XML and HTML browsers

Boris Moore Boris.Moore at wanadoo.fr
Fri May 9 18:48:41 BST 1997

On Sunday, 4 May 1997, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:

>>I would like to re-use *existing* browser functionality rather
>>than continuing to extend the *generic* aspects of a browser in JUMBO.
>>I'm interested in exploring the general question of how a specialist
>>Java application interacts with a Java-enabled HTML browser.

I cannot reply to the Java and JavaScript aspects of your questions, but I am struck by how closely your description of hoped for interaction between Jumbo and the built-in HTML rendering of the browser relates to work we at RivCom have doing on developing a Netscape Plug-in for XML.

The big difference, (which is why this is not a direct response to your questions), is that we are working in C++, not Java, and we are at the moment catering to Java _disabled_ browsers, and are therefore denying ourselves the use of JavaScript! 

Our plug-in, of which a prototype was demonstrated at the WWW6 XML demo session, takes an XML input stream, together with style-sheet data, and processes it, to generate different HTML streams for different Netscape instances, or different frames within Netscape. The user can click on hotspots or buttons, which send messages to the plug-in. This can result, for example, in modified style settings for one or more instances of one or more element types. (This can include contextual search criteria for the targeted elements). The plug-in then sends the resulting modified HTML to Netscape for display.

I anticipate that the plug-in will at a later point be split into two components.  Firstly, the plug-in dll itself, which will handle only the interfacing with Netscape, including much of the kind of interaction that you describe, plus a bit more. And secondly a component which does all the rest, including processing the XML and style-sheet data.  

The second component could then potentially be replaced by other modules, which would interface with the plug-in dll's API in order to use the Netscape HTML rendering functionality, and receive appropriate callbacks from user input.  Such a module could be written in Java. (Though we have opted for C++, partly for performance reasons).

Boris Moore
Software Development
Boris.Moore at Wanadoo.fr


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