by making it an opt-in thing, e.g. giving an interface whereby a site could register its menu with the options and their corresponding javascript event handler functions to fire when they were selected.

Re:"Websites as apps" ? what apps ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222846)

From the mockup, it looks like they're going to scrape a few functions from the website's interface and add them to a site-specific menu in the Firefox menu bar.

Did you get as pissed off as I whenever a web-page resizes your browser window? or when it removed the navigation bar?

Yup, now imagine if suddenly you cannot find that the "back" button takes you to goatse, or all the options in your "tool" menu disappear.

as they say... what could possibly go wrong?

Re:"Websites as apps" ? what apps ? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223424)

Letting a website screw around with existing browser features is a little bit different than giving them a whole new sandbox to play in.

E.g. right-click - Google Maps is one of the only websites that I've found that actually does this "nicely". The rest of the websites that disable the browser right-click menu generally just piss me off. But if there was a whole new menu in addition to the browser's default right-click menu, instead of one or the other, it would give the best of both worlds.

So when I say they could register the menu options and event handlers, I don't imply that they'd be able to interact with other parts of the browser chrome, like the other menus. They'd just be able to fill the site-specific menu with options. The rest of the browser chrome would work exactly as it was supposed to.

Re:"Websites as apps" ? what apps ? (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223666)

While I wouldn't call this terrible so long as it would actually work, it seems like something that would break at the slightest change to the websites it's designed to support, which ranks it up there somewhere near "worst idea ever" in my estimation.

They'll do it anyway. From my interactions with Mozilla in the last year or so, the UX/UI team do what the hell they want now and some people check it in. And if you dare to question it they tell you to piss off.

Positivism (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222354)

Can I be the first person to actually like this feature idea? I may not be interested in using it, but I can see the appeal for sure. And I don't see why websites like Facebook and Twitter wouldn't try to take the most advantage of this as they could.

It's innovation, guys. Sometimes we have to change our rigid world view to get something we never thought we would like. Even if this feature doesn't become well loved, it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into or inspire another one that will. Firefox is innovating, that's a good thing, it's something that has been lacking for a few versions now (besides their GUI refresh).

Re:Positivism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222420)

It's innovation, guys.

Wrong. This is a pointless solution looking for a problem. Innovation is about addressing existing problems in new ways.

Re:Positivism (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222502)

Considering Facebook changes their interface so often, I can see why this could be a problem. At least on Firefox it'd be consistent. ;)

Re:Positivism (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222428)

yep, that's true. As long as I can still do the boring old stuff I used to do in a fast way.. then I'm more than happy for this kind of experimentation to appear. Otherwise, FF is doomed to be just another IE clone :)

I saw the "app tabs" in the current beta, which basically puts a miniature tab (of the favicon) on the browser tab bar. Currently this is little more than a different way of having favourite bookmarks always loaded, but I now see the direction they're taking them. I like it - for the couple of sites I always seem to have open, and I guess if you don't, then you just don't set the 'make app tag' flag and you keep the old website as it was.

In other words - everyone's happy and FF pushes the boundaries of computer GUIs. The next generation of GUIs has got to be cross-platform, HTML is almost certainly what's its going to be like.

Re:Positivism (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222646)

The way you described it reminds me of how Windows 7 lets you pin applications to your start bar. I like this. I don't know if it's really necessary over the bookmark toolbar, but if they're trying to move away from that like Chrome has, then it's certainly a neat idea.

Re:Positivism (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222940)

I like to think of it as a permanently bound shortcut to a bookmark, even though its really a permanently loaded tab with a website in it.

The concept might have come from Win7s taskbar shortcuts (not that I ever use them, except to open a new innstance of a running app - which is bloody confusing and un-intuitive: if you want a new app, you do not go to a running one and ask for it to start a new version of itself again!)

But adding a few commands to some sites does seems like a good thing: new bug, new tweet, "search and open tab" perhaps. It would particularly be useful for those sites that you don't really want to visit - why would you want to visit twitter (at all :) ) just to send a tweet when you could right click on the 'twitter app tab' and send the tweet directly. I'm not sure twitter's advertisers will be too happy, but sod them.

