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   Re: [xml-dev] Generality of HTTP

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On Thursday 24 January 2002 09:07 am, Paul Prescod wrote:
> > If this were true, the WWW would not exist.  For that matter, AC
> > electricity wouldn't be popular either.... and you'd have a DC
> > powerplant in your back yard.
> I have no idea what you are talking about. The Web was designed for
> the mainstream of its proposed user base.

It was designed for a group of physicists. At the time HTTP and HTML 
were created, gopher, FTP, ASCII, RTF, MIME richtext and SGML were the 
"mainstream". The WWW, when it was invented, was neither designed 
*for* the mainstream, nor did it *use* the mainstream.

> And I'm sure the same is true for AC power. What is the alternative?

At the time AC was invented, DC had all the money and the entire use 

> To micro-optimize in advance for every conceivable use case?
>To design for the hardest
> problems no matter what the cost in usability or popularity?

No. Your (and other's) assertion is that you should design for the 
mainstream, and that we should use the "mainstream" technologies that 
exist. I agree that we should design for the general case, but I 
vehemently disagree with the assertion as applied to "mainstream" 
technologies. The inability to stray from the mainstream is just a 
form of stagnation. Sooner or later all technology becomes obsolete... 
and shorsighted designs have a shorter lifespan.

> Live DOM nodelists are a problem for all sorts of mainstream users.
> Let's say one design mistake was made in the name of aiming for the
> common case. I could cite a billion cases of problems caused doing
> otherwise, but I'll just mention xanada.

Xanadu. We have live NodeLists *because* of the mainstream. The 
rationale, despite vehement opposition was "we have an installed 
base".  I've heard that same argument time and again since 1994, and I 
tell you, almost every time that rationale won, is cost in the long 


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