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   Re: the death of the black box

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  • From: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: Lisa Rein <lisarein@finetuning.com>
  • Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 19:40:56 -0600

Lisa Rein wrote:

> My point is exactly what Eliot always says -- A lot of this is *NOT*
> rocket science -- as many would have people believe.  If it's ooooh soo
> complicated, then scardie-cat developers will have to buy a black box to
> do everything for them.  If the world were to discover just how basic
> some of this stuff is -- they might never buy a black box again!
> And would that really be so bad?  :-)
> lisa

No.  After all these years, that would be grand.

I agree.  It is not rocket science, but neither 
is scoring music if you are a musician.  In this 
case, because the root of the web languages is 
HTML, there is an entry level and that is what 
makes the web go.

At this time, most companies who want to build an 
Intranet have to do it themselves.   To afford to 
own an Intranet, it has to be organic in its 
growth if not its design.  The design should be 
simple and it should be straightforward to apply 
by any discipline of the business.  Otherwise, 
the businessman has to dedicate personnel 
directly to the care and maintenance of multiple 
domains.  In effect, what one wants is for 
each business domain to add its rules to the 
framework in business time. As 
the business is practiced, the rules emerge 
inside the basic navigational structures 
the employees build to do their jobs.

NOTE:  As Linux proves, egoboo works.  
Still, the framework in which the 
structures emerge typically IS designed 
by specialists.  It is grown by the others.

As the browser is emerging as the dominant interface 
technology, that requires a lot of skill 
retooling, particularly in relational 
database designs.  For a simple example, 
look at the design of commercial relational 
systems that while excellent for developing 
QBE interfaces and involvements, do not take 
advantage of the full screen.  How should this 
be realized in a document interface where 
the relational DB is still the principal 

The complexity of this has to be subsumed 
in the tools, and I am reasonably convinced 
that this requires the black box somewhere 
in the toolkit.   SGML/XML markup technology 
can't get you out of the box.  It can make 
the box a fairer place, a more truthful place, 
and an easier place to do business, but it 
is still, for the average bear, slightly 
harder than they can do well without 
*good, low-cost* tools.  A significant contribution 
of the XML community to the markup community 
is that the second condition will finally be met.


Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

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