Re:Positivism (5, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222430)

> It's innovation, guys.

"Innovation" is not a synonym for "gimmick".

> ...this feature...

"Feature", unfortunately, is.

Re:Positivism (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222468)

No, no, no. Innovation is when you look at interesting things in academia, learn from the mistakes of early commercial ventures, build your own version, and market like buggery. You take A's work, previously accessible only to B, and make it available to C to Z, and you're sorta heavily rewarded for it.

Well, that's what innovation was up to the mid '80s or so.

Now, innovation is the religious basis for deregulation. If you wonder, for example, why banks or telecoms providers can get away with so many things, the answer is that they need the freedom to innovate. It's like the freedom to breathe in that they already had it and that giving someone the freedom to breathe doesn't mean they're not an undead corpse which hasn't respired for decades.

Re:Positivism (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222520)

Off topic much? Go rant about real world companies elsewhere, this is about internet browsers.

Re:Positivism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222640)

i see what you did there

Re:Positivism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224374)

Innovation? may be not. IE9 came up with this idea and it's called pinned sites: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg131029%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

I never thought I'd be quoting a meme on /., but.. (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222492)

"Do not want" seems like the most appropriate response here. Sheesh.

Inner Platform Anti pattern (1)

darojasp (910720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222550)

I am really tired of browsers transforming themselves into operating systems. This is worst than emacs (by the way, I am an emacs user)

Does this mean (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222738)

that sites won't be able to access each other's cookies? That I can easily segregate certain misbehaving sites privacy-wise (I'm looking at you Facebook) in their own tab so they don't clutter up my other sites with social crap [if I don't want it]?

I currently use separate profiles but that's cumbersome.

Re:Does this mean (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224278)

Or you could use a browser that has this feature built in. Strange though it sounds, IE8 has a feature which basically reads "No other site on the web can see you on this site." It works great - I'm almsot always signed in to Facebook, but third party sites have absolutely no way to tell because the browser doesn't allow anything from Facebook to run while I'm not actually on Facebook.com.

That said, the IE8 version has issues. Try the IE9 RC, and its Tracking Protection feature. It also makes a great ad blocker.

Already a feature? (1)

GofG (1288820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222896)

I am running FF4b10 right now, and as far as I can tell, "App tabs" have been a feature since the onset of FF4.

See screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/ZkZVF.png [imgur.com]

Appification is a run around ad block (1, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222900)

Web sites would rather control what is presented to you totally so that they could pelt you with ads all the time.The content is the lure, you are the catch and smothering you with ads is the raison d'être for these web sites. With browsers under the control of visitors, who might install no script and ad block they are seen by the web sites as sneaky thieves who pilfer "content" without paying for it. Making it all an app, and delivering it in apps with lots of quirks prevents the users from developing the equivalents of adblock. That is why they love the apps.

cloud BS (1)

Randy_Leatherbelly (1983850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222950)

i can just hear it now 'So, lets add in more 'features' instead of making it an option " well, maybe not, but i would think nowadays security should be paramount, and *then* arrange a nice UI, surely ? but hey, what do i know, not much. Sadly i'm seeing some unpleasant design ideas creeping into my open source world.. like every Gnome desktop using the largely crap pulseaudio, or my fave KDE assuming you're some sort of calender watching office droid needing PIM Akonadi or Nepomuk - we don't all live in the same world. MAKE THIS CRAP AN OPTION !! message ends .... :)

Looks like a variation of IE9's site pinning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223058)

...but instead of having the shortcut on the W7 taskbar it's in the browser.

Re:Looks like a variation of IE9's site pinning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225026)

Firefox 6!!! (1)

TheRedDuke (1734262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223090)

Version 6 will inlcude a monkey butler and your own fucking jetpack!
Meanwhile, we're still all still running 3.x and it's about as vulnerable as IE. How about just getting a final, secure version 4 to market?

