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February 24, 2001

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Article Index

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Introduction

Composer is Cross-Platform

Skin, Customize, or Build Your Own Mozilla-Based Composer

Composer Makes Mozilla a Browser-Suite

Composer Features

Composing Standards-Compliant Web Pages

Importing Text-Based Files

Bugs, Annoyances, & Improvements

Conclusion

Resources & Links

Composer: The Netscape & Mozilla Graphical HTML Editor & Word Processor

Mike Angelo -- 24 February 2001(c)

Composer is the free, open source, HTML editor and Web authoring module of the Netscape 6 and Mozilla browser-suites. It helps you to create and to edit Web page, e-mail, and text-content-oriented documents easily.

The Composer desktop looks and feels much as a graphical word-processor desktop looks and feels. However, behind the scenes, Composer is formatting your Web page document in HTML for publication on the World Wide Web, for e-mail, or as an attribute-rich, text-content-oriented document -- or as plain text if you like.

Composer is an easy-to-use, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), graphical user interface (GUI), HTML editor. You also can view, write and edit HTML source code with Composer.

Today we take a quick, first look at Composer.

Composer is Cross-Platform

Composer is built on top of the multi-platform, Mozilla applications programming framework. That makes Composer a cross-platform application that will run on any operating system or platform upon which Mozilla can run.

The Netscape browser-suite is based on the Mozilla browser-suite and Composer is part of the Mozilla browser-suite. Therefore you can use Composer on any platform upon which Netscape 6 will run too.

Binary builds of the current Mozilla Milestone release, Mozilla 0.8, are available for the Linux, Macintosh, Windows, and several UNIX variants platforms. For more information about Mozilla 0.8 and download links please see The Lizard Marches On: Mozilla Milestone 0.8 Browser-Suite Released. (Link in the Resources section on page 3.)

Netscape 6 is available for the Linux, Macintosh, and Windows platforms. For more information about Netscape 6 and download links please see Netscape 6.01 Browser-Suite Released, and How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6.0 -- Safely!. (Links in the Resources section on page 3.)

Composer has the same look and feel across all platforms upon which it runs. That's a nice plus for those of you who use several different operating systems and seek some look and feel consistency across platforms for the programs that you use. (Please see Figure 1. All the Mozilla and Netscape 6 screen shots in this article show the Classic theme.)

Figure 1. One of these Composer screen shots is from Linux. The other is from Windows 98 SE. Notice how similar they look. Can you tell which is the Composer in Windows screen shot? Read on for the answer.

For more information about achieving look and feel consistency across the Linux and Windows platforms, please see Linux for Microsoft Windows Users: #2 - Getting Started with The Linux MS Windows-Like Desktop (Link in the Resources section on page 3.)

Another free graphical word processing and HTML authoring program that looks and feels the same across platforms is Sun's StarOffice. It runs on the Linux, Solaris, and Windows platforms. StarOffice is a complete office suite, which also includes spreadsheet, database, presentation, graphics, and scheduling modules. MozillaQuest will take a look at StarOffice in an upcoming article. (Product link in the Resources section on page 3.)

Skin, Customize, or Build Your Own Mozilla-Based Composer

If you are a software developer, please keep in mind that Composer is built on top of the open source, Mozilla, applications programming framework. So, you easily can build your own or customized HTML editor or word processor on top of Composer much the same way you easily can build your own or customized Web browser on top of the Mozilla Web browser.

Moreover, just as is the Mozilla browser, Composer is skinable. So, you can create your own, custom or personal Composer themes. Please see MozillaQuest the Series: Building Your Own Mozilla-Based Web Browser and The Many Faces of Mozilla -- A Preview Look at the Mozilla Application Programming Framework for more information about building your own or customized HTML editor or word processor on top of Composer -- or just creating your own Composer skins or themes. (Links in the Resources section on page 3.)


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