[whatwg] Why not JavaScript?

Malcolm Rowe malcolm-what at farside.org.uk
Wed Jun 9 16:37:49 PDT 2004

Ian Bicking wrote:

> Peter-Paul Koch wrote:
>> I'm confused by the paper's mention of eBay and Amazon as examples of 
>> web applications. To me, these are not applications but web sites, 
>> and they can function without JavaScript (I'm not saying they do, I'm 
>> just saying they can). 
> It's an aside, but this may be the source of some confusion in this 
> group.  I think people are coming up with two separate ideas of what a 
> web application is: one thinks of it as a server-based application 
> with a web frontend (like Amazon), another thinks of it as a whole new 
> platform for client-based applications, that do not necessarily have a 
> controlling server.  I think this is especially true when people think 
> of this in terms of competing with XAML or other rich client systems.
> My impression is that WHAT is intended to address the more traditional 
> server-based applications, allowing for richer web interfaces.  
> Perhaps it would be helpful if there was some clarification on the 
> scope of WHAT, specifically what is intended by the term "web 
> application." 

My impression is that WHAT addresses both: the Web Forms 2.0 spec 
improves the capabilities of those form-based 'web applications' that 
are implemented in terms of web pages, like Amazon and eBay, in a 
backward-compatible manner, and the Web Applications (and Web Controls?) 
specs are intended to allow applications to look more like 'regular' 
applications, presumably including things like toolbars, menu bars, and 
so on (disclaimer: I've not looked at the WebApps spec properly).

So, Web Forms 2.0, is, well, just what it says on the tin. Plus, it 
should be backward-compatible with IE6. *Some* parts of it might require 
a JavaScript 'emulation' layer for non-supporting UAs, but the majority 
of it should 'just work', albeit with a less-rich interface in 
non-supporting UAs.

Web Applications is the equivalent of XAML, XUL, and so on, though based 
around an HTML framework, and leveraging the Web Forms 2.0 spec for some 
of the content. Think of this as 'Amazon with custom chrome', possibly.


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