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Today is the big day – that’s right today is Firefox day! I have been waiting for weeks, have been practicing downloading, and even woke up early just to be ready. So I am all ready to download the Firefox 3 browser and be part of history – but the site is down. And when the Firefox site isn’t down, it’s pointing people to Firefox 2. To heck I say, let’s all go back to using Lynx – the world was a better place then – heck gas was 79c a gallon then.
If you are looking to download the Firefox 3 browser, here’s another location for immediate download we are told.
Don’t forget tonight’s party in NYC – I believe even if the Firefox/Mozilla sites are down, the party will still go on!
And check out:
- Corsin Camichel’s blog – he is liveblogging the entire event for the full 24 hours!
- Rafe Needleman at Webware is hosting a live chat
Update 2pm Eastern – the site is back and now there’s a groovy counter – there’s loads of numbers on the counter but nothing matches up so your guess is as good as mine!
Next Tuesday is the big event for Mozilla where they will attempt to get everyone on planet Earth to download the Firefox 3 browser. It will be really exciting to see if they can break the Guiness Book of World’s Records for the most downloaded thing in one day. (note the sarcasm)
If you are in NYC and want to join in the celebration, AdaptiveBlue is holding the official NYC party at their office in Manhattan. Check out all of the details on the AdaptiveBlue blog or on the Firefox party page. The true benefit of going to the party is that you get to meet the AB team and checkout their technology.
What would be cool is if there was a webcam at every event and you could watch them all live and interact between the parties. I am going to bring a whole gaggle of those little champagne bottles that pop out streamers!
The non-profit Mozilla Foundation has spun off their email application development into a new entity named Mozilla Messaging. The first goal of the new group will be the development and (late 2008) release of Thunderbird 3.
CEO David Ascher has written about the journey which he called "MailCo" until today. There’s also a FAQ with information about the group and what the new product will include. As for the product release, "Thunderbird 3 will include calendaring, better search, and better overall user experience, much like Firefox 3."
With more people using wireless devices, it will be critical for Thunderbird to integrate with these devices. Make it easy for the average Internet user to keep their mail current no matter how it’s accessed. This is why I believe that Zimbra is so powerful. With their new desktop client, the actual email is left on the server and you can access it on the desktop, on the Web, on your mobile, etc.
I would hope that the calendar can keep an online, shareable calendar updated as well. And will we see some of the social, trust features of Xobni integrated into Thunderbird 3? What suggestions do you have for the team?
In a recent post I wrote on MentallyRetired, I discuss Adobe’s recent decision to move all of their applications to the Web. I gave my opinion as to why this is a bad idea. In summary, the web can’t handle it. Code that is interpreted in multiple ways by multiple browsers will never be good enough because it’s too expensive to support. That’s the cliff notes version of my post.
In addition, I left the door open to a solution, as I always have in this discussion. Whatever the future of the web is, it will have to come in the form of a desktop install.
As if on queue, Mozilla released the windows version of Prism this week. Prism is intended to be a simple desktop viewer for your favorite web applications, but I believe it has the ability to become much, much more. Although browser based, Prism solves the issues I mentioned with web browsers. It does interpret code, but if your application was made to run in Firefox, then Prism will display it exactly as you intended.
Some might call me hypocritical because of how I bashed browsers in my previous post, but I hope they understand my point. Although Prism is pretty much a navigation-free browser, it is an application and it is based on one browser. If your application was made for Prism, it will run in Prism. All the power of the net funneled through a viewfinder that you intended it to be seen through. Additionally, because it’s a desktop installation, it has the power to do so much more. Offline storage, file system access, the canvas tag, and even more impressive… it can run XUL applications. I’m not sure yet if it’s possible to embed XUL inside of XHTML, but damn that would be powerful. Imagine a XUL based file upload form. (If you’re a developer, you’re salivating at this thought.)
Isn’t Mozilla already working on a standalone XUL platform, though? Well, yes, but XULRunner stands on it’s own because it already has things like DLL support, file system access and offline storage. Prism is more of a window through which to view web applications.
What I want to know is, will we start to see Prism-only applications? Will we be able to bundle their application as a download with Prism? All the things that Firefox supports are supported in Prism, so it makes sense that developers finally take advantage of the great standards support that Firefox provides.
Some will now criticize me and say "If people haven’t made Firefox-only websites already, why would they start just for Prism?" My answer to them would be to look at the delivery. Look at it from your grandma’s point of view. If she downloads this program and installs it, it works on her machine, plain and simple. If she were forced to download Firefox and start it up just to pull up a website, she probably wouldn’t. This is a very intelligent way for the team at Mozilla to get people to use Firefox, and a very intelligent way for developers to forget about cross browser headaches and get on with their development. This is very smart on Mozilla’s part.
"But the developers should be doing a better job!" you say. I agree… but the reality of it is that they are not. One application to read code that was intended for that application is going to be a lot smoother of a process, from front to back.
Overall, I think this is a great move by Mozilla. The only way I can see this backfiring is if Microsoft releases their own application in the same class as Prism, based on Internet Explorer. At that point we’d have to support multiple interpretations again… but that’s kind of the beauty of this. We can choose not to support the MS version, and people won’t expect it to work. By jumping straight to your application through Prism, it takes the browser-based ideology away from the user and makes them feel as if they’re using a real, solid application… and they will be.
Hats off to Mozilla for coming up with a possible solution to this ever-lingering issue.
James Thomas is a web developer and recent transplant to Orange County, California. By day, he develops websites for Oakley. By night, he programs websites and plots to take over the world, which is the same thing he does every night, Pinky.