Re: [dev] Talk about sane web browsers

From: Pinocchio <>
Date: Mon, 07 Sep 2009 18:13:09 -0700

On Mon, 07 Sep 2009 03:26:05 -0700, frederic <> wrote:

> On Mon, 07 Sep 2009 11:51:46 +0200, Uriel <> wrote:
>> On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 2:38 AM, Pinocchio<> wrote:
>>> A few months ago caught my eye. Its a browser written in
>>> java (hold on... don't kick me off the list... :) ) but the thing I
>>> liked
>>> about it was its support for alternative document formats. It supports
>>> JavaFX out of the box and that's definitely a more suckless version of
>>> document rendering / scripting than HTML + Javascript.
>> You better kick yourself out of this universe. WTF are you smoking?
> So, the only way is to get rid of the whole "Web" stack and to rewrite a
> "sane" one. This would mean:
> * defining a protocol that would play the role of HTTP,

I don't think that would be necessary. HTTP is okay. HTML + Javascript is the non-suckless part.

> * defining a format for interactive documents and applications. The tricky
> thing here is that this format should be convenient for both usages and
> for "middle" cases.

That's the whole idea. I believe that it is possible to get something usable without a lot of code bloat. The basics should be good so that "web" sites can get more complicated things done with their own code.

> Of course it has to be totally incompatible with the current "web stack",
> browser included. It can be quite a problem for wide acceptance; the
> majority of "web users" today are, I think, not computer literates.

It doesn't need wide acceptance. Dwm doesn't need wide acceptance as long as it works with most of the useful X11 applications. Dwm would do fine with a bunch of folks who care about a suckless window manager. This "new webstack" would be something similar. There are no hidden plans to conquer the world here :).

> But maybe one may walkaround that by providing browser plugins to handle
> that document format together with the actual platform.

Yeah, that's definitely an option. However, I think I would favor a method where this document format could be changed on the server side to HTML + Javascript for the regular browsers. I am saying this because even after a lot of marketing muscle and commercial force, it has been hard for Adobe, Sun and Microsoft to push their rendering stacks over HTML + Javascript. Flash is the only thing which gained major adoption... and the picture might change once HTML 5 comes out.

If you read my previous post again, I also mentioned why a new web document format is not an insane idea. Web frontend programmers don't directly program in HTML + Javascript. They use some middle-ware (GWT for eg.) which takes care of quirks between different browsers. If you think about browsers as a "machine" to run your applications, HTML + Javascript is literally the assembly of that machine.

What I am suggesting is the following:
        - Come up with a "suckless" document rendering / scripting format (a new RISC like assembly if you will... from the machine analogy above)
        - Write a browser for that format
        - Add a plugin to display HTML + Javascript (use an existing rendering framework like webkit)
        - Write server side converters for the format to HTML + Javascript
                - Regular browsers default to the HTML + Javascript format of the content
                - Suckless browsers query for the "suckless" version of the content and use that.

Benefits of going the suckless format:
        - Concise, hacker friendly, open source implementation.
                - Rapid evolution of the format to new usage scenarios.
                - Platform support, acceleration
        - Warm fuzzy feeling of using less RAM + CPU cycles for rendering web content.

Received on Tue Sep 08 2009 - 01:13:09 UTC

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