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Re: ACTION-434: Some notes on organizing discussion on WebApps architecture

From: John Kemp <john@jkemp.net>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2010 14:07:27 -0400
Cc: "Appelquist, Daniel, VF-Group" <Daniel.Appelquist@vodafone.com>, tag <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <494617F9-6130-4110-9A05-701497941603@jkemp.net>
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Hi Jonathan,

On Oct 12, 2010, at 10:26 AM, Jonathan Rees wrote:

> High-level rant, the result of my puzzling over the nature of our
> applications work. Sorry if this is low content, but I wanted to post
> it before the F2F.

Thanks for posting, as this question has been also puzzling me for a few days as I work on my own Web Apps-related actions. I found this very helpful in motivating my thinking.

> 
> One thing that makes the "web architecture" design successful is that
> it is an architecture *of* something, namely a global hypertext
> network. That characterization sets the scope nicely and sets terms
> under which it can be evaluated and judged.
> 
> I think it would help a lot if we knew, in this round of work, what
> sort of thing was supposed to have architecture. Are we talking about
> an application-enriched hypertext network? A rich client/server
> application platform?  A globally distributed computing platform? I
> don't know, but I have a feeling that if we don't set some boundary
> we'll spend a lot of time wandering around unproductively. If we're
> going to boil the ocean, I at least want to know *which* ocean.
> 
> As we look beyond "global hypertext network" it might be helpful to
> look at historical precedents of platform scope expansion. For
> example, Unix was a beautiful and successful operating system for
> PDP-11s, but suffered growing pains when it went to 32 bits. Those
> pains didn't make it any less successful in its new domain, but growth
> obliterated the original design, and the mutually incompatible
> architectures that arose to replace the old one were always
> compromised by the need to support the original.
> 
> I think the same kind of thing is happening now; the global hypertext
> network architecture is in danger of disappearing under the crush of
> applications. Choices being made now are determining the architecture
> of the new order.
> 
> The new application-enriched Web is a bunch of things, self-organizing
> without overall vision. That is probably as it should be. If we can do
> anything at all other than maybe making it a better bunch of things (a
> salutory goal but unrelated to architecture), it would be to
> articulate what kind of system we would ideally like to see and then
> identify practices that do and don't promote that kind of system. To
> state what's obvious to those on www-tag, this "kind of system" is one
> that's not only technically sound and meets current needs, but also
> promotes broader social and economic aims.
> 
> A start would be to review desirable system properties (starting from
> previous discussions, the W3C mission statement, AWWW, etc.) and
> cross-check against these notes to identify points of harmony,
> friction, or puzzlement.

I have attempted to describe three interaction examples that may or may not exhibit properties of Web apps architectural additions at http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2010/10/interaction-examples.html (related also to ACTION-355, Tracker) I hope that these may be helpful in our related discussions. 

I go back and forth on whether these examples truly describe anything new, but if they do, one item is perhaps the notion that a "client" may expose a resource (its location, for example) to the Web in a non-traditional way (via a call to a Javascript API, rather than by acting itself as an HTTP server). Architecturally-speaking, I am not still sure what else is really different from what is already in AWWW -- rather than simply additions to that architecture which were always available, and sometimes used, but not described in any detail. 

Regards,

- johnk

> 
> Jonathan
> 
> On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:29 PM, Appelquist, Daniel, VF-Group
> <Daniel.Appelquist@vodafone.com> wrote:
>> I’ve put together some rough notes that I hope to continue to flesh out over
>> the weekend:
>> 
>> http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2010/05/web-apps-notes.html
>> 
>> Basically this is a laundry list with links to existing work from John,
>> Ashok and Noah. If there is other work we should review let me know and I
>> will add links here. I think it will be useful to go over some of the
>> existing work and then to step back and say “what are we trying to achieve”
>> here. I also think we need to look at what has happened outside of the W3C
>> community on WebApps Architecture and solicit some support from the
>> community.
>> 
>> Some of these notes are necessarily colored by the work in WebApps wg, Geo,
>> and DAP that I have been involved with.
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> Dan
> 
Received on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 18:08:01 GMT

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