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   Re: [xml-dev] The Browser Wars are Dead! Long Live the Browser Wars!

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Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> Not because I dislike it, but because I don't always
> need it cluttering up the client.  Otherwise, an
> n-tier architecture makes a lot of sense over a
> two tier regardless of the web.  It always has.
> I have been carefully saying "HTML Browser". A
> client can be web-aware and XML-capable and
> never touch HTML.  So we agree.  A dedicated
> client may not be browsing; it may be processing
> only that XML that it cares about.  My position
> is that, and I did say this, that what we
> call a web browser could change.  In that sense,
> any client on the system can be web aware and

> can still be smart.

But what distinguishes a "Web Browser" is that by following a Web link, 
it metamorphisizes into a new user interface. You can access a hundred 
different apps with a hundred different interfaces just by following 
links. (MID had some of the same ideas but I don't think it ever had a 
server component.)

Therefore the question that Web people are asking about XDocs is: "Why 
can't I just type a URL into my browser, and have an XDocs interface 
appear to do its thing and then disappear when I follow a link?" As I 
understand it, that's the original question. And it is tied up with the 
XForms question, because XForms is designed for this model. And yet 
another related question is whether it will work on the Mac and Linux 
(which is one of the virtues of Web-hosted apps).

To me, the obvious reason XDocs sounds like it does not fit this model 
is that Microsoft wants to SELL the thing, perhaps both the client and 
the server. And you can't sell portable, open source, standards-based 
browser plugins. (see also Flash and SVG plugins)

I agree that doing it as a non-browser-based app is Microsoft's 
perogative but they do open themselves up for competition...whether 
based on XForms, or XUL or whatever else, I don't know. Nevertheless, it 
is entirely reasonable of Microsoft to sell the thing according to 
whatever license they like while they wait for the competition to 
materialize. I wouldn't do anything different in their shoes. And if it 
does things that browsers don't yet, I may well find it appropriate to 
deploy it.

There, are we agreed?

  Paul Prescod


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