One of the opportunities I had at MozCamp was to get caught up on the stuff happening in Thunderbird & Calendar. They have a goldmine of great data, functionality and UX possibilities. During some of the sessions and a small ad-hoc discussion, the use of HTML in XUL to create compelling, interesting and useful user interfaces came up. Thunderbird 3 will be using HTML to enhance to appearance and functionality of message display. Calendar might be using HTML to do the same for displaying tasks, IIRC. The examples I saw looked great.
I got the feeling that the designers and developers thought that using so much HTML in XUL was, in some way, anti-XUL. NO WAY! It’s my opinion that using HTML in this way – enhancing a user interface – shows the power of XUL. The ability to seamlessly mix different markup languages is quite impressive. How many other UI markup languages can do that?
The use of HTML, SVG and specifically,
<canvas> in XUL is not new. You’ll find many examples of add-ons and applications that go beyond XUL to create elements of the UI. XUL itself uses HTML as a foundation for implementing widgets.