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Re: Ajax Back/Forward History problem - saving document state by document.save()

From: Sylvain Hellegouarch <sh@defuze.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 17:16:09 +0100
Message-ID: <1132762569.438495c945568@webmail.defuze.org>
To: public-webapi@w3.org

Hi Kenny,

> I don't think Google has done a very good job of making web
> application that look and feel like web application.

That's the all question isn't it? Aren't we on the dusk of web sites as we know
them and on the dawn of web applications. They still can look like web sites or
not they would still be applications. Why the web should be treated differently?

All of the
> application that I have seen of theirs still look and feel pages,
> separate documents. I will not hold it agents them because we are all
> still trying to figure this or we wouldn't be having this discussion.
> But a book is different form a calculator, just like a word doc is
> different from Microsoft Word, just like a web page is different from
> a web application. I know it can get fuzzy, what happens when you have
> a multiple page application, or multiple mini-applications on one
> page, etc...

I agree this is really disturbing but its quite normal that:

1. editors that try to take the risk like Google to provide those applications
are building an experience from scratch.
2. it will take us, as users to change the way we see use a browser (a bit like
people who started coding in C had a very hard time switching to C++ (whether
one is better or not)).

> But I hope most people will agree that they need to be treated
> differently, because they are fundamentally different. The back button
> was introduced by web browsers as an aid for navigating through
> documents. (let me know if anyone knows of an application with a back
> button that pre-dated web browsing) We are entering into a new state
> of the web were we have paged documents, and application that are no
> longer bound to paging. I think the questions we should be asking
> ourselves is "how can we we develop application that work the best as
> application" (with all the good and bad that comes with that), not
> "how can we make application conform to the conventions of paged
> documents".

I'd rather use the term resource instead of document or page. Resource as the R
in ReST. It gives a better idea of what we are actually dealing with.

> Maybe for applications we need a whole new set of tools on the browser
> toolbar that web developers can tie into, like the undo button for
> example. This would put certain fundamental controls always in the
> same place, always where the user expects them (like the back button
> is now) but they would be able control the web application in a way
> the developer appropriately defines. Again for an existing example of
> this, Opera has a "Navigation" toolbar that provides controls to the
> <link> tag. But that might be a discussion for the Web Application
> Formats Working Group.

This is a great idea IMO and the right way to go. But as you say this offtopic
in the thread and we should start a new one in the right place :)

> I just wonder why we have to hold on to the idea of the back button
> just because it is what has been done in the past and it's what we are
> used to? Our way of presenting information on the web is changing,
> shouldn't our way of interacting with it change to fit the new
> paradigm better?

Good questions. The back button came up with the very first browsers, I assume
because back then there was very little way to move accross pages as HTML
defined later on. Now those buttons have been sitting there for all those years
without really being changed at all. I don't mean to say we should get rid of
them but maybe should we think about their meaning in 2005 and beyond.

- Sylvain

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