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RE: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions

Noah, it makes the point exactly:  if the performance sucks, the fun goes
out of it and then it becomes a boring repetitive and largely uncreative
means of embedding moving gimlets inside infinite texts.   The web today is
largely boring.  That is why Second Life, World of Warcraft, YouTube and so
on are the new kids on the block.   I'll come back to these later in my
curmudgeonly pursuit of these topics because imitating them is also not the
best place to fish.

The globally shared information space does not exist because of the browser.
It exists because of the largely shared and limited dimensionality of
URI-based linking which even Tim Bray is admitting some years later is
inadequate to create a persistent reliable address space, but hey, better
late than never.  It exists because the hypertext pioneers who used advanced
means were pushed aside by amateurs using impoverished means, and it
triumphed over the masses the same way Bill Haley and The Comets triumphed
over Cole Porter.   I understand what you are saying, but remember, it is
the glorification of mediocrity which although democratic is also easily led
by its nose to smell the Glade air refresher mechanically masking the scent
of an organically stinky room.

The web has now been fielded long enough that we have by popular acclamation
and marketing machination had two whole versions of it.  The new one is
almost as good as the desktops of twenty years ago.   For all of the
announcements and pronouncements on this list about how 'everyone who is
anyone builds for the web because all the important innovations are there',
the truth is by easy comparison, it is a medium that remains a decade and a
half behind its desktop parent in the same way that rock remained behind the
jazz players that preceded it for two decades (the break even point being
Steely Dan, after which it plunged back into merciless mediocrity with the
rise of punk and thrash).

I am not unhappy about that and the Geico ads don't depress my Neanderthal
forehead.  But I have to stick to the truth here and the truth is that thin
is skinny and server-side is fat and in combination, they are still slow and
not that entertaining.  They are just as AM radio was in 1960, quite
ubiquitous so if you are recording and mixing for monaural sound, go for it.

Otherwise, you may want to start looking at browser-less applications, rich
in controls, rich in content, and created for those who simply don't mind a
15 minute download if after that, they can now play in a very entertaining,
fast moving, ever changing and even financially rewarding world.   From this
point forward, making money inside the HTML browser will be like extracting
oil from shale.  You can but you can also drill.

I don't want to build apps as good as Excel.  There is only one Beatles, one
Elvis and one Brian Jones.  I don't want to be them.  Most of them are dead.
Even if I don't have hits, I want to sell to 17 year old boys and girls who
are a little disenchanted with Mom and Dad's World Wide Web and who still
buy in Wal-Mart if they can be the first in high school to have one.  

They want their own small and very fast moving world.  Webs are for spiders
and mosquitos.


From: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com [mailto:noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com] 
Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 9:23 PM

Len Bullard writes;

> Yes.  Why do that?  It's harder and it locks everyone to the same 
> flying pig.  Why not get the operating system services from the 
> operating system
> and enable the high-performance applications to breathe instead of 
> sucking in the bad air and polluted event systems that are so evident in 

I think this somewhat misses the point.  Absolutely you get richer 
services and better performance on any given platform by using the native 
services of a well designed OS.  That's been true since the day the Web 
took off.  Nobody in their right mind would implement the UI for an 
application like Excel purely in HTML.  So we agree on that.

What's not being discussed is why all this Web/HTML/XML stuff is so 
valuable:  it's because of the shared, global information space that is 
the Web.  It's always been true that you could do a fancier job of 
presenting a weather report by using Windows GDI, OpenGL, native OS 
threads, etc.  Maybe you can fly through those satellite images in 3D. 
What you don't get out of that is the ability to share the weather report 
with a few hundred million people, to cross link it to a travel 
reservation hosted at a completely separate organization, and by the way 
possibly using a different operating system.

Because the Web has proven so valuable, the capabilties of HTML, CSS and 
related technologies have gradually improved to the point where they are 
on good days capable of approximating effects that were formerly available 
only with OS-native services.  For my money, Yahoo mail does a pretty good 
job with Ajax trickery.  Nonetheless, as the Web stack has matured, the 
bar has moved, and we now find increasingly robust stacks that provide not 
only 3D, but also integrated animation, multimedia, alpha blending etc. 
Once again, the tradeoff is between standardized interchange on the wire 
and the highest fidelity rendering that the hardware can do.  I do think 
there is a challenge to the Web stack to stay not too far behind.  If the 
Web were just fixed pitch ASCII text, I doubt we'd find that an acceptable 
compromise.  Indeed, one of the factors I've suggested we consider in the 
great tag-soup/XHTML debate is the ability of the two approaches to evolve 
as the expectations for richer documents and applications continues to 

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