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back to article Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

It took the United States eight years to put a man on the Moon. That was time between John F Kennedy’s call to Congress in 1961 and Neil Armstrong getting his boots dirty on the lunar surface, in July 1969 – 45 years ago this month. Yet it took 17 years, from the start of CSS, to get widespread support for custom fonts in HTML …

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We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.

Under ten years of research, probably 4 years of fiddling with "live" sub-nets, and about a year of the entire research network just working. Not a hiccup on Flag Day (January 1, 1983). Everything still worked nicely, right from the git-go. Granted, most users of TehIntraWebTubes had clues back then. Today? Maybe not so much.

Maybe the 17 years from the start of CSS to get widespread support for custom fonts is because custom fonts and CSS in general is really not all that important?

99.99% of everything useful on the internet is ASCII text. Most of the rest is crap.

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Re: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.

NCP could only address 256 hosts. It's hardly a comparable problem to changing an Internet standard today.

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@Scott Wheeler (was: Re: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.)

And the Hosts could address how many users? And how many NCP "256 host" networks could talk to each other? Was a rather large system around 1979/1980 ...

The point is that it's not exactly insurmountable ... given an intelligent userbase. Which we don't have, alas ... The one thing missing is a method of undermining human idiocy.

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JLV
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WTF?

Re: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.

>CSS in general is really not all that important

Yeah, right.

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Re: @Scott Wheeler (was: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.)

You're comparison is invalid, as you're attempting to equate two very different control structures: your network was centrally managed, with a dedicated team of engineers whose job it was to maintain it. They decide to switch from NCP on a date, and so the effort is coordinated so that this happens. Precisely because you controlled your entire network, there was no engineering team who could decide to not participate because "NCP is fine for us".

There is no such Central Command for "the Web", and that's why it takes so long to change things - nobody can tell people what to do with their own software and servers (an idea I thought would appeal to you, oddly enough). This has absolutely zero to with how intelligent you perceive the users to be: I very much doubt you worked in the only large organisation in history to not employ what you (wrongly) term "idiot users" who had difficulty in adapting to the new networking.

The other failure of your analogy is that your changes represented a binary switch from one distinct state to another, and these two states were incompatible. You presented users with a stark choice: fall in line, or lose all internetworking. Web technologies don't work like that: instead, it's, "upgrade, or you don't see the fancy typeface". Web browsers are written on the principle of being liberal in what they accept, and making the best of whatever document is given to them.

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@ Kristian Walsh (was: Re: @Scott Wheeler (was: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.))

You are so far out of reality that I don't know where to start ... However:

"centrally managed, with a dedicated team of engineers whose job it was to maintain it."

Totally incorrect. It was a research network, built to research networking. Grad students made changes as we saw fit. Stuff that worked stuck. Stuff that didn't work was discarded. Nobody was "in charge". There was no "dedicated team of engineers". Including the TCP/IP swapover from NCP. We just did it. And it worked, for the most part, in spite of ourselves.

The "Web" is ephemeral at best, and mostly useless. Transporting ones & zeros, on the other hand ... well, it seems to me that TCP/IP kinda works. Sorta, ish, if you squint.

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I think you've missed the real problems

1)IP - people trying to sneak in IP that will cost everyone other than the patent troll.

2) The desire to prevent the web developing and wiping out certain 'markets'. We've had the ability to do 95% of what WEB2 will offer since the early naughties. But with resistance to getting true OO into ECMAscript and wysiwig IDE's that write shit proprietary code (and encouraged a generation of web developers to believe in KIS (Keep It Stupid)) the implementation of what was possible 20 years ago is few and far between.

We can edit web code in the browser (Orion, ckeditor) With OpenGL directly accessing GPU's we should be able to do graphics editing in the browser (like we could with SVG), sound seems to be pretty sell taken care of now.

