I had beta 1 installed previously but didn’t say anything much about it. Beta 2 added a feature that I felt necessitated some comments. The address bar. Our old standard friend. Every browser has one with some slight variation on implementation. To date Opera, with its address bar search was king (enter “g” in the address bar followed by your query and it posts it to google, enter “z” and it searches amazon) FF3B2 added an interesting and wholly useful enhancement to standard auto-complete that gives Opera’s search a run for it’s money. In fact, the feature is so simple and obvious that you’ll wonder why no one (as far as my limited knowledge extends) has done it before. Rather than simply auto-completing a URL FF3B2 auto-completes website titles as well. Simple, effective, and more useful than you might expect. Can’t remember the URL of that article you were reading (that you forgot to bookmark, shame on you!)? Simply start typing the title and it shows up in the address bar! Simple. Effective. Damned useful.
April 2008. That’s the date when the notoriously progressive Dutch government goes open source.
Awesome. However my favorite part of the news blurb was (emph added by me):
The plan was approved unanimously yesterday in a meeting of two parliamentary commissions.
Not one but two f***ing committees were in total agreement. Amazing.
So Mozilla announced a new product recently: Prism. Prism, as noted by the devs, is designed to compete with Microsoft’s Silverlight and Adobe’s AIR. What are these obscurely titled things you ask? Well as far as my neophyte ass can tell both Silverlight and AIR are plug-ins/development platforms used for web applications. Web applications, like gmail, are the current internet development craze. Finding new ways to deliver content to a population spending increasing amounts of time living in their browser. The difference between the two programs being developed by
evil corporate society Microsoft and Adobe and Mozilla’s Prism are hard to spot out of the gate (and with no experience with any of the aforementioned platforms). As best I can tell the differences lay in the fact both Silverlight and Air are separate tools for delivering content. Web apps are developed straight into and delivered directly by Air and Silverlight. The advantage of Prism, as far as I can tell, lays in its ability to take already established web applications and wrap them in code that allows them to be directly accessed via one’s desktop using a browser stripped of unnecessary accouterments (navigation bar, etc.). In other words allowing one to access web applications as if they were simply desktop applications and thus better integrating the desktop experience with the web itself. Interesting stuff.
Of course I could completely wrong about how any of this stuff works, at least until I try it.
EDIT: Thanks for the comments below. For others curious I found an article from Infoworld that describes AIR a little better for us unititated types.
Also, from Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie comes a good blog post with some more good information about Silverlight.