The Register (in its usual somewhat snarky style) has some good news about developments in Firefox

[Project Quantum] is not a new web browser. Quantum is Mozilla’s project to build the next-generation web engine for Firefox users, building on the Gecko engine as a solid foundation. Quantum will leverage the fearless concurrency of Rust and high-performance components of Servo to bring more parallelization and GPU offloading to Firefox.

The browser keeps evolving to become a more comprehensive platform, operating system.

WebAssembly is a new proposed standard bytecode that the major browser-makers are committing to support. It will interop with javascript (I believe) and HTML5 APIs, and is intended as a compile-target for other languages.

More information here.

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My Quora question :

I mean, I know why. It’s a security thing.

But why couldn’t a browser have an API for scripts to read / write the file system and a security feature where the web-app has to ask and be given permission by the user before it runs? (Just as Android apps. have to tell you what permissions they need before you install them.) Couldn’t the browsers successfully police this?

Surely if the browser manufacturers were to offer this capability, they’d more or less kill native Windows / Macintosh application development overnight and become the default platform for desktop computers. (So maybe Microsoft don’t have the incentive, but Google and Firefox do.)

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I’m a couple of days into LinkBlogging using Fargo, (at Yelling At Strangers From The Sky) and I have to say, I’m getting into the swing and it’s great.

If you keep the outline open in a tab, it’s about as fast and convenient to post to Fargo as posting a link to Plus or Twitter. (Which is where traditional blogs like WordPress / Blogger often fall short). In fact, G+ is now getting bloated that it can take 10 seconds just to open the “paste a new message” box. It’s a lot faster than that.

It would be nice if it could automatically include a picture or chunk of text from the original page the way FB / G+ do, that’s turned out to be a compelling experience for me, but it’s a nice not must-have.

A question, is there any kind of API for the outline inside the page which a bookmarklet could engage with? (Is that even possible given the browser security model?)

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I must confess, I’m very intrigued by Elm-Lang.

For me there are four virtues :

1) FRP. All the attempts I’ve seen to graft FRP onto existing languages have looked clunky to me – ahem … Trellis? – Requiring the explicit definition of special types of fields. This is the kind of thing that I think needs a new language feature, not a new library.

Elm-lang’s “lift” looks a much cleaner way of going about it.

2) It’s in the browser. That’s where code has to run.

3) I like the way that it reunifies the document / graphics structure back into the same file. The problem is not so much that style and content shouldn’t be separated. It’s that there are more serious divisions of modularity to respect and forcing HTML and JS into different trees of the filing system has typically pushed highly interdependent data-structure and logic too far apart. I like the ability to bring them back together for small programs.

4) Perhaps it’s a way to get familiar with and more into Haskell. Obviously it’s not full Haskell. But it seems like a way to get more into that mind-set while doing some practical work.

Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I’d better go and try something …  🙂

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Interesting this new surge of dynamic IDEs. First there was Brett Victor’s awesome demo. Now there’s LightTable (promoted on KickStarter, discussed on Quora)

Sporadic thoughts.

Is this implemented in the browser? (Bespin? CodeMirror)? Perhaps we’re seeing this explosion of innovation as IDE authors move to the cloud.

A Kickstarter project? That’s cool. But motivated by early investors getting licenses? Does it also mean that this next wave of software innovation will be abandoning Open Source as a model?

Elements of Jonathan Edwards’s Subtext in the tree of updates. Of course, he’s paying attention.

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Just a note. I am really, really liking CoffeeScript now.

It’s reminding me both of freedom that Python gave me when I first turned to it after Java. And bit of my experience with Erlang. ( If only it had Erlang’s Actor model and pattern matching arguments … )

The other good effect of this, CoffeeScript is making me more comfortable with investing my time writing serious logic on the browser-side. Which is where it should be, given the requirements of modern applications and that the browser is becoming the default GUI. 

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