W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-forms@w3.org > March 2005

Re: XForms vs WebForms

From: T. V. Raman <tvraman@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 17:16:09 -0800
Message-ID: <16954.11225.922447.789173@bubbles.almaden.ibm.com>
To: jeacott@hardlight.com.au
Cc: www-forms@w3.org

There are a couple of simple inferences to be drawn from all that
has gone here.

In general, when a new technology shows up, it creates new
opportunities. New opportunities for some often translate to a
threat to the established few; it is traditional for the
established few to cry foul:-)

The Web has always been a disruptive technology.
It enabled a young upstart browser first from a university, later
from a Valley startup to challenge the mighty. The rest of course
is history.

It's interesting to see of those some upstarts and
revolutionaries wanting to stay with the past --- it's
understandable but still lamentable. Incidentally someone
speaking on behalf of the Mozilla Foundation on this thread
declared that HTML 3.2 was the last good/stable/tested spec from
the W3C. How many of us remember the tag soup tyranny of the
mid-90's out of which HTML 3.2 was born?
In fact HTML 3.2 was not designed; it was a spec written to
document to the extent possible how the Web at that time
"behaved" when views through the lens of the predominant browser
of the time.

Today people complain about a particular browser vendor having
90+% market share and therefore dictating the destiny of the
Web. Let's remember that this same tyranny under a different
browser made life just as unpleasant in the mid-90's --- where
every Monday morning saw the addition of a new tag or an
ill-named event attribute showing up. I believe the Web is still
recovering from that mess, and has in the process stagnated
during the period 98--04.

In fact the move to XML-based technologies at the W3C, with XHTML
1 the first step was to introduce some method to the madness, 
and create something that was well-formed and predictable that
the rest of the world, not just a couple of browser vendors could
build on.

I believe this broad XML vision driven by the W3C and its member
companies has succeeded in spades as epitomized by the number of
companies who are able to create products around these
standards. Understandably, entities that see themselves as "Web
Browser creators" feel short-changed in this raising of all boats
and cry "the W3C is no longer about the Web" --- what this
effectively translates to is that "they are not letting Web
browser vendors define the Web".
But at the end of the day, the Web Browser is just one possible
lens through which one can view the content of the distributed
Internet; just as minority share Web browsers argue in favor of
"there should be more than one Web browser", taking the broader
perspective leads to the insight that you need to be able to
build on resources published on the Web using more than just Web

This is not an argument to won or lost on a mailing list;
I believe the debate is being successfully won by today's
upstarts like Chiba and X-Port.Net to name but a few 


Best Regards,
T. V. Raman:  PhD (Cornell University)
IBM Research: Human Language Technologies
Architect:    RDC --- Conversational And Multimodal WWW Standards
Phone:        1 (408) 927 2608   T-Line 457-2608
Fax:        1 (408) 927 3012     Cell: 1 650 799 5724
Email:        tvraman@us.ibm.com
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AIM:      emacspeak
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Snail:        IBM Almaden Research Center,
              650 Harry Road
              San Jose 95120
Received on Friday, 18 March 2005 01:16:28 UTC

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