How real is the embedded web-page technique?

Dan Shafer dan at
Fri Oct 11 12:58:01 EDT 2002

At 9:26 PM -0400 10/10/02, Richard Gaskin wrote:
>Jim Biancolo wrote:
>>  I agree that an embedded rendering engine would be a killer feature.
>I'v gotten so accustmed to using the browser as a helper app that I think
>I'm missing something:
>What are the advantages of putting a browser inside on your app's window?
>What sort of apps are you folks making?

The interface in a Web browser sucks. It's too primitive and limited 
to real application development. But the content with which 
interaction takes place and the display of that content are done very 
well by the WEb browser's HTML rendering engine, so that's the wheel 
I don't want to reinvent.

By way of example, I have a client for whom I've built an interactive 
Web site. Using this site, my client (a therapist with a unique 
approach to problem-solving) has *his* clients fill out some basic 
HTML forms to store information in a series of dynamically generated 
HTML documents. Then later we retrieve information from those 
documents to print reports for my client and his staff.

Using client-side JavaScript, I could improve the UI on the Web app 
somewhat, but I'd still be constrained. For example, looping over a 
list of documents meeting some title criteria and displaying a 
clickable list of them is pretty hairy and gets me into some 
cross-browser issues I don't even like to think about.

But if I could develop a custom application for my client in which 
the user forms are displayed in Rev and uploaded and in which the UI 
is a hybrid of the stand-alone app (with, if you will, a control 
skin) and the nicely rendered HTML information in the main pane, I'd 
get the best of both worlds.

Now I *could* do this by developing a screen scraper or a remote 
database access approach. But that requires a rewrite of the program 
and essentially takes the browser out of the loop, something with 
which my client isn't comfortable. Sometimes he needs to be able to 
access data when he's not on his computer (where the app will 
presumably reside).

I see lots of opportunity out there to create apps like this that 
display rendered and interactive HTML in a pane with supplemental 
controls and an improved UI embodied in the desktop app. In fact, I 
think this represents an important direction for software development.

FWIW, I think the Mozilla engine would be absolutely the best choice 
for this project and it has the added advantages that it's free and 
open source.
Dan Shafer
Technology Visionary - Technology Assessment - Documentation
"Looking at technology from every angle"
831-392-1127 Voice - 831-401-2531 Fax

More information about the use-livecode mailing list