Building a Web InterfaceΒΆ

date:2004-01-06 11:01:04
category:User Interface

I would like to build a web browser interface that has capabilities like a spreadsheet.

At the same time, would like to use a tool like OpenROAD from Ingres/CA to do this.

It seems that XUL is the way to go but the entire Mozilla thing is unstable.

Perhaphs [there are] other alternatives ?

There are always alternatives. There are four processing locations in the architecture you’re describing:

  1. On the desktop via a separate application or component that a user downloads. For example, in Windows, an ActiveX control can lodge on the desktop, interact with Excel (if present) and be a spreadsheet, not spreadsheet-like.
  2. In the browser as a Java applet. Some other plugins are possible, also. For non-Java plugins, the users must download and install the plugin, then your application will be handled by the plugin. For instance, the Tcl plugin can do this by creating a Tk interface from the plugin.
  3. In the browser as a complex form with Javascript programming to handle all of the spreadsheet-like capabilities. This implies a lot of Javascript and little persistence.
  4. In the web server as a complex form. Each interaction will take a while, since it will all be done by the web server, but every step is now persistent.

None of these depend on Mozilla’s XUL.

The issue, BTW, is not the stability of Mozilla – it is a better-engineered piece of software than most. The issue is the adoption of XUL; if Explorer doesn’t adopt it, then it will languish in a nook somewhere with all the other great ideas that never took off.

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