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Subject:

State of software (was Re: Announcement: Microsoft and DataChannel Co-Develop Java

From:

Peter Flynn <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 21 Aug 1998 23:32:12 +0100

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At 15:24 21/08/98 +0000, Simon wrote:
>There are a lot of days I wish I was a rocket scientist (or even a computer
>scientist) so I could build this stuff. About a year ago I was proposing a
>simple XML/CSS browser project on the WWWAC list (for NYC Web folk) but
>couldn't find any takers, and I don't have enough programming skills or time
>to do it myself.

We need another Marc Andreessen (but one that will read the spec :-)

>It seems like all the parts needed for a browser are readily available in
>Java,

Not for anything that will process at an acceptable rate. Both big
browsers currently plod along like you're stirring setting concrete,
even on a 266MHz Pentium, and they're in (presumably optimized)
compiled C/C++.

Hey, maybe it's all a CIA plot, and they're written in Dartmouth BASIC...

>and a lot more parts are available in Mozilla if you want to go that
>route. It seems like there's a fairly large opening for an XML/CSS browser
>that's wide open and not getting any attention from the major vendors.

Even more for an XML/XSL beast. CSS is quick and simple, but it's not
really up to robust formatting standards.

>it's not an _easy_ task, but I suspect people might even be willing to _pay_
>for such a thing, at least for a while.

Sore point. Look at all the suckers who paid for browsers that were riddled
with bugs, and for which there were no fixes for years. I'll pay for a
browser that works, sticks to the spec, does the job properly, and has
been written by someone who actually knows something about type and design
(oh yes, and for which there are bug fixes).

>I was hoping that some company would
>take on this project, or that some crazy genius off in a corner would just
>build it, but so far no one's come forward to take advantage of what I see as
>a _gigantic_ opening in the market.

There's been a big gap in the market for six years for a math browser
but no-one has plugged that yet either. At a conservative estimate
there are about a million serious math-using people on the net, and
I would have thought it worth someone's while to implement a browser
that did (at worst) HTML3 math and at best ISO12083 or MathML or even
EuroMath. A million customers at $9.99 a head is $10M.

>Waiting for the big vendors is getting XML pretty much nowhere. I've never
>been know to be patient, but I'm really starting to wonder.

I'm doing a tutorial on XML Tools for the XML'98/MT'98 meetings in
Chicago (Nov 15-20). It will be interesting to see if any vendors
have anything more worth discussing than what is available now.

///Peter
--
Data cannot be used at a finer grain than it is marked up for.


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