On June 1st, W3C are running a workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents. Some of the participants seem to think the two are linked, and it is no surprise to see it is being held at Adobe's offices, given their interests in pushing PDF (Compound Documents) Forms (Web Applications) as the platform of the future. Adobe's vision of a future of applications built on Compound Documents seems as absurd to me as Macromedia's vision of a future of applications built on Vector Animations.
Microsoft's two position papers strike me as arrogant. With no substance, they might as well have just said We're Microsoft, give us a place at your workshop. Or else.
Most of the submissions talk about Compound Documents, which don't interest me so much, and a few of them seem to get sucked into making tenuous links between Compound Documents and Web Applications without substantiating them. I guess they just felt as confused as I do about the lumping of the subjects together and felt the need to appear knowledgable.
I had to laugh at the title of Laszlo's submission: The Future of the Web is not the Past of Windows. I thought for a minute they were going to launch into an attack XAML's obvious origins as a thin XML layer over MFC (AKA a thin C++ layer over the Win32 API). But sadly they are just pushing Macromedia's applications as Vector Animation bandwagon. Standard Widgets? We don't want standard widgets, we want graphic designers who make every app look and feel completely alien compared with everything you've used before. Pretty, yes. Practical, no. They have their place in advertising, games, marketing, interfaces that are fairly straightforward and difficult to get lost in, but for serious business apps, sorry but we need standards.
I believe you missed an important point in Laszlo's position paper:
"A platform for web applications must provide standard UI components for application developers to be productive in assembling standard application elements; however, those components must be examples of what is possible in the environment, rather than the extent of what is possible."
Laszlo Presentation Server comes with a complete set of standard widgets. These have a different appearance than Windows, Mac or Linux, but I expect that any business user will recognize them and know how to use them on sight.
-- Sarah Allen, Laszlo Systems>
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