The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by August "Gus" Mueller
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November 3, 2004
(This post is from my old, old, super old site. My views have changed over the years, hopefully my writing has improved, and there is now more than a handful of folks reading my site. Enjoy.)

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

So I launched NewsFire the other day to check out some of it's custom widgets again. It's a very pretty application, it's even a bit inspiring to this cocoa developer. It's not nearly as useful as NetNewsWire, but it is fun to use.

But anyway, I wasn't launching it to use it. I was launching it to marvel at all the custom NSViews in the main pane, gawking at the way it's NSTableView changes colors when your mouse goes over a news item. Wowing at the nice buttons and the the subtle things like when you click on the site name in the header, it darkens just a little bit to show that it's pressed. Very nice. That's alot of work, that's alot of custom code.

Then it hit me as I contemplated opening up it's nib files to see if I could peek into it a little bit. I realized that I wasn't seeing what I thought I was seeing.

Holy Shit That's WebKit !

I was no longer marveling at NewsFire, I now stood in awe at the layout engine at the heart of Apple's Safari. Then my head started spinning at the possibilities that lay there.

And just to see if I could do it... I broke open my trusty html editor, stole some graphic bits from here, layed out an interface like a good little xhtml developer should, and used my css 'position: fixed;' and 'background: url(widget.png) repeat-x;' liberally.

tada!. Gus's cheap interface knockoff of NewsFire. (Obviously this is going to look best in Safari).

NewsFire is an interesting blend of a Desktop App + html interface. Very cool. And I bet Cocoa/WebKit integration is going to be getting even better in the future so we'll see even more integration. If we could just figure out how to keep the text from being selected and the images being dragged around, everything would be close to perfect for doing fun interfaces. Or at least a whole lot easier to do.

-- posted 1:18 pm