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Re: Widgets - WARP, Widgets Updates and Digital Signatures

From: Marcos Caceres <marcosc@opera.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 02:30:16 +0200
Message-ID: <4C92B698.1060208@opera.com>
To: nathan@webr3.org
CC: "Nilsson, Claes1" <Claes1.Nilsson@sonyericsson.com>, "Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com" <Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com>, "public-device-apis@w3.org" <public-device-apis@w3.org>, public-webapps <public-webapps@w3.org>
Hi Nathan,

On 9/16/10 7:38 PM, Nathan wrote:
> Marcos Caceres wrote:
>> On 9/16/10 6:10 PM, Nathan wrote:
>>> Marcos Caceres wrote:
>>>> As above. I thought that was what we (Web Apps WG - Widgets) have been
>>>> doing for the last 5 years?
>>> Maybe I've missed part of the specifications - are you telling me that I
>>> can package up an HTML,CSS,JS based application as per the widgets
>>> specification, include a WARP, Digital Signature, set the view-mode to
>>> windowed and that this will run as is, in the main browser context of
>>> the main browser vendors (Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome, IE etc)?
>> Ah! ok. I get it now. No, that won't work right now (actually, that's
>> how we run them in our development environment for testing purposes :)
>> ). But that is trivial and no one has really asked for that.
> Good to know, and you can consider me as asking for it!
>> I'm still a bit lost as to what the use case is?
> - standardized application packaging and deployment for the web

Technically, more or less done (widget family of specifications). 
Unfortunately, we are yet to see any buy-in from the big browser 
vendors... that's their choice, of course. The specs are more or less 
done and there for them if/when they find they need them.

> - 100% client side application that use the web as a data-tier
> - universality
> - (user) trust

I know you mean well, but these are not "use cases". These are goals or 
aspirations - which I also believe in, to be sure. A use case is like "I 
wanna do X, Y and Z... but I can't do that right now because ... so I 
would need A, B, C..."

Can you rephrase what you can't do right now (apart from showing a 
widget in a tab) as use case?

> There are many applications that are currently stuck using a server
> because there is no clear path to deploying 100% client side
> applications, examples include micro-blogging clients, note/task-pads,
> image editors, contact managers, cms/blogging software (think admin),
> well, any application which doesn't natively need a server and where
> client side persistence/caching more than suits, or where the
> data/api(s) being used within the application are exposed via HTTP (that
> covers almost every "web app" I can think of).

Some applications are happy to live on the server. Others can be written 
as native apps. And then some can be written as W3C widgets, sure (also, 
have you tried Opera Unite? it's a server in the browser and does all 
the cool things you mentioned above - and uses widgets to do it!).

The problem is not a standards one, I think. It's a problem that you 
think other browser vendors have not bought into the whole widgets 
thing. Opera supports W3C widgets, as do many other browser vendors. 
Maybe you should look a little beyond the big browser vendors to "the 
long tail" - you will find many companies actually implementing W3C 
widgets (did you know WinMobile 6.5, Blackberry, Samsung, Nokia, etc. 
all do W3C widgets? that list is growing little by little every day). 
That's pretty cool, I think!

Despite what you might think, getting only big browser vendors is not 
always the aim of stuff that is done at the W3C. We make stuff for 
everyone to use and innovate on. Who knows! maybe the next Big Company 
will be built on W3C Widgets.

> Many stick with design paradigms which don't suite (server reliance) and
> others simply swap to building vendor specific browser extensions thus
> loosing universality and all the benefits of standardized APIs and the
> hard work that has gone in to all things webby.

Sure. That's their choice. But you can't build content that won't run 

> Everything is currently pointing at an exponential increase in 100%
> client side applications, from all angles, we've got client side
> persistence, html5, canvas, ecmascript, gpu acceleration, a vast "web of
> data", cloud storage, positioning the web as the data tier, a plethora
> of standardized and supported APIs + media types - every element.

Right. It's all looking pretty sweet... maybe we don't need them widgets 
things after all...:)

> The
> missing bit to tie it all together is for somebody to simply say "here's
> how you wrap it all up and deploy", and that work has been all but done
> under the banner of the widgets specifications.

Opera supports W3C widgets: use that :) For Webkit and friends, they are 
open source, maybe you can just hack the support and convince them to 
make it a standard part of their platform. Other people have done this 
(e.g., Widgeon runs on Mozilla's code, and there are lots of WebKit 
implementations of widgets). You can also email Apple and Mozilla and 
ask them to add support widgets if you think its important. I'd be 
interested to hear what they say - I'm sure they would be receptive to 
the idea.

> I am quite sure, in fact completely convinced, that if you provide the
> web community with a way to wrap up client side applications, many, many
> will adopt and embrace. Everybody from RIA developers through to
> extension developers and the vast array of js/html web developers in
> between.

Well, we kinda did that (widget family of specs). We, the working group, 
spent 5 years working our buts off on the widget specs... maybe you can 
work out what we did wrong and why your prophecy above did not come to 
be yet? I'm all ears.

> To me at least, it seems that a great deal of work has gone in to making
> it possible for us to create universal applications, and now I can make
> an ECMAScript/DOM/CSS/HTML5 application that works on pretty much every
> device via user agents (soon with gpu support). Every app developer I
> know is looking for this, given the choice between only developing an
> app to work on an iphone, or make an app that works in every browser and
> on iphone/ipad,android etc then it'd be a no brainer in most cases (the
> old realm of flash) - there's nothing to stop them making this leap now,
> other than the one factor "how to wrap it up". Such a simple thing that
> could easily drive a paradigm shift.

Well, there is also the reality that some companies don't want to have 
universality because they want to control their markets. As long as they 
are not a monopoly, there is nothing wrong with that: they make a good 
chunk of money from doing so, which makes them happy. So, you will have 
to take that up with them. They may come on-board if they see financial 
benefit in supporting widgets. No one is obliged to implement a spec 
just because the W3C makes is a Recommendation.... it is, after all, 
just a "recommendation"... like if a friend recommends you buy 
something, you don't always do it.

Marcos Caceres
Opera Software
Received on Friday, 17 September 2010 00:31:04 UTC

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