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   Why not a Web Conductor? (Was: The Browser Is Melting!)

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In a message dated 23/10/2002 14:42:57 GMT Daylight Time, clbullar@ingr.com writes:

It is always noisy when the rules change.


Undoubtedly the rules are in process of changing, or at least diversifying.

It seems to me to be inevitable that for the lifetime of all or most people on this list that a (growing?) diversity of documents intended for human consumption will travel across the Web.

What we need is a mechanism to smoothly and seamlessly orchestrate (hence "Web Conductor") the presentation of those diverse documents.

Analogous to file associations on a desktop operating system a Web Conductor should be able to provide functionality to display the document, when it is one of a recognised range of document types. Of course, a primitive form of that already exists in today's browsers but they have little concept of what to do with multi-namespace XML documents that a browser likes XSmiles could handle quite happily or an XSL-FO document such as the Antenna House Formatter can display. And I suspect that their functionality is not infinitely extensible.

It seems to me that a Web Conductor which has the functionality to switch "keys" in a way similar to the way that Mozilla can embed various applications inside the one interface would provide an experience which is sufficiently seamless so as not to be disturbing to a user but sufficiently flexible to allow a full range of "tunes" to be displayed.

Of course, the Mozilla framework need not be the mechanism, although if implementable it would have the advantage of being cross-platform.

Nothing I have suggested about a Web Conductor would vitiate the W3C work on CC/PP. A Web Conductor could negotiate with the server and declare the capabilities of the system on which it is installed, just as a server could declare what types of document it has on offer.

If we don't have a Web Conductor in the future of a Web with multiple document types, I suspect that we will have something with similar functionality. So should we give the idea of a Web Conductor the hard Szell? :)

Andrew Watt


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