UC Berkeley – what I talked about
Last week, I visited Erik Wilde, Bob Glushko, and students up at Cal. No major announcements, just some sharpening of discussion points.
Since this was my first visit to Berkeley, I finally got to tell the joke “thank you for your OS”. Maybe you had to be there.
The intentional web is a formalism for describing “why the font tag is evil”. I often work with 3rd party integration languages, and the markup design is, without exception, crap. I hypothesize that the reason for this is jumping into solution-space before fully understanding problem-space. This seems to apply to lots more than just font tags; I lumped in WML and about half the world’s ajax sites for good measure.
Microformats are a formalism for describing “why creating a new markup language for my CD collection” is evil. Could XForms have been done as a microformat? No, microformats require a strong intentional foundation language, and HTML forms ain’t it. Is the proposed W3C approach an instance of “a deadly two-pronged attack”, a la Yahoo! Photos + Flickr? We’ll see. It does seem like that road leads to a namespace apocalypse, highlighting the fundamental difficulty namespaces hoists on attempts to usably extend HTML and XHTML at the same time. A namespace apocalypse may not be a bad thing.
On namespaces, I went over most of the points from my recent article. I won’t rehash that here.
What are some practical and implementation issues around XForms or the lack thereof? Focusing on mobile, as reason #1 I gave the lack of commercial-grade java browsers, discussed here previously. The state of mobile browsers is appalling, other than Opera and S60. Terms like “model” and “field” are troublesome, because the confuse the problem domain (the real world) and the solution domain (the computer). Browser vendors have been too inwardly-focused, both now and during the first attempt at salvaging HTML forms, leading to a premature jump into solution-space. But perhaps XForms dwelled for too long in the problem space…
Maybe I’ve mellowed some, but increasingly I’m able to look at both sides of issues. A useful skill for Information School students, wouldn’t you agree? -m