Re:Firefox 6!!! (2)

Reapman (740286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223304)

I don't get this Firefox isn't secure line.. the last time I was infected was because I decided to try Chrome out, and thanks to not having a NoScript like addon available some stupid Java based virus BSOD'd my Win7 64bit box. Visiting that same site in Firefox did nothing since nothing was allowed to load until I told it to.

Frankly the only reason I stick with Firefox right now IS security...

And ya, the exploit was Java, but that exploit was only reachable in Chrome, not Firefox (with NoScript).

Feel free to prove me wrong on this one, I like Chrome's interface but Firefox 4 is close enough for me.

Re:Firefox 6!!! (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225650)

Re:Firefox 6!!! (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225740)

Thank you for that link, that's (almost) exactlly what i was looking for.. last time I poked around I believe I had to manually set each site's access controls, a cludge at best. However judging by the one screenshot this solves that and allows controlling it the same as NoScript.

Looks brand new (article is dated the 6th) but about time!!

But I can't trust most websites... (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223326)

This would be REALLY cool if I could trust most or even the small portion of websites I visit regularly to refrain from making obnoxiously long page and sections titles or just finding ways to exploit my browser so that I have to view their content so they can get more ad revenue.

Note that I love and support the free internet by means of advertising revenue. I don't even mind my browser sessions being tracked so long as they're not connected together to create a profile of me. But this seems like yet another way for web design to be used as a tool for hyper-desperate website owners for the purpose of being in your face as much as possible, not just "as much as you want".

Lastly, they're not doing their ideas service by immediately pandering to the Facebook/Twitter crowd-- at least for me and people like me who hate the exhibitionist side of "Web 2.0". Show me how slashdot, newegg, google news, and other more informative sites will be represented and you'd at least have a chance of winning me over.

areweprettyyet.com (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223812)

Is it just me, or does this site kinda completely fail on the current stable version of Firefox?

In fact, I've tried all these (on WinXP):

Chrome 9
Firefox 3.6
IE8
Opera 11
Safari 5

And only Chrome actually works (Opera gets a bit nearer to actually working, the menu appears, but the boxes with links to Bugzilla just have a spinning blue thing in them). I'm sure FF4 beta works, but really, did the site have to be so HTML5ish that most of the stable browsers out there can't actually use it?

is it just me? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224062)

or has firefox completely lost track of what made it interesting? small and fast? there is so much unused crap in firefox its incredible. they are in the regrettable situation of having way more income than they can spend. so they blow it on features that nobody wants or needs.

Re:is it just me? (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225256)

The problem isn't money. The problem is that Firefox's developers suffer from a combination of arrogance and gross incompetence.
Incompetence? How about constantly adding new features to beta software. Even the greenest rookie developer knows you don't add new features to Beta 11. How about (by their own admission) spending more time fixing non-blocking bugs than blocking bugs?

Arrogance? How about constantly ignoring requests for things people want while constantly filling FF with crap nobody cares about. How about removing features that result in FF being less useful that it used to be and forcing people to write extensions so they can get back stuff that used to be in FF.

Fork Firefox already (1)

zdepthcharge (1792770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225146)

Let's have a browser that supports add-ons to allow customization, but keep the browser itself from adding "social" features or any other use specific crap (aside from accessing the web). And if this fork was run by a non-profit, they might realize that Firefox doesn't need to compete with other browsers at whatever game those developers are doing. Make a solid, bug-free browser and damn the noise.

Mozilla is rolling down that slippery slope. (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225270)

Mozilla was at it's best with FF2-2.5; simple layout, highly customizable, and easy to use. Since the introduction of FF3, I've seen more bloated memory use, more complexity added to the browser, and an overall less simple layout .Mozilla has lost it and this just further shows how out of touch the Mozilla folks are. The only reason I keep using Firefox is the customizations, but now Chrome is nearly as customizable as Firefox.

Browser relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225660)

Browsers will always be relevant, how on earth will you get at these "apps" without a browser?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>