Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

It’s always interesting to see Web Standards used in a setting outside the browser. Did you know, for instance, that the chat client Adium can be skinned using CSS?

JavaScript is showing up in more and more desktop apps. Apple’s Dashboard and Yahoo’s widgets (formerly Konfabulator) are the obvious examples. But don’t forget that JavaScript can also be used to script PDFs.

DOM Scripting Task Force member Chris Heilmann has been getting to grips with a new use for JavaScript outside the web browser. Read all about scripting a chat client using JavaScript over on his blog. As he points out, it’s the simplicity of Web Standards that make them so useful and versatile:

vendors of larger software packages have recognized this low learning curve as an opportunity and started supporting HTML, CSS and JavaScript as means of improving or adding own components to their products.

So remember, those skills you’re learning for today’s web browsers might come in handy for tomorrow’s desktop apps.

Your Replies

#1 On June 23rd, 2006 10:56 am Brady J. Frey replied:

Javascript in PDF’s has been extremely useful — but much more in design for me has been XML in InDesign. We’ve been able to synch customers online stores with their print layout catalogs just by storing the information in an xml file and, when we do an adjustment online, telling indesign to refresh it’s link; magically two worlds update together and save my clients money, time, and stress.

#2 On June 23rd, 2006 11:25 am Nathan Smith replied:

I’ve been excited about the implications of browser to desktop cross-over for awhile now – ever since I realized the old game Age of Mythology used XML style tags for its interface. It would be awesome if a decade from now, we’d see CSS and JavaScript as requirements for designing game interfaces.

#3 On June 23rd, 2006 2:30 pm devblack replied:


#4 On June 23rd, 2006 2:46 pm Christopher Forsythe replied:

Colloquy uses xslt based themes, with CSS:

Growl uses CSS themes:

Skype uses Adium themes.

Kopete uses Adium themes.

#5 On June 23rd, 2006 6:16 pm Gijs Kruitbosch replied:

Jeremy (hi!), I can’t access the URL (so I’m left wondering whether it’s actually about ChatZilla), but I might add that ChatZilla can be styled using CSS and that you can use a custom HTML output window for it as well, and that you can script it with JavaScript. The client itself is also fully written in JS, CSS, XUL and HTML. So yeah, web standards are going places (and have been for some time), and that’s definitely a good thing!

#6 On June 23rd, 2006 9:46 pm kim replied:

I think java is great for what it is but there are alot better scripts out there xhtml being one of them. But I think the saying learn it now fo rit will be here later is always true for the internet technologes there will one day b a web 3.0 and it will have all teh great features I am sure we will learn from 2.0

#7 On June 24th, 2006 9:36 pm mikael bergkvist replied:

Javascript is an interesting tool for creating advanced server applications as well, as we have shown here,


#8 On June 25th, 2006 9:32 am Steve Tucker replied:

The potental capablities made available by Javascript are very exciting, and its current usage beyond the browser could be the first step though a whole new gate for web developers. Fingeres crossed.

#9 On June 25th, 2006 10:16 am Stephen Clay replied:

No mention of Windows’ “HTML Applications”, allowing you to build desktop apps with HTML, CSS and JScript way back in 1999? ;) that and writing ASP in JScript. Just sayin’.

#10 On June 25th, 2006 2:16 pm Chris Heilmann replied:

Sorry, the server is down at the moment. I am trying to reach the admins…

#11 On June 25th, 2006 2:28 pm Chris Heilmann replied:

I created a mirror on my yahoo 360 page:–?cq=1

#12 On June 27th, 2006 11:49 pm Alexey Feldgendler replied:

Windows has been using JavaScript in its Windows Scripting Host for years.

#13 On July 12th, 2006 4:12 am Jerome replied:

Using the Mozilla Platform and Javascript you can develop an application that run on desktop, as a Firefox Extension and as a desktop application without changing the code.
Check out Mozilla Amazon Browser
It is written in Javascript, use CSS for the layout and DOM for the UI.
Using XULRunner the same application could be distributed like a .exe

#14 On July 17th, 2006 8:43 pm Steve Kalvi replied:

Having worked with JSF and Java Web Start, I think that Web Start shows some enormous potential. Improvements in the JVM make it a real long term alternative to AJAX. Web Start circumvents the browser compatability issues that are so inherent in javascript. Although there are issues with Web Start for now, I do see it being a real contender. Although installing the virtual machine still is an issue, this will not be a problem as high speed internet access becomes more prevalent.

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