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Umm, this seems to confirm Tim Bray's "cui bono" suspicions. Does the
IT industry need a Next Big Thing, or are end users suffering real
pains that Avalon, etc. cure? I'm wide open to being persuaded that
HTML sucks as a UI, but I'm just seeing "oooh, cool" and "we need
something new" and "disagreement is ludicrous" arguments.
I my labs I conducted some usability studies and the result is obvious, the
"dummy terminal" paradigm is not what people desire, it is what is offered
to them. Having the choice, they prefer more usable and responsive
solutions. Usually these solutions are offered by "fat client" applications.
More particularly, most of these "fat client" needs are already there in the
browser. It's only that the "intranet" industry did a very bad job with the
current architecture created to serve the needs of the IT department not the
needs of the end users.
I do say that developing applications it is impossible to do with current
web technologies but that actual fat server/thin client applications are not
what people desire. It was probably good for the IT department (more
control) but surely not good to the users. I hope Microsoft's move becomes a
wake call to the other parties that slept for too long.
And then in 5 years someone else will counter with an "efficient
procedural programming environment that YOU control" or whatever. The
declarative - procedural war has been going on for at abut 30 years
now, and it will probably go on after there is peace in the Middle East
and the US has paid off the national debt. (i.e., forever).
Sure, this is what we call progress with good and false starts. Defining a
hierarchy of visual object is a good match for an XML based language doesn't
Didier PH Martin