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Too much power? was RE: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions

From: Kurt Cagle [mailto:kurt.cagle@gmail.com] 
Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2007 11:00 AM
To: XML Developers List
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions

> Actually, had the web (or certain major vendors with web interests)
actually followed the W3C's 
> lead, much of the current welter of conflicting patches and hacks would
not have been necessary. 
> The current "flowering" of AJAX evolved largely because of the
incompatibilities between 
> browsers (and largely between IE and Mozilla, which has generally hewn
MUCH closer 
> to the W3C's vision) and the LACK of adoption of those same standards have
> web developers to push JavaScript to the limit in order to compensate. 

Is that really true?  I thought AJAX flowered largely as a way to bring
modern UIs and interactivity to web apps -- the standardization and easy
deployment of web "pages", but a user experience close to at least a 1990's
desktop application.  Even had everyone been less evil and more willing to
follow those Leading the Web to its Full Potential in the '90s, we'd have a
welter of patches and hacks today because somebody or other would be working
to move beyond the 1999 state of the art, and their competitors would
follow.  The W3C wouldn't be able to stay ahead of the game because if they
really did make the rules everybody had to follow, there would be 50-100
people on all the WGs and nothing would get done :-)

But my interest here is not to look back at what might have been but to look
forward to what could be.  Applying the "Principle of Least Power" seems to
imply that given the choice of two travel services that take a query for
flights between Seattle and New York ...
- One of which will return a list of scheduled flights sorted by time;
- The other of which will return a list of flights that have seats actually
available that I can be reimbursed for under my employer's travel policies,
ordered by a tradeoff across time convenience, intermediate stops, and
price, with opportunities to upgrade the seat using my personal frequent
flyer miles flagged;

... that I should choose the first because it has less power???  OK, it is
more mashup-friendly, could be implemented with a declarative query language
without any nasty server-side state or imperative code, ... but it's not
what non-geeks actually prefer. 

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