Re: [dev] Talk about sane web browsers

From: frederic <>
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 2009 13:54:30 +0200

On Wed, 09 Sep 2009 10:06:20 +0200, Anselm R Garbe <>

> 2009/9/9 Pinocchio <>:
>>>> 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.
>>> The Flash strategy is definitely what I have in mind.
>> I guess the problem would be convincing the 100s of millions of people
>> to
>> install our plugin. Much worse than converting web app developers to our
>> stack. [I have a feeling I didn't quite get your point here...]

If you can attract the developpers, the users will probably follow. The
perfect scenario is when a programmer develops a killer application using
your technology. Users install whatever is required in order to run the
app. It seems to me that convincing a developper to user your platform is
the extremely difficult part. This is where the technology has to be a lot
better in a lot of areas.

> Well, before taking the penetration aspect too far -- it is more
> important to discuss the actual new web stack first. Key to it is that
> it provides benefits wrt the existing web stack in many aspects (like
> flash *yuck* or silverlight -- not too sure about silverlight adoption
> though), that in itself will drive adoption. (Packaging the new
> browser as a plugin for legacy browsers would make a lot of sense
> though to drive adoption.)
> But what I'm more interested in is this:
> - knowing the limitations of HTTP and complexity of HTTP/1.1 compliant
> web servers, shouldn't the new web stack rely on a new protocol
> instead?

I'm not a specialist, but it seems to me that the only limitation of HTTP
is its stateless-ness, which forces state management at an upper level at
the cost of extra complexity. AFAIK caching mechanisms and
security/encryption are there, but could easily be simpler.
So it looks like it is a secondary issue.

> - knowing the limitations of nowadays web applications, how should the
> content be organized? Should there be a strict separation of
> data/content and views? How would a scripting interface look like?

The Web has evolved from simple, static, linked together documents servers
to full-blown applications and two-way communication (FB, twitter etc.).
All this use-cases coexist nowdays.
"separation of date and views" is clearly a variation on the "code/data"
duality. A priori, one should be neutral on this, in order to "perform" in
an average way in all use-cases. IOW, it should suck averagely in all
As I see it, a simple,static document should be a program that consists
essentially in a few "print" statements of the text, plus some code for
link-buttons and font selection etc. Of course, the scripting language
must be chosen so that it doesn't get too much in the way in this case. A
full blown app would obviously be 90% of code with a few bits of static
However, in this approach the content is mixed with the way it is
displayed; I think the idea must be refined so that a client may extract
the content rather than just displaying it.

> How would extension points look like?

I'm not sure what you refer to, but one would use the extension mechanism
of the interpreter of the scripting language.

> What about security to begin with?

This is actually two questions:
- security of the connexion,
- safety of the interpreter. As someone else pointed, The whole thing must
run in a sandbox.

> - what content should be representable?

The more, the better :) Althought on may select only one or two formats
for each category of content (image, sound, video, etc.).

> When seeking for real benefits in a new web stack, the benefits can't
> be of plain "less sucking implementation/standard" nature, because end
> user won't care if the underlying technology sucks less or sucks a
> lot, they can't decide and they have no strong opinions about it (like
> usual car customers don't really care if it's an Otto motor or a
> Wankel motor or a Boxer).

At first I agreed. But a better implementation or standard is meaningful
for the programmer, who can do more and be more productive in a more
friendly context; this is a major point if our primary target is the
programmer. The user certainly can't tell the mechanical differences
between two motors, but he can certainly tell by driving the car if the
motor has been changed.

> I think the benefits could be in the following areas:

> - consistency: consistent display among all platforms (requires a
> clear and explicit standard spec)

The conundrum is that it sets limits to what one can do: a few years back,
not all platform had transparency support for instance. One might have
defined it has an extension, though. The same may happen tomorow with 3D
video for instance (3D TV is announced for next year).

> - performance: better performance (this depends on the content
> standard and potentially the protocol)

Yes. Because it allows to do more with the same hardware, and sometimes to
make things more easy to develop by using brute force.

> - security: better security (this might be not a big adoption driver
> though)

It's not impossible people get fed up with the security issues of the
current technologies (in particular if the next Facebook worm swallow
their accounts). I think there is something to do in the area of
transparency: tell people about what the program is about to do in a way
they can understand.
Received on Wed Sep 09 2009 - 11:54:30 UTC

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