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Make web a software development platform?

The reason for me to write in English is that I want to give a link to this note to Joel.

Joel Spolky has written an article discussing features that a software developer, not a graphic designer, would want web (web-browsers) to support. One of them was:
Javascript features to do fast REST queries back to the server, so I can implement things like a lush spell checker with the dictionary on the server. It should be possible to have a 300,000 employee directory on the server and create a web app that has a list box where you can type the first few letters of an employee’s name and see a filtered list as fast as you can type on the screen.
I don’t know what REST is (shame?) but anyway it sounds crazy to make something communicate with server as fast as you type locally. I believe things like dictionaries must be built into the OS (anyway everybody has them with Office, why not make them easily available to any application?) Slowness of client-server communication is not a problem of web, it’s problem of the Internet. Look at things like ICQ or RSS feed readers: they are not «as fast as you type». In ICQ, it takes some 2 or 3 seconds to deliver your message... Well, maybe it’s just Russia here.

The DC idea is something that came into my mind first time I saw HTML (5 or 6 year ago, I didn’t know the term «DC» that time). I was very surprised with absence of things like <line>, <rectangle> and so on; I still have to use gif’s for all this. And today when we have filters in IE which almost makes it a Photoshop we still don’t have canvas (or do we?) Well, to my opinion it’s more important for graphic designers than for software developers.

But all this takes us to making the same thing which, as far as I get it, Microsoft is trying to bundle with Longhorn. Do we really need that? I mean, if today we get web standards for application development and tomorrow Microsoft comes with its XAML and god knows what else, are we going to learn again? Or are we going to ignore Microsoft’s technology (and lose 90% users)? Or does anyone think Microsoft will implement both XAML-and-so-on and these highly wanted web standards? I, personally, don’t.

So I think we have to wait for Microsoft to ship Longhorn, see what it is, and decide whether we like it or need something else. And if we like it, there’s no other way for Opera Software and Mozilla.org than to suggest it web standards and make it work in their browsers.

Oh, my list of need-them-most features is not ready yet. Looks like Joel has listed everything we need.
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Ilya, lots of words and little sence...
As for waiting for MS to do this or that, it is exactly what Joel opposes. The <a href=http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000339.html>Fire and Motion</a> concept is about snatching as much as you can as fast as you can. MS won’t take anyone’s considerations into account, and the one who waits, basically fails, because the product MS will ship is going to benefit only one company: MS itself, you guessed it.

As for ’why not desktop’: have you read <a href=http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html>the previous piece</a> by Joel?

As for the client-server lag, technically you are right but one may argue that strategically it doesn’t matter that much. Internet is bound to speed up because the demand for fast communication will be there. Just like the ever-upgrading hardware story: a Big Company releases each new version of its software more and more memory- and processor-hungry; everyone grumbles at it, and some ’visionaries’ predict its collapse (because it is so customer-unfriendly, you know); but then — lo and behold — because everyone wants to improve the performance of their copy of the new Hungry Software, 6 months later everyone has got a new desktop, twice as productive, and the cycle repeats. So, I guess Joel is in that Big Thinking boat. Not that he doesn’t understand that online instant spellchecker is impossible now, but he doesn’t really care.

Personally, I have hard time trying to decide whether i buy it or not, but hey, who is the Smart guy here and who is his reader? :)
Oops! Sorry for the double-posting. I swear that was not because I double-clicked Send button :)
Илья Бирман
Killed :)
Birman Goes Wild

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