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   RE: [xml-dev] Web Design Principles (was Re: [xml-dev] GeneralityofHTTP)

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From: Paul Prescod [mailto:paul@prescod.net]

>> If you just want the computers to decide, you leave it
>> to SGML.  If you want humans in the loop, XML does that.

>That's an oversimplification on so many levels that I don't have time to
>go into it.

So are the Web Design principles.
>> You have to decide where the liberal features are to be
>> implemented.  The web architecture is not the most powerful
>> distributed computing system ever devised.  It is in many
>> ways, weak and a throwback to the days when people were
>> cheap and computers were expensive.  

>It is easy to throw stones in the abstract. I could just as easily say
>Len Bullard is a throwback to the days when people were cheap anc
>computers were expensive. But it wouldn't be meaningful.

He is.  When he started, a CPU with 8mb of RAM was a marvel and as 
big as the average office desk (IBM 1130 - 1970).  He is only as 
meaningful as I need him to be.

>We are technologists. Point to the better technology and describe how it
>is better. Be concrete. Show how it could have or did scale as well or
>better than the Web.

We'd be fighting over definitions again and I am not a technologist.   
Can you prove in the concrete that a better system can't be built? 
If you can, then see my last statement: the mission is over.

The Internet is still the Internet despite all the applications 
sitting on top of TCP/IP.  OSI might have been better; it was a better 
architecture or so it was claimed, but it wasn't free and once the 
WWW landslide built over free software and liberated DoD technology 
was underway, no arguments to the contrary were being entertained 
as long as that bubble of users and investment was expanding. 

As of last week, the number of .com name registration renewals 
began to decline.  Amazon.com made a profit of 1 cent a share. 
AOL is bidding for Red Hat but why does a media company need a 
software services company?  Everyone is rethinking things in 
the face of competitive pressures.  That is the world before 
and after the web bubble.  Get used to it.   We are too much like 
a group of circa 1969 fifteen year old kids believing the revolution is 
won and no one has to prove anything again.  

What is happening today is that people are looking at the basics 
of Internet systems and inquiring where possible improvements can 
be made.  Two raised here are HTTP ubiquity vs other protocols, 
and the use of flags of some kind to indicate the semantics suggested 
for processing an XML instance.

> Insofar as we can say "the web" is real, we have to
> also say, "it is not all there is on the Internet and
> you may want to choose a different set of components
> to use in your implementation".  Then it becomes a lot
> harder than HTML.  Address unification is done on the
> Internet not by URIs but by the DNS.  The map above
> that which HTTP negotiates is just component-based
> logic.  Nothing real or required, but extremely
> convenient.

>Component based logic? Please explain. 

Logic implemented in an executable or interpretatble script. 
HTTP is a convenient layer over DNS.  I was navigating with 
telnet before a web browser was a gleam in DARPA's eye.  It 
wasn't as easy and it definitely wasn't well coordinated or 
as fixed on a single display system.

>Just "convenient"? Show me how a system like the Web could work without
>URIs. One domain name per document? How do you decide what protocol to
>use to retrieve it?

A "system like the web".  What is the web?

>> If addresss unification via URIs is all there is to
>> the web, 

>On a couple of occasions I've emphasized that URIs are not "all there is
>to the Web" but rather are its defining and central characteristic. If
>you aren't intersted in what I have to say then why are we talking?

I apologize.  I thought you were the one emphasizing URIness as the 
unique characteristic of webness.  What is the web?  If we say it 
is HTML and URIs, we leave out a lot of technology and technologists. 
Even if we toss in XML, we leave out non-URI-based XML applications. 
If we assume URIs are of necessity core to XML, we leave out a lot 
of interesting applications.   Are we choosing a technology so some 
people's jobs can be simple, or simplifying a history so it will be believed?

Parts and assemblies:  it's in the way that you use it.



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