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Re: [DotGNU]DotGNU task list

From: Rhys Weatherley
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]DotGNU task list
Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2002 17:54:44 +1000

I'm still lagging in e-mail, but catching up ...

Bill Lance wrote:

> Agreed, browsers are document oriented.  But does any
> other application interface exist, even in concept?

E-mail clients, word processors, spreadsheets, and
pretty much any application that allows the user to enter
serious data do not follow the browser model.

The browser model is a more modern version of the block
mode terminal (3270's for the mainframe geeks in the
audience).  The server does most of the work, delivers
a form to be filled out or a menu to be selected from.
The user fills in a small amount of detail, hits the "Send"
button ("Enter" on 3270, "Submit" or a link on Web),
and then another screen is presented.  Rinse and repeat.

The applications I mentioned above are more interactive.
Pressing a key has an immediate effect on the state of
the application.  It isn't buffered up and deferred until
the next round trip to the server.

Block mode terminal applications work very well in
organisations like banks and travel agents.  Most of the
data is coming from the server, with only a tiny amount
of information going back from the user.  Try to do word
processing that way and you'll quickly go mad (I remember
editing source code on a 3270 - a painfull experience).

The browser is a terrible UI, suitable only for clearly
defined tasks with little user input.  But it is ubiquitous
now and so we are bascially stuck with it.  Java was
supposed to fix this, but failed because it was too big
and clunky for the client environment.

I sometimes think that if someone other than Sun had
designed Java, we'd be in a better position today with
respect to UI on the Web.  Sun is a server company:
they don't understand clients and never have.



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