Web with a View

On your desktop computer, a web browser is a large, complicated, memory-gobbling program with all sorts of features like bookmarks, plug-ins, Flash animations, tabs, scroll bars, printing, and so forth.

When I was working on the Eclipse project and someone suggested replacing some common text views with embedded web browsers, I thought they were crazy. Wouldn’t it make more sense, I argued, to simply enhance the text viewer to do italics or tables or whatever it was that was missing?

It turns out they weren’t crazy because

  • A web browser can be (relatively) lean and mean if you strip out everything but the basic rendering engine.

  • If you enhance a text view to add more and more things that a browser engine can do, you end up with ...

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