I'm well aware that what I'm about to suggest will horrify some people,
so let me add a disclaimer first: all I'm asking for is for the
configuration to be flexible enough to allow ME to configure my
interface this way. And then provide defaults that are sufficiently far
from this for it to be usable for the more conventially minded majority.
What I would like is a window with chrome something like I described in
my previous post (in the aurora thread), which is basically, one line
with all the basic navigation tools and *nothing* else:
Then, I'd like to see that interface *wherever* I am in netscape - yes,
including mail and news. Including composer. I think that mail messages
and folders do have urls already in netscape, though they're rarely
seen... we'd need a new one for the message centre, but you could use
mailto: urls for message compositions.
Then I'd like to see every link I ever click on, open in the *same*
window (including mailto: and news: ), except that I personally could,
by rightclicking on a link, choose to put it in a new window. Back and
forward would return me to the state I was in in without reloading
anything from any server (except in extreme cases).
Then, what appears inside the window would be configurable both by url
scheme (mailto: makes it the message composition window, news: makes it
a newsgroup viewer a la the existing one (with the preview bit closed))
and by content-type. Some viewers would also allow an editing mode,
which would perhaps subtly alter the behaviour (clicking on a link in
html edit mode wouldn't follow it for example) and would add extra
toolbars and things. Toolbars would also be addable by the component
which is handling your view.
Now here's a radical bit: make all the bits seperate, and replaceable by
the user. Give a clearly defined line between what can be altered by the
user globally (the back and forward bit of the chrome), what can be
altered by the "plug in" bit (like toolbars and things) and what can be
altered by the author of a site (the content pane, plus maybe a sitemap
This provides advantages like reducing bloat (the only bit that needs to
be in memory, ever, is the outermost chrome and the handler for whatever
url you're at), complete user configurability while still giving the
author freedom in a well-defined box, consistency within the ui, and so
on and so on. In X, plugins wouldn't even need to be written as such
because the windows of other apps could be swallowed into the 'zilla
pane. On other platforms, running external apps would be the exception
to the "never open another window without me explicitly choosing it"
Before anyone cries "IE", no, it's not, it's the good idea that someone
deep in MS had about IE and then got twisted so much that it has few of
the advantages that the idea provides... in particular, I've never heard
ANYONE use the phrase "reducing bloat" in conjunction with IE ;)
Don't you think we can do better?
Stuart (off to bed like I should have been hours ago).