No progress in 15 years

Joe Gregorio

15 years ago:

HTML was designed to be simple. Folks are supposed to be able to whack out HTML with a text editor -- no rocket science required.


I suggest that it should be the responsibility of the _server_ to produce valid HTML. Of course the client should be robust in the face of errors. But I suggest that when a client and a server differ on their interpretation of a document, the client is at fault if the document is valid, and the server is at fault if the document is not.


@John, thank you for your reply. The whole "learning curve" argument is flawed IMHO. HTML was never meant to be created by non techy users. That's what (visual) tools and CMSs are for. HTML is for developers. And developers must get things right. If they don't get XML, maybe they should reposition their careers.

What do you mean by "failure rate"? Failure to author a valid document? Solution: automate and create higher level application specific languages that help devs *generate* proper XML. Or maybe you mean failure on the browser side? In that everybody knows that user agents have to be fault tolerant. Either way I don't get your point.

Fifteen years later and we've made no progress.

This made me laugh. I totally agree with you and must say that the way things are going doesn't look too good. One thing that really bothers me how stupid firewall rules and proxies slowly pushes everything into using port 80. The similarities between the technologies developed today and tens of years ago are striking, only the newer ones are mostly hacks. I so wish that AJAX could just be replaced by X11 forwarding. It would make life a lot easier.

Posted by disown on 2008-07-15

15 years ago, did folks think we'd be building desktop-esque apps with HTML? HTML is great for what it was originally designed for. The current incarnation of the browser isn't the best platform to be developing apps for, based on the client-side source code I run across. Something's wrong. But it's not HTML. Adding even just slightly more advanced capabilities in HTML is great, but isn't the answer for making it easier to build 'web applications', if the existing breed of web browsers continue to be the client platform. Because in that world, Flavio is right. But it's so wrong. Unfortunately, it's a HUGE legacy to overcome, both technically, and mindset-wise.

Posted by Patrick Mueller on 2008-07-15


15 years ago, did folks think we'd be building desktop-esque apps with HTML?

Well, Bill Gates penned "The Internet Tidal Wave" memo in 1995, so I'd have to go with 'yes'.

Posted by Joe Gregorio on 2008-07-15

Huh. No mention of HTML in that article. And that was 13 years ago, not 15 :-) Of course, Bill brought us DHTML, so he was clearly thinking of HTML. But also (from the article) web-ized OS facilities (directory services), middleware (OLE), etc. A little deeper than a slightly smarter dumb browser (DHTML in IE).

Posted by Patrick Mueller on 2008-07-15

Further down in Conolly's post: I really think HyTime links and locs are a good way to model all this. The connection between HyTime and SGML is incidental. The only reason to use SGML markup is to _interchange_ information between HyTime applications (...or to talk about HyTime constructs in email, or any of the other things that text is convenient for.) Memories...

Posted by Sam Hunting on 2008-07-15

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