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Why the browser?

First of all... 3 guesses what Joel has been doing lately. Rants like that come out of you because you're working on something.

Secondly, why does this all need to happen in the browser? HTTP is stateless, HTML is limited in what it can do. Why try to build on something that's not really intended to work that way anyway?

Maybe it's his "never rewrite code" ethic, or maybe it's just because the browser is what's in front of your face, but why not make something out of VB, or what's that stupid .net thing you have to download to run any application written in the past 6 months? For something so big, why not just add in enough to let it talk to servers and download the front end to apps instead of them being on your desktop?

In other words, instead of making a richer browser, make a more internet friendly VB or .Net or whatever. Maybe I lack the technical precision with which to express my ideas here, but I think you get the idea of what I'm saying.

The internet started as people logging in to other computers, newsgroups, IRC, etc. The web is a relatively recent invention. It seems like we're afraid of shaking things up again and we're content to sit in our browser based worlds and complain about how little browsers do when in reality they're just fancy text readers.

Instead of creating a more application friendly browser, why not create a more internet friendly application set?

At one of my places of employ, applications were kept on a central server & delivered to you as you needed them. Since on a LAN you don't pay for bandwidth, hard drive are slower than the network, and you can easily keep adding bandwidth & servers as needed, this worked out nicely. You couldn't even tell the application was being served up from a different floor. Following Joel's "There's no such thing as bloatware" ethic, why not applications that do largely the same thing.

Does anyone remember when flash first arrived on the scene? It was cool because you could send the mathematical formulas for geometric shapes and it would render them without having to download the bit map of every single frame. Why can't we create a set of tools that do essentially the same thing? All the buttons & pull downs, and such of an application, but driven by a server. You're not downloading the application, just the interface, and really, just the instructions for creating the interface.

After all, isn't this what you're asking the browser to do anyway?

You have the chasm of browser on one side, and rich applications on the other. Who said the bridge had to be built from the browser side only?

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, June 18, 2004

Everyone seems to be misunderstanding Joel's latest article. 

He's not saying the browser is better than rich client apps. He's lamenting the fact that development has moved to the browser and web applications are what we are going to get.

"Much as I hate to say it, a huge chunk of developers have long since moved to the web and refuse to move back. "

Matthew Lock
Friday, June 18, 2004

Actually, I shot that off after reading this comment on Slashdot:

http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=111332&cid=9446832

Though I still don't want a newer breed of browser that creates popups that I can't kill with ALT+TAB, ALT+F4 or CTRL+W because the browser took over my whole keyboard, as he wants.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, June 18, 2004

"First of all... 3 guesses what Joel has been doing lately. Rants like that come out of you because you're working on something"

He'd better be. From the looks of http://discuss.fogcreek.com/CityDesk/ either Citydesk users are very laid back, or there aren't very many left. Now the FogBUGZ franchize is under major attack: Not only Microsoft, but even old brothers in arms like http://www.sourcegear.com/ or having a go at commoditizing this space.
Can't wait to find out what he is up to. He's sure pissed at MS, but obviously finding out that cross-browser Webapps aren't all that great either.
It would be weird if in the end he became a born-again Java convert though.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, June 18, 2004

"Though I still don't want a newer breed of browser that creates popups that I can't kill with ALT+TAB, ALT+F4 or CTRL+W because the browser took over my whole keyboard, as he wants."

Why do you have to kill popups? With a modern browser like Mozilla/Firefox, you wont get popups.

popups are not a web or browser problem. They are an IE problem.

fool for python
Friday, June 18, 2004

You're right. I haven't seen a popup in months.

BUT, if you give the browser as much control as Joel wants it to have, not only will it be able to pop up, it'll turn on your webcam and snap a photo of you in your underwear, and make you pay $2000 for them not to post it to their website.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, June 19, 2004

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