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   RE: [xml-dev] Inside Redhell: Microsoft XAML Blogger Round-Up

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Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> The advent of the World Wide Web posed several challenges 
> for designers. ... However, when pages were viewed using 
> the World Wide Web, it was impossible to predict the size 
> of the window in which the document would be viewed
	I get awful tired of people suggesting that the Web was the
first time problem "X" appeared or that the "web solution" is somehow
different from stuff we did years earlier.
	In this specific case, uncertainty about display types and
preferences, this problem was dealt with extensively back in the 70's
and 80's in the mainframe and minicomputer worlds. If you read the
literature of the time, you'll see many references to "Forms Based"
interfaces (made somewhat more popular by my own ALL-IN-1, but that is
another story...). In fact, CODASYL, the COBOL people!, even produced
a standard "CODASYL Forms Interfaces Management System (FIMS)" that
allowed one to define an interface to an application independent of
the application's implementation. In this way, you could write one
piece of code that would then display and accept input properly on an
ASR-33, VT100, VT52, X-Windows Display, DECWindows Display, or even
over a voice line.  Admittedly, I think Digital (DEC) was the only
company that really got behind this product (in the DECForms
product)... Nonetheless, the problem had been recognized and dealt
with long before the web began to come out of CERN.  We knew about the
importance of display independence long ago. (Note: Even ALL-IN-1,
when released in 1981, which most people thought of as a "VT100" based
product, could also be used effectively from an ASR-33...)
	It may be that these problems weren't addressed on the
Microsoft or *nix platforms until very recently. And it might be that
it was the Web that forced the Microsoft and *nix people to re-create
all the stuff that had been done before, however, that doesn't mean
that what was done was terribly new. It was only new to the
inexperienced people who were doing the recreation.

		bob wyman


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