While there have been some significant advances in what web browsers can do, there is still something very wrong with the way the world wide web functions today.
Any developer comfortable using gui toolkits such as QT or wxWidgets, may have had a similar feeling when making a web application:
Why, oh why, are we still using TEXT markup language to define how a website looks, which has now evolved from being almost purely text only, with here and there an image, to full-fledged gui’s similar to desktop applications.
– warning –
Some not-very-well thought-out brainstorming follows below
– warning –
With the inflow of “new” web technologies to make web applications more interactive, we have reached a point where we are totally abusing the text markup languages out there (HTML,XHTML,CSS,etc…) to create GUI’s that really SHOULD be made using GUI toolkits.
When using flash, you are using a technology within a technology within a technology ( an applet within a *HTML page within a browser….) that also happens to be proprietary, managed by one corporate entity, instead of an open standards committee, etc,…
I don’t feel that a browser plugin is the way to fix this problem. It feels like embedding a desktop application inside a word document. It just doesn’t feel right.
What I’d like to see, is a reinvented concept of a ‘web page’, where the ‘page’ or application can either run inside or outside of the web browser (directly launched from the “start menu” or cli or whatever you like to use to launch applications). The code would not be executed on your machine, but instead you would be running some kind of a service that provides gui rendering capabilities to the application running on the ‘web server’. Similar to how an X-server has X-clients (gui applications) running on it. There could be applications that act as search engines, just like now we have web pages that act as search engines.
Developing for the web should feel like developing any other gui application, since in the end, these days, that’s what you’re making!
I think we should stop extending our text markup languages, and start anew with a gui standard/language/layer.
The current markup stuff could run inside the outer GUI layer, NOT the other way around like it is now.