MozillaZine

Seamonkey for Mac OS: UI. How does it get done?

Discussion of general topics about Seamonkey
scrutinizer1
 
Posts: 2
Joined: September 6th, 2017, 2:01 pm

Post Posted September 6th, 2017, 5:05 pm

Hello,
A question that recently bugs me has to do with the appearance of SM for Mac platform. It's so simple but nevertheless hard to get an ultimate answer to deriving from my attempts to find it undertaking a rather intensive search on the Web.
A short intro. Here you see a host of screenshots taken to represent UI of several discontinued browsers for Mac as well as older version of some of them. I chose them not only because of my obsession with older Jobs'ian skeuomorphism but because they were conceived as native pieces of software to inject them a familiar OS X look and feel. Besides, since I'm still on Lion OS I could successfully install and run them (regardless of the fact that due to not complying with modern standards they stand not so well against many of the social networks and online services such as Google suite). The common trait is that such dropped and dormant examples as Camino and OmniWeb were being developed using Cocoa API. As a consequence of the tight integration with the system they use its features in full integrity seamlessly enough which seem a marvel to me, proving that a 3rd party app could totally embrace OS X design elements to its own advantage, interpreting them in new ways, but still look as being developed at Apple. These features are Keychain Access, Spell-Check, out-of-the-box talk with built-in apps (Mail, Preview), not mention embedding Growl frameworks (Camino and Opera 12). Opera 12 - the last iteration on top of Presto - keeps aloof since it introduces its own concepts, but still follows the same Cocoa-driven trend even more than the later versions which feel more cross-platform (Win and Mac versions are almost identical).
I took screenshots showcasing key UI elements representing the essence of each app: the main window, "About" window, Preferences Window. You could see that those belonging to OmniWeb and Camino have a separate Cocoa window for each of the sections. Opera and Seamonkey, on the other hand, lack this consistency: their Firefox-styled "About" sections are URLs (about:,) as are their add-on manager windows (add-on:) while preference windows are along the lines of Cocoa. Opera 12 however adopted mono-chromatic style of its toolbar and sidebar icons evident in Safari, retaining OS X inspired coloured ones for folders and virtual folders and so did Seamonkey albeit colouring toolbar icons just like OmniWeb and Camino. Shapes of SM's toolbar icons persist whatever platform it's being developed for.

Safari 5, Camino and OmniWeb (Preferences and About)

Image Image Image

Opera 12.16 (Preferences, "About" and Speed Dial)

Image Image Image



Seamonkey 2.46 (the main window, the pref window and About)

Image Image


Seamonkey 2.46 (Add-on manager window and Customize toolbar pane)

Image Image

Safari 5, Camino and OmniWeb (Customize toolbar pane)

Image Image Image




When you want to customize SM's toolbar it gives you only tiny spectrum of options comparing to the rest of the group. As if it wouldn't be enough, the options SM's deploys at your hands are strange and redundant: these are "Go" button (while you can use "Enter"), SM's community icon (useless shortcut), "Stop loading" and some other buttons resembling Cocoa standard tool set. I was surprised discovering that you can't simply remove a tool by drag-n-drop in any direction across your screen but only within the customizable tools pane which is not at all intuitive. I could go on and on but would like to mention the absence of Auto correction and Automatic Language detection (you have to choose the language you want the grammar would be checked of manually).
One thing that hit me was that both Opera's and Seamonkey's pref windows are attached to the main window in that you can't move them independently from the main window. Besides, I noticed that once the pref window of the both apps is opened the app's menubar items are not the same which is unusual for the Mac app.

Camino developers on their defunct site claimed that unlike any Cocoa app Firefox and its variations fake OS X appearance providing limited functional support in terms of Cocoa API appliance. I learned that FF used XUL, now GTK+ as its interface API so in terms of look SM for Mac stands between Cocoa and non-Cocoa. Its folder icons, window bezel tints tend to resemble that of the typical OS X window but then it has some features that are alien to the platform. My questions would be:

1.How does SM "fake" OS X look?
2.Does it utilize some system resources, frameworks?
3.Can it be called partially Cocoa app on Mac?
4.Can its developers give it more consistent UI and functionality to fit in with OS X UX more?
Last edited by scrutinizer1 on September 11th, 2017, 4:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

isaacschemm
 
Posts: 212
Joined: January 20th, 2015, 12:29 pm

Post Posted September 7th, 2017, 8:33 am

Firefox and SeaMonkey both use XUL for their user interfaces. I believe the actual rending of the XUL widgets is handled by GTK+ on most Unix systems, and by Cocoa on OS X. So there's that extra layer there - it's not actually using Cocoa directly - which is why the elements look mostly correct but also a bit awkward.

Firefox also has special styles for when it's running on OS X, and SeaMonkey doesn't (at least for the most part.)

Also keep in mind that the SeaMonkey UI is a direct descendant of the old Mozilla Suite. Most of these UI decisions were made during the development of Netscape 6, which came out in 2000 - before OS X did.

scrutinizer1
 
Posts: 2
Joined: September 6th, 2017, 2:01 pm

Post Posted September 7th, 2017, 1:27 pm

So do I understand correctly that for any Unix-like system save OS X the UI rendering architecture would be XUL on top of GTK+, and on OS X it would be XUL on top of Cocoa? So even if the extra layer it somehow fall back upon Cocoa Environment?

isaacschemm
 
Posts: 212
Joined: January 20th, 2015, 12:29 pm

Post Posted September 8th, 2017, 6:01 am

scrutinizer1 wrote:So do I understand correctly that for any Unix-like system save OS X the UI rendering architecture would be XUL on top of GTK+, and on OS X it would be XUL on top of Cocoa? So even if the extra layer it somehow fall back upon Cocoa Environment?

Yeah, I think that's how it works. (Of course, you could recompile it to use GTK+ and X11 on OS X, but I'm not sure why you'd want to.)

Return to SeaMonkey General


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests