Sorry, off topic

Didier PH Martin martind at
Sun Jan 23 16:09:27 GMT 2000

Hi Joshua,

Joshua said:
I've seen a couple references on this list to signs that AOL is going to
switch to mozilla (instead of IE).  Even if this is just a rumor, I'd
appreciate a link to the source of this info...

Didier replies:
me too I would be interested to see that info.

But here are some facts that may, I say may, lead us to some inferences on
how hard it could be for AOL to do the switch. Within the actual Mozilla
project there is a subProject that wraps the browser components with a DCOM
interface. This interface does not have the same class identifier as the
Microsoft Browser component but has exactly, I said exactly, the same
interface definition. Hence, if an application is actually using the
Microsoft component, then with just a minor modification of the class
identifier, this application can switch from the Microsoft component to the
Mozilla component. This switch of component do not require any other code
modification since the interfaces are strictly identical.

So, we can say that, as a possibility, because the AOL application embeds
the Microsoft browser component, AOL can switch to the Mozilla component
without any added costs since this latter has the same interfaces as the
Microsoft component. This is also valid for any other application that
embeds the Microsoft component.

The impact for any information or Web application publisher is that if AOL
embeds the Mozilla component, then this component will be installed on any
AOL customer having a Windows machine. Thus, we will have on this machine,
two components having the same interfaces but a different class identifier.
One of these components is installed with the operating system. In fact,
this is the case for any windows machine since Win95 Rel2. So, even if a big
corporation chooses not to use the Microsoft browser as corporate browser,
the Microsoft browser component is probably already installed on this
machine if this machine is having a Win95 Rel2 and up (Win98, WinNT 4).

So, if Netscape which is now owned by AOL chooses to release a Mozilla based
browser. This latter may include also the Mozilla component having the same
interface than the Microsoft component. This implies that if both AOL app
and the Netscape browser both include the Mozilla COM component, then any of
these machine will have a Mozilla component that can be used by any other
application. It implies that an application wanting to use a browser
component on a windows platform will have just to probe for
a) the Mozilla component
b) the Microsoft component
Choose one. The application has no code difference to work with one or the

This is a good example of the power of using interfaces that are independent
of any implementation or language. Bottom line, on the window platform we
will have the choice between two components having the same interface but a
different implementation. The good news, both will be able to process XML.
The good news for developers, they'll have the choice between two
implementation without prohibitive costs. Will they use this opportunity?
we'll see.

Didier PH Martin
Email: martind at
Conferences: Web New York (
Book to come soon: XML Pro published by Wrox Press

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