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Re: Client side : an economic perspective was: Re:...

From: Stephanos Piperoglou <sp249@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 17:09:26 +0100 (BST)
To: nir dagan <dagan@upf.es>
cc: roconnor@uwaterloo.ca, www-html@w3.org, www-talk@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.980410165233.368F-100000@localhost>
On Sat, 21 Mar 1998, nir dagan wrote:

> I would like to make a point in favor of client side "things"
> in general as opposed to server side.

I would like to disagree here. Server side has too many advantages to
disregard like this.

The main arguments against client-side are two: First, the fact that it
makes clients too "heavy", and with everything from watches to TV sets
becoming web-compatible these days, this introduces too much extra overhead.
The client side should be kept as simple as possible. I think that HTTP-NG +
XML + CSS2 + DOM + ECMAScript is enough for any reasonable Web application.
Perhaps Java would make a nice addition to the above package, but there are
both licensing and implementation problems with Java. Perhaps if we get a
more "final" version of Java and we know that any future versions will be
backward-compatible, and a VM that's fast and open-source, we can talk...

The second problem is one that anyone who programs Java or JavaScript knows
already. Client-side methods are difficult to standardize and implement
across platforms. If the client side is kept simple, this will not be a
problem. The server-side can safely be kept proprietary. The number of
platforms that need to support server-side applications are very limited and
these can be developed safely.

The other problem is one that will become (I hope) apparent with HTTP-NG. If
we are going to have an object-oriented Web, we need to upgrade the server
side and slowly kill off the client side.

I think you are trying to approach the problem from the wrong angle. The
problem is *not* that servers often need to be as secure as clients, but
that the dominant format for the server-side right now is a file tree of
HTML documents. This is wrong. In order to provide proper implementations,
the information on the server side needs to be stored in a different format.
A sensible architecture for this is what is needed. CGI is not enough. It
usually uses languages like C or Perl that have much wider scope than web
publishing and hence create security risks for servers. Besides, CGI is just
a "patch" that sits on top of the familiar document-tree format. A
standardized, secure mechanism that stores and produces Web documents in a
different format would be more appropriate and solve the problems you

-- Stephanos Piperoglou -- sp249@cam.ac.uk -------------------
All I want is a little love and a lot of money. In that order.
------------------------- http://www.thor.cam.ac.uk/~sp249/ --
Received on Friday, 10 April 1998 10:17:01 UTC

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