Fed up with the web

Keith Hodges Keith.Hodges at warwick.ac.uk
Fri May 26 01:10:27 UTC 2006

Dear Squeakers and Tweakers,

I have been charged with building a website for a creative arts group,
and I have to say I am fed up with the web, web2.0, AJAX, even Seaside
(sorry avi) and all the rest.

Its a long story I have been coding javascript in a little gizmo called
TiddlyWiki for a year or so to try and do something a little clever with
Web Browsers as a client, to be honest its hard work. This week I was
looking at Laszlo a fairly cool tool (though on the same day I found a
book about Laszlo son of Dracula which didn't bode well). In Laszlo you
throw together an XML file which reflects the structure of your UI, the
sort of thing you would do with a drag and drop GUI builder 15 years
ago, sprinkled with some javascript for defining behaviours, and pop
your data into a second XML file. This text file collection is requested
by your browser which (when developing) hits a Java Tomcat serverlet
which churns compilers for a minute or so to produce a swf file that
will run on a flash plugin (but it doesnt bother to use any features of
flash it just wants the renderer and vm). Within 1 day I find that
Laszlo cant tile a graphic as a background and I hunt around and find it
has a draw canvas that implements part of the Web Hypertext Application
Technology Working Group spec for drawing. I looked at this spec and the
future of the humble browser looks ominous, complicated is not the word
for it. In this whole venture all I am thinking is What a mess!

Then I found Tweak, and loaded a squeak image - as you do - and lo, we
launch pretty quickly dont we, compare that with mozilla or acrobat and
I am on a 500Mhz box remember the old days?

All I want is to draw a picture, display some text, and share it with my
friends. It would be nice if that text was familiar to my friends and
you could click on things the way they are used to, but thats all I am
asking for. A bit of user interactivity might be nice.

So... what would it take to simply take squeak and present it in such a
way as to be familiar to the average web browser user. Take a look a
Tweak, Large fonts and we are almost there, some form of text layout
engine, have text with inlined images and widgets. We are so close to
having something useable but we never quite make it.

thoughts anyone?


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