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RE: XForms not enough

From: Neil Walker <neil.walker@mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 18:28:23 +0100 (BST)
To: www-forms@w3.org
Cc: neil.walker@mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk
Message-Id: <E130SaD-0004MF-00@bernstein.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk>
Joe Hewitt wrote:
> I'm really tired of the sort of mediocre technology that we have to work
> with on the web.
> The web absolutely needs an integrated set of application building blocks.
> I'm tired of static, page-driven sites, and the longer we stick with that
> paradigm, the longer it will take for the web to reach the next level of
> productivity.

Is this a political question?  I think perceptions of what "the web
absolutely needs" rather depends on what you do for a living, and how
you use the web.  Are the majority of web developers "tired of the sort
of mediocre technology that we have to work with on the web"?  At this
point some 60% of all webservers are using Apache, which suggests there
are probably rather a lot of non-professional-web-designers making and
running websites, not all of which are valueless.  Should they be
squeezed out?

The XUL description at:
	http://www.mozilla.org/xpfe/dialogs.html

contains the paragraph:

	The XML presented to the internal DOM builder will necessarily have
	platform dependencies. Individual platforms have unique
	guidelines about, for instance, the placement of OK and Cancel
	buttons. Windows may also contain grouping elements and other
	details unique to certain platforms. This is a problem ideally
	solved by writing one, cross-platform XUI spec defining the
	window, and a series of platform-specific stylesheets to
	transform the window into its actual displayable version.
	Realistically, it will probably often involve maintaining
	separate XUI specs.

You wouldn't believe how uninterested I'd be in that "reality".

If the web is your shop window, you need all the bells and whistles you
can get, and will be able to pay developers accordingly.  If you offer
a simple service, you might be willing to trade the extremes of
flexibility for ease of development (*).

That said, XUL has, as its 2 main design goals: 
	http://www.mozilla.org/xpfe/xptoolkit/

	* Make UIs easier to build 
	* Make cross-platform applications easier to build 

So it seems that expressing the XForms presentation layer in standard
bits of XUL (with attributes for those that want finer control and
multiple specs) could be worth pursuing.  Certainly XUL has *nothing*
to say about handling data, so XForms has a lot to contribute in that
area.

Yours
Neil Walker
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Neil Walker                     tel:   +44 (0) 1223 330379
MRC Biostatistics Unit          fax:   +44 (0) 1223 330388
Cambridge, UK                   email: neil.walker@mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk
                                web:   http://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk 
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(*) its why I write cross-platform GUIs in Tcl/Tk, so I can leverage
someone else's best efforts to sort out native look and feel. (Tcl is
also a good langauge for CGI scripts if you don't get on with Perl)
Received on Friday, 9 June 2000 13:28:38 GMT

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