The only reason we dont ditch the desktop for the browser in the next couple of years is there are still a few elephants redesigning the wheel so its got more spokes they can shove sticks through. Getting custom fonts into standards is not a great technical achievement - it is, however, a level of patience and tenacity that make Job and Sisyphus look like someone swapped their Ritalin for speed and I congratulate the standards body for getting there without beating their own brains out on their desks.

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Anonymous Coward

Correction for you

" you can use <google-maps> element exactly as show above in any web browser today"

Shown.

Cheers!

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"Never in the short history of the web have web developers had such power given to them"

Oh yes. Quite.

Yep, web developers. More about web developers. Web developers? We've got web developers covered! Hey look, a web developer.

The entire article is about web developers, but the web is for users. Users are the bottom line, but that's skimmed over in the author's sugar rush of new toys. I do not trust web devs to do the right thing with new tech - far from it, given the over-complex crap they churn out now with no understanding of usability or security, which is then signed off my managers with even less clue.

A pox on (most of) them.

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Re: "Never in the short history of the web have web developers had such power given to them"

>given the over-complex crap the Adobe tools churn out for the "developer" now with no understanding of usability or security (or code in general),

FIFY.

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New elements

If a web developer creates a 'new element', does this require any changes to my browser or its plugins?

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Coat

As long as you include <nsa-access> by default, you're good.

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Anonymous Coward

hooray...

.. so is this a new way to sneak trackers and advertising into my browser? :-)

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FAIL

Okay...

... so when can we dump the nightmare that is javascript and get a proper language for web development? Something that supports basic things like inheritance, object-orientation, interfaces...

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Re: Okay...

Like proper Java then?

<ducks for cover as missiles start heading in my direction>

Mines the one with lots of kevlar.---->

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Okay...

"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California" - attributed to Edsger Dijkstra

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsger_W._Dijkstra

There are times when I'm tempted to agree :)

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Re: Okay...

Depends how far down that road one goes, I suppose.

C to C++ was a good and healthy step. But add in a few more steps, a leap and a bound or two and we've arrived at the bloated mess that is .Net

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Re: Okay...

"...and we've arrived at the bloated mess that is .Net"

I disagree. It doesn't usually take a lot of looking to find out how to do things; and there's a lot of functionality. Reflection is an amazing tool which you don't have anything even comparible with in C++.

Personally, I think .NET is one of the cleanest APIs I've ever used (it's not perfect, but what is?). Sure it'll have a lot of functionality you generally won't use day to day, but that one time you need it, you'll be glad it's there.

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Just as long as <font size = x etc > keeps working for a decade or so more

Depreciation - we've heard of it !

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Something's wrong here.

Isn't "curing the common cold" the usual absurd comparison to the space program?

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Paris Hilton

Neil Armstrong getting his boots dirty on the lunar surface

I read this first as "Neil Armstrong getting his dirty booty on the lunar surface."

I know this adds nothing to the discussion.

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To be fair

If President Clinton had tasked the whole US government and industrial complex with getting custom HTML fonts, it probably would have happened more quickly. The two are not really comparable for (but not limited to) that reason alone.

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Re: To be fair

Then the US fonts would all have broken after 10 years, and every web page would now be in Cyrillic

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Nobody knows de trouble I seen...

"Even if you were going to only support browsers that update every six weeks, like Chrome and Firefox, you’re still waiting a minimum of 24 weeks for new features to progress from experimental builds to actually shipping."

Oh boo friggin' hoo. IE6 hung around so long it had barnacles! Cry me a river...

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Is this yet another plot to make browsers and websurf even slower and more bloated than it already is? :(

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The issue with this article is that the article has issues

"Part of the problem is that neither standards bodies nor browser makers are made up of web developers and there's often a considerable disconnect between what developers want and what standards bodies and browser makers focus their attention on."

Please stop paying your writers by the word.

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Headmaster

Re: The issue with this article is that the article has issues

Nothing there that couldn't be solved by a few well placed commas.

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