[whatwg] Why not JavaScript?

liorean liorean at f2o.org
Wed Jun 9 21:23:32 PDT 2004

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Jun 2004, liorean wrote:
>>Document versus application:
>>This distinction I feel is pretty clear. A document is a single content instance, which means data, possibly with presentational hints, behavior and functionality attached to it, but everything essentially only related to the content. An application on the other hand is user interface, with less connection to content and more connection to user interaction and handling of user input that is not content related. What this essentially means is that it handles I would call perishable interactions, that are not persistent in a content instance, which they would be in the document.
> I think there is no distinction. It's a spectrum, with "document" at one end (pure text maybe with semantic markup, no hyperlinks, no forms, like this e-mail) and "application" at the other end (sophisticated UI, high levels of interaction, like Microsoft Word or Quake III Arena). See also the start of http://ln.hixie.ch/?start=1086052347&count=1 .

I didn't really mean a distinction in that a resource is either a document or application, because I see no such border. I see a distinction between the two, however, cathegorically. An application deals with the user interface, a document deal with the content. You can make an application that is not a document, or a document that is not an application. However, as I hope I made clear, I consider a document to be a single instance of self contained content. If you disable all external connections of any kind from a document, and render it, you'll still get the content rendered. (Well, except for references to external content, since you have no longer any access to that.) A web application, on the other hand, would not work if you severed all it's connections. The form field example I used, where we have what I consider a single web application, with multiple documents, is in the low end of the application spectrum. For a site such as Google, there is not much control over 
it's user interactions or user interface. For that Flash game example, on the other hand, we have it very much in the other end of the spectrum. The Flash file is still a document, and in this case it's a single document, but it's also an application. These are, from my viewpoint, orthogonal concepts. The distinction lies in what belongs on either axis.

What I really mean is, the concepts are unrelated. An application may be multiple or single documents, or not really fit with the document notion at all. A document may be part of an application or even contain an application, or be just a document. However, the concepts of document and application are still separate in that the document is a single content entity, while the application is a behavior or functionality, which may be a small part of a document, an entire document, or multiple documents.

David "liorean" Andersson

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