RE: The Browser Wars are Dead! Long Live the Browser Wa rs!
I wasn't part of the initial web browser design history, so I'll have to leave that to those who were to confirm or deny. The Mosaic browser presented to me was an HTML-gencode browser. MIME types were presented as content types, so if you are talking about the history of HTTP, you could well be right, but that notion of a web architecture seems to be a late breaking one based on the REST papers of Fielding, and some are contending that is a post-fixed design. Even Roy alludes to a cleanup of what Berners-Lee had done to the time Roy and his folks entered the picture. Again, you'll have to talk to those folks. But I suspect what you are claiming will come as a surprise to the majority of web page makers out there. I think you are post-fixing web architecture and conflating HTTP/REST and web browser or Mosaic design skipping right over MIME. As to Word, you are right. That was the shortcoming of WYSIWYG discovered before the web was a working prototype, the fixing of the internal equivalent of the gencodes, the rendering structures it understands. For that reason, SGML browsers quickly got away from gencoding and into stylesheet driven systems, all of which the web community found it had to replicate as they hit the wall with gencoding. No one I know of from 1986 on did not understand the need for document types until we got to XML well-formedness. As to flexibility, yes, but it comes at a cost of efficiency given a particular application. A good example is having a language that uses SQL statements as built in statments of the language instead of building up pages of quoted strings. (N-tier is sort of a combination of all of this in which much of the client-side business logic goes to middle tier objects which the thin client language then calls as web services. Catalog them with URLs if you like. I still can't fathom anyone preferring building up scores of HTML pages with single forms in them over a client that handles such forms natively. len -----Original Message----- From: Paul Prescod [mailto:paul@p...] Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 4:30 PM To: Bullard, Claude L (Len) Cc: xml-dev@l... Subject: Re: The Browser Wars are Dead! Long Live the Browser Wa rs! Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote: > Not exactly. Some frameworks are evolving to > make using the classic HTML browser (ie, HTML > as the host language of a universal intergace) > less necessary. It is much cooler. I also said, > if we want to use the term "web browser", that > term becomes less descriptive of a specific > platform and becomes more a watered down way > to say, "web aware because it can use the > operating system web services without using > a line of HTML". Len, the Web architecture was always designed to make it easy to switch HTML out. HTML has been an optional feature since day 1. If you want a definition of web-browser that you can describe to someone on the street, a web browser is an application with a URL-bar where you type in a URL and the interface changes based on the information retreived. So Word is not a web browser, no matter how HTTP and URL-aware it is, because it won't do anything useful when you give it a URL that is not from a very short list of content-types. You can't configure it to "do the right thing" with an unknown content-type because its job is NOT to figure out what to do with incoming data (as in a web browser) but rather its job is to edit documents in a fixed-list of content-types. So criticizing the web browser for its reliance on HTML is exactly backwards. The web browser is the application that was designed to handle every content type and new content types and tasks all of the time. It is therefore natural that it will eventually (perhaps slowly) subsume the tasks of applications designed with less flexiblity built-in. Paul Prescod
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