[thelist] Why history will repeat itself with JavaScript and the web | Technology | The Guardian

Shawn K. Quinn skquinn at speakeasy.net
Tue Oct 30 01:09:09 CDT 2007

On Thu, 2007-10-25 at 09:03 +0100, Ben Joyce wrote:
> ----- 8< -----
> Why history will repeat itself with JavaScript and the web
> As bandwidth increases, a compelling SDK should emerge that will provide
> developers with a standard interface for online apps
> ----- >8 -----
> Full story here:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/oct/25/software.it

With regard to programmers giving up on optimization: this is exactly
why we are in the sorry state of affairs we are in right now.
Programmers are counting on new PCs to be twice as fast every couple of
years and keep adding more and more bloat to keep up instead of

The issue here, as I see it, is an overdependence on electronic duck
tape (mostly Javascript). I still use a native coded e-mail application
in preference to a Web interface to e-mail, only opting for the latter
when I have no other choice and I need to check my e-mail *now*.

I also don't like the way this guy refers to "an ugly green screen: text
only".	 If it gets the job done, who cares how pretty it looks? That
mainframe sure wouldn't run any faster pushing a big honking GUI out to
the terminals. Do you want to look at cute icons and animations, or do
you want to get work done?

Interoperability in the DOS-dominated era of the PC was at least more
hopeful at times, because it was not uncommon for everyone to publish
their file formats, and a software patent encumbering the file format
was just unheard of. Now, it may not even do you any good to be able to
read the file if you have to license a patent to be able to *legally* do
so. I don't see this as a step forwards.

Joel forgets to mention the main reason you couldn't copy data between
1-2-3 and Wordperfect: only one was ever running at a time. This is the
reason TSR apps like Sidekick became so popular.

Having never actually used Gmail but having tried to use Yahoo! Mail
(one of its competitors), it seems like every new version of the latter
has been increasingly more hostile towards minimalist browsing
situations. I think now you almost get laughed at if you actually need
to check your Yahoo! Mail if you only have, say, Lynx (still in active
development!). Any other time the "Web" interface to e-mail is this
screwed up, I just ssh in and use something like mutt, or even run
something like fetchmail. Yahoo! considered this a "premium" service
last I checked.

Also, there are definite security advantages from only being able to cut
and paste plain text. Think of what a Javascript-based, cross-platform
Web worm could do, compared to the current generation of Windows worms.

Shawn K. Quinn <skquinn at speakeasy.net>

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