Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

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.


Anonymous said...

You need to differentiate between web pages and web applications. Echo2 is primary intended to replace applets to certain extent and empower developers to deliver compex web applications with as little as much footprint.

hughw said...

Hi. I do not discriminate between web pages and web applications. That's the whole point. When you build a rich interface you still need to build the user experience around resources, URLs, and hypertext. See these posts.

Hey: Echo2 is nice. But nothing they've done enhances the web. It's no better than a big Flash app.

Le Plume said...

You make a very good point here. From what I've seen for the last 13 years, fat chance it will be heard, though.