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   RE: [xml-dev] The Browser Wars are Dead! Long Live the Browser Wa rs!

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

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.)

Correct.  As to the server component, it wasn't a web app.  A server 
component would have been the IETM database.  We ran them across 
networks but not the Internet.  (BTW: the ideas were as easy as 
opening a Win3.1 Resources file and saying, "hmmm, taggable data". 
Essentially, the Waterloo paper said the same thing).  To be a 
web browser, it just needed an http handler that would have returned 
SGML files.  IADS did this too.

>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).

Correct.  Although, not having seen XDocs yet, I think they have something 
a bit more complex in mind with regards to the mixture of structured 
and unstructured data.

>>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)

Not wanting to comment on their rationale, all I can say is that you 
are right that there is no money in the browser itself.  And that killed 
off some web application languages because the cost of developing the 
browser ate the seed capital.  It takes deep pockets or lots of willing 
slaves to do that these days.

>>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. 

Gad, I hope so.

>>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?

Yep.  Have a great weekend, Paul.



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