Paul writes that innovation in the browser ain’t dead yet. I agree. From a distributed systems POV, I think there’s two important things that need to happen to the browser, in addition to the richer languages that Paul talks about (and don’t forget about RDF and OWL!);

  • making the browser a peer
  • allowing the browser to own application state

The former deals with integrating a Web server into the Web browser, enabling the “Two Way Web”, like KnowNow and Idokorro (my company) do.

The latter, related to the former, suggests that cookies can be replaced by purely client-side application state. What this would look like, is that you’d drag-and-drop items from a browser window into a desktop-located container – for example, a shopping basket – and then to check out, you drag the container back to the page. This keeps the session state – the basket – on the client, per REST’s Stateless constraint. This would require an extension to HTML/XHTML to support draggable objects, as well as a means to support file upload via a drop action (i.e. targetted at some element on the page).

WS-I released the first draft of the Basic Profile today. I don’t know how they manage to write so much about something that isn’t necessary; you wouldn’t need profiles if interoperability were well defined. It seems to be purely a political move to bundle specs together so that the technology doesn’t look like it could be easily marginalized (though it can).

I mean, really, why on earth does anybody need to specify the possible HTTP response codes to be used, when HTTP clients can already deal with all of them (even if only to fallback to x00)?

And cookies for state management? Puh-leeze! Cookies are a hack, and only make any kind of sense when you’re dealing with an installed base (browsers) that support them. Remove the browser, and you could do state management properly, on the client (and only on the client) instead of the server. This is Distributed Systems 101 stuff here, sheesh.

Sigh. It disappoints me to think of all the time and money the industry is wasting on this.