[Project_owners] MS Office and Seamonkey

John Dobbins john at brandxcomputers.com
Sun Sep 14 11:43:52 EDT 2003

Stephen Clavering wrote:

> John Dobbins wrote:
>> MS Office, not exactly one of the more popular suites among open 
>> source programmers, but it does have some lessons.
>> It wasn't too long ago that Word Perfect and Lotus each dominated a 
>> part of the market that Office dominates now. A Pair of stand alone 
>> aps. A lot of people considered them to be better than thier 
>> equlavants from Microsoft, but MS Office had one big advantage, it is 
>> an integrated package that was better than just the sum of it's parts.
> Office is not integrated to anything like the extent that Seamonkey 
> is.  For example:
> - Apps do not have a Window menu listing windows from the other apps.
> - Each app has its own Options window, rather than the all-in-one-mess 
> that seamonkey has
> - There are no equivalents to such ridiculous things as New > Address 
> Book Card being shown in *Navigator*
> - Exit does not exit all the seperate office apps.  It will exit all 
> the seemingly seperate seamonkey components.
> In fact, the only integration in MS Office that I can see is things 
> like inline editing of an excel spreadsheet embedded in a Word 
> document.  And the sum total of all UI used by that is double clicking 
> on the embedded object.  And there's the office clipboard of course, 
> though that grabs anything stuff you copy to the clipboard from *any* 
> app, not just Office ones, so is more of a system utility.
> And that list can double as my reasons for wanting to use 
> Firebird+Thunderbird rather than Seamonkey.  As well as:
> -  the entire Navigator Tools menu, the only two items on which I used 
> more than about 2 times ever -- DOM Inspector and JS Console -- are 
> buried on a submenu!
> -  an actually useful bookmarks toolbar where you can middle click 
> things, and where the context menu actually works for submenus as well 
> as jsut on the toolbar itself.  (and other not immediately obvious 
> things like this).
> -  not having to add stuff to userChrome.css to kill the awful toolbar 
> grippies.  (In firebird should you want to quickly turn off a toolbar 
> you would simply righ click on it and untick it in the context menu, 
> in recent nightlies at least.)
> -  extension developement is a lot easier when not hunting through 200 
> overlay files, many of them dynamic, to find a specific part of the UI 
> I want to change.
> -  the horribly ugly 16 colour theme in seamonkey, and the lack of 
> decent alternatives.  i'm not a great fan of the friebird default 
> either, but it's better.   (the thunderbird theme is very nice imo)
Most of your complaints could be addressed by making using the Firebird 
UI the browser in Seamonkey, something I wouldn't have a problem with.

My problem is having to load all the base mozilla files two, three, 
four, times depending on how many Mozilla based aps I happen to be 
running at the same time. That is an absurd waste of system resources. 
It's allways been a problem that I have to load all of Mozilla to run an 
application based on Mozilla even if I wasn't using the Browser etc at 
the time, and this sererate applications crap is only making a bad 
situation worse.

The Mozilla Platform files (whatever they will be named) should load at 
system startup or the first time a Mozilla based ap is called. Then the 
Mozilla based ap sould load it's specfic files when that ap is called, 
be it one of the birds, Seamonkey, or a Mozdev project.

The Platform files should be availbe as a seperate download so they can 
be bundled with a Mozilla platform application that has nothing to do 
with the birds so that if one us wrote an application it could be 
bundled with the base platform files and run on systems that have never 
had Seamonkey or a bird installed on them.

There is a reason there aren't more themes availble for Seamonkey, they 
have a lifespan of about 6 months max before they have to be rewritten, 
and there is no reason to expect that this won't also be true for 
Firebird themes. People get tired of rewritting the same theme over and 
over, so they get abbandoned and the theme author moves on to other 
things. Right now the structure of themes in Firebird is a hack to get 
things going, and if that mess is ever straightened out it will break 
everything. If there are any plans to straighten it out no one has 
bothered to inform the community, and if Mozilla acts in thier typical 
fashion, then one day there will be a surprise, and all the themes will 
cease working on a nightly build, and will be worthless for the next 

John Dobbins

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