Often I choose books to review because they seem relevant to the work I am doing at the time. Only recently I downloaded and compiled a copy of the Mozilla browser (from
www.mozilla.org). I was prompted by pure curiosity and by the desire for something more modern than my old Netscape 4.7. Some web sites strike me as being unfriendly to Netscape. Its 4.7 version, at least, doesn't contain some 'essential' new features. I'd hoped that Mozilla would ease this difficulty. I do use it, but only occasionally. The text based browser lynx still remains my favourite.
In other words, we write the code in XUL. Here is an hello.xul example:
! Sample XUL file
button label="hello xFly"
In Mozilla I can click on this code and it magically executes. Good fun this. The text has lots of such examples. XPFE is similar to DHTML, but has the ability to develop stand-alone applications.
The authors claim that the XPFE learning curve is a lot less steep than the alternatives; C, C++ and Java.
On the one hand this book will have a limited readership. This is new and possibly volatile technology, which may very well be a flop. W3C still haven't approved some of the standards. Mozilla is the open source face of Netscape, which has been taken over by AOL.
On the other hand, there is little else out there. (All I could find was; Netscape Mozilla Source Code Guide - William R. Stanek.) Geeks will pull the text and sources down from the O'Reilly web site (
www.oreilly.com/ catalog/mozilla). For anyone else: there's little choice. So if you're interested in Mozilla and XPFE, then this is probably a good buy. It is written and produced to the usual O'Reilly standards.
As a unix purist my suspicions of this technology (not the book) are that this is another addition to the bloatware movement. We're building castles in the air!