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Server Side Decompiler


mdgrech
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So Smashing Magazine today put forward their April fools joke regarding IE 8.1 code named Eagle Eye. In their over the top post they listed the new IE 8.1 would be capable of decompiling server side code. Just being curious but would this ever be possible? It seems like it would create a major security loop hole, but also would provider thousands of examples for newbs to server side coding to work with. After all wouldn't it be nice if you could see the server side stuff going on behind the scenes just like you can easily see the Front End stuff (xHTML, CSS, etc.).Thoughts...?

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I think he means a way to see the PHP code using a HTTP client... but that is not possible. If you inspect the raw responses from a server running PHP you will see they are exactly the same as a static HTML document, except for a few extra headers. It is like the question to the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything - my document may read <html>42</html>, but what code was used to generate it? You just can't tell :)

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Since the server doesn't actually send the source code to the client before running it, it's virtually impossible to make a browser that "decompiles" it.The only way would be to hack the server and download the actual file.

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BTW, if you look at the article, you'll notice this was an april fools joke.I wondered where you got the impression that this would be possible at all, and then a search for IE8.1 gave that article as a result. If it wasn't the server side thingy, I could have been fooled. I mean that while unlikely, the rest of the stuff is technically possible - Firefox extensions use XUL, and if IE was to support that, it could host a lot (though not all) of Firefox's extensions; Improved security and JS performance is always the case; Acid3 score will likely improve with any new IE release; Firefox and WebKit are open source engines, so assuming MS wanted and had the license all right, they could indeed try to integrate them into the dev tools; Opera already has "Skins for web sites", though technically, those are user stylesheets.

Edited by boen_robot
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Is the Trident engine open source (or at least available to developers)?I seem to remember the last non-Firefox-copy version of Netscape had the option of either using Gecko or Trident...

Edited by Synook
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Is the Trident engine open source (or at least available to developers)?I seem to remember the last non-Firefox-copy version of Netscape had the option of either using Gecko or Trident...
No. Trident is not open sourced. However, MS have a Windows API that allows you to call the rendering engine within another application. IE based browsers like Avant, IEPro, Netscape (and let us not forget NotJustBrowsing :) ) are built on this principle. Some Windows components also embed the IE engine which is why MS is so hesitant in allowing its complete removal. Windows 7 adds a remove option, but that really removes the IE shell, not the engine. If an application wants to use IE within it, it can still do so. Edited by boen_robot
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The linked article has several clues that it's fake. This is a nice paragraph:

Internet Explorer has always been the leader of executing client-side scripts, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from continuing its thirst for excellence by including a completely new JavaScript engine called JSE, which stands for JavaScript Speedy Engine.
The graph right below that which shows IE6 and IE7 beating all other browsers (including Chrome and Opera) in Javascript performance is also telling. Check the title attribute on that graph also.There's also the quote from "one of the senior developers" on the IE team:
One of our primary goals is to give developers an easier way to test and debug how their sites and web apps work in different browsers, from within one browser. [Pauses to answer a call from his iPhone] We know in...
I also like this bit:
Loaded with exclusive features such as a new JavaScript engine, support of WebSlices and full web standards support (CSS 3)
MS publicly stated before IE8 came out that CSS2 was not a priority, and not to expect full support. But somehow they've managed to implement all of CSS3 for a minor upgrade.
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