Software, Digital Content, Geopolitics, Economics & More from of a Libertarian Serial Expat and Entrepreneur
In: web apps25 Apr 2004
If you still think the web is always going to be a bunch of HTML pages read with a browser, or that the next web is a bunch of XML files read by a newsreader, think again and read Miguel de Icaza’s post about Longhorn to understand what’s at stake. Sure, this will really impact how public (especially mainstream commercial) "sites" will be made five years from now, so it’s not like there’s an urgent call to action, but I get the feeling many web professionals are going to wake one day with a bunch of largely irrelevant skills based on obsolete standards, early notice or not.
When the new stuff works properly, the current web is going to look like gopher. It will of course take a long time to be phased out during a coexistence phase, and it will survive for a while longer on PDA phones or whatnot, but eventually nobody made nor bought DOS apps anymore. When I see people getting excited about the latest soft shadow CSS hack, I can’t help but think this is just ASCII art to any decent 3D graphics card. The web will go beyond a terminal-like stateless paradigm, and sooner or later its UI will stop looking like something from 1989. Show me something an Amiga couldn’t do. Let’s admit that (if only) from an eye candy perspective, the effort-to-output ratio using CSS is downright silly (just because it beats using HTML tables doesn’t mean it’s good in absolute terms).
Have a look at Far Cry screenshots (remember that this moves at 60 fps in hi res full screen on recent PCs), project that three years down the road this will be considered a butt ugly oldie game, and smell the coffee: the web as it is now is plainly primitive and awefully static, and most attempts at not making it so suck so bad it hurts just to think about it (it hurts even more than reading this 6AM stream of semi consciousness written while I’m still digesting Douro wine drunk last night while pondering with friends the relative merits of Argentina and Brazil as places to relocate to). Anyway, case in point: nine car manufacturer web/Flash sites out of ten. And really, the whole idea of streaming or downloading some piece of audio or video that I can’t do anything with but read is equally pathetic. Please make use of my local computing resources, thanks.
Longhorn is not a half-assed rush stopgap attempt like ActiveX. And Microsoft had better get it right anyway or they’ll be in big trouble to compete against Linux, let alone their good-enough Windows XP installed base. (I wonder where Apple fits in that picture, if at all — but sometimes strange things happen, like .NET apps for ipods, and btw flashenabled is awesome, hmm, lots of Microsoft tech in there.)
Bottomline is, the current browser-based model is going to be kicked in the pants, and the sooner the better. Second bottomline is, Portuguese red wine is good but strong (12.5-13
I'm CEO of an online trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We try to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is more noisy each day. This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, software, and more, based on my business and personal experiences. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that stood the test of times better. Personal views only.