Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




So the future is...?

I'm rather puzzled over what Joel thinks the future is now. He says:

"The new API is HTML, and the new winners in the application development marketplace will be the people who can make HTML sing."

right after saying :

"I love my rich client applications and would go nuts if I had to use web versions of the applications I use daily"

So according to Joel, app devs are just going to create apps that drive us nuts but no one's going to write apps that don't drive us nuts?

As of today, I use exactly 1 web UI application on a daily basis: FogBUGZ, which I'll replace as soon as I can get everyone I work with Visual Studio Team System.

So I'm not sure exactly how this huge shift to "HTML as a new API" is going to happen.

Also, one think neglected is the sheer development effort required to get even the simplest of things working. Say I want a modal dialog box. That's what, one line of code in C#? AND it just works well, and I probably don't need to go test on 10 different platforms to make sure its modal. Let's try doing that in HTML. Sure, it's possible, but the effort required is much much more. Overall developer productivity plunges. And that's something trivial like modal dialogs.

So if it's really about "developers, developers, developers", pretty much anything (even... uck... flash) looks more appealing than HTML.

Also, Joel talked about WinForms in a way that suggests they're pointless ("stillborn"). WinForms will run across Windows (inc. Longhorn), while Avalon will only run on Longhorn. I know Joel understands this, so I don't understand where the issue with WinForms is. You definately don't need to "start over" to get your app to run on Longhorn...

And he seems to glaze over one of the real big benefits from Longhorn - the "Alt-D, someword, Ctrl-Enter" installation, which is exactly what Longhorn is going to make simple. Longhorn (with XAML and so on) is what's going to save me from this HTML hell. (Ok, some of it's possible today with .NET's No-touch deployment...)

Michael Giagnocavo
Wednesday, June 16, 2004


When you say it requires more drudgery to write a modal dialog in a web application, you make a point from a micro perspective. However, what Joel talks about is from a top of the roof one.

As for my experience, more and more of our clients are shifting from desktop clients and Windows client/server applications to their web counterparts, asking for a complete re-write. And they do it because they want mobility for users, that a web browser provides for in terms of ubiquity. Today, clients want omnipresent applications more than modal dialog boxes.

Rather than HTML, the right variant would've probably been SGML as everything is getting ML-ized with the accent on DHTML, XML, XAML, even the UIs are written in some form of ML these days.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"which is exactly what Longhorn is going to make simple. Longhorn (with XAML and so on) is what's going to save me from this HTML hell."

Is anyone else tired of hearing this crap?

Look, I'm a 100% MS developer so I'm not some Linux bigot. But c'mon! Your're buying this stuff hook, line and sinker. Are you honestly going to sit around for the next 3-5 years with your thumbs up your bum saying "Well, golly gee! Longhorn's gonna fix this problem right good!"

Maybe it will; maybe it won't. Microsoft said OLE was going to solve all of our problems. It didn't.
Microsoft said COM was going to solve all of our problems. It didn't.

Now MS is saying that Longhorn, Avalon, WinFX, XAML, yada yada yada is going to solve all of those problems. Spare me the drivel!

Spare me
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Is anyone else tired of hearing this crap?"

You're not alone in feeling this way. The clutching at whatever Microsoft has promised in the future is honestly embarrassing.

Oh god, splooge, I can't wait to write all my apps in XUL and to use Java Webdeploy!  It's gonna change everything!

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

When I refer to being saved from HTML hell, I did use the personal pronoun. I don't expect Longhorn to fix everything in the world. I do expect that not long afterwards, some sites I use (say, Amazon) will move forward and allow me a better shopping experience.

Users want mobility? Sure. They also want apps that work well and are fast and easy to use. I picked out something on the micro scale to make the point that even something so trivial takes a lot of effort.

And it's not just MS that can provide this (saving me from HTML). Macromedia had a shot for a while with Flash, but they messed that opportunity up. MS has the resources to provide great tools and to convince enough people to go along with it.

Michael Giagnocavo
Thursday, June 17, 2004

And what does Longhorn offer that Amazon couldn't achieve today by releasing a rich client Win32 app interacting with the Amazon site via SOAP? Why haven't Amazon released such a client?

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, June 17, 2004

The future is cheap.

Web applications are cheap.

Web applications win.

Sassy
Thursday, June 17, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home