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2005Offsite/StandardizingXul

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An open brainstorming session on why XUL could/should be made interoperable and/or standardized.

Contents

Topics for discussion

Here are a few questions we may use to fuel the discussion (feel free to add some more):

Next-generation Web apps

Ajax' success is demonstrating the need for new-generation apps, but XUL is much more powerful (structured/accessible/semantically-rich) than AJAX.

Do we want to innovate in this space?

Competition

Macromedia offers FLEX. Microsoft is working on XAML, which is just around the corner. Both want to address this new-generation Web apps space. How are we going to respond? Do we want them to own this space?

Macromedia has already amazing market presence (FLEX runs on Flash). Their weakness is their business model, as they try to sell servers (you need specific FLEX servers to run FLEX apps).

Microsoft is a great platform company. They have developer mindshare, they have great development tools. They have huge marketing budgets. Eventually, they will also get nice marketshare, with IE7 being shipped with every new PC.

How are we going to compete? Do we want to?

How can we leverage our assets (namely being open-source)?

How can we leverage the standardization process in order to innovate?

In my opinion, being open-source is not enough to conquer the market. We need people to cooperate with us in order for XUL to succeed. Why would they cooperate on XUL? Because it's standardized, as it prevents customer lock-in.

General questions

  • What do we want to achieve with XUL?
  • Do we want XUL to be the next big thing?
  • Do we want to lock-in our customers or play nice?
  • Who, in the organization, could/should lead such an effort?


[Udell on XAML and FLEX ] sums it up quite nicely:

"We had a great thing going for about 10 years: the universal HTML/JavaScript client. And while it's still a great thing, there are good reasons to advance the state of the art. But can we please, please not lose the standardization that's served us so well?"