Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

Friday, November 16, 2007

What is wrong with this picture?

Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
content-disposition: attachment; filename=Hill%20Country%20water%20issues[1].ppt
Content-Type: application/unknown

IIS servers don't come provisioned with the .ppt extension mapped to application/ Microsoft server? Microsoft application?

What hope can there be for authoritative metadata?

My Firefox browser figures it out just fine, and launches Open Office. Presumably FF went through all this first, just to determine it to be application/octet-stream; then ran a further sniffer to identify it as a Power Point.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's the hyperlinks, Stupid!

Henry Story thinks Echo2 is "Web 2.0 in Java", and they do have a killer demo. But it's yet another example of incredibly brilliant developers going to great lengths to bring the desktop app to the browser, and ignoring that the value of the web lies in hyperlinks.

So navigate that demo: Click the "Next" arrow. Your address bar doesn't change even though you have navigated to what most people would call a clearly identifiable different resource.

I can't give you the link to "page 2" because it isn't addressable on the web. Sorry. Go to page 1, then click to go to page 2.

Under the hood, it's the usual collection of RPCs masquerading as URLs -- some GET, some POST -- using port 80 since we know it's open, after all. Every single GET uses all the usual tricks to make sure that nothing -- not even JPEGs -- gets cached.

(Why don't we just give Javascript in browsers an API to open up a socket and execute any protocol you like? Seriously: Wouldn't that be better than abusing HTTP? If you don't want to use the HTTP protocol, you shouldn't have to.)

I love the look of that demo, and I think their technology is clever. With a little effort I am sure they can make the framework webby.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I was just thinking that!

I've been working on the technology requirements for a "rich web application". All the pieces are in place for a cross platform solution. With Javascript, HTML, SVG, and CSS, you can build a pretty rich application without resorting to JavaFX, AIR, Flex, Silverlight, Click Once, or Web Start.

All the browsers support JS, HTML, SVG and CSS. Except one. Per Rob Sayre:
If Microsoft were really interested in making life easier for web developers, they could do so, without a standards committee. They would need to fix the (nasty) bugs in IE’s JScript engine, implement SVG, implement canvas, implement more of CSS, support a standard event model, and on and on. Then, the behavior of IE would be a lot closer to Firefox, Opera, and Safari.
It's no secret Microsoft doesn't see an advantage in a web built on cross platform technologies. I'm not very sure about Adobe, either.

Why should we, as a a software company, invest in technology from companies that are actively working to subvert what we want to do?