The List 5

Emil reminded me of Joel Spolsky’s list of things that cannot be well done in a web application

  1. Create a fast drawing program
  2. Build a real-time spell checker with wavy red underlines
  3. Warn users that they are going to lose their work if they hit the close box of the browser
  4. Update a small part of the display based on a change that the user makes without a full roundtrip to the server
  5. Create a fast keyboard-driven interface that doesn’t require the mouse
  6. Let people continue working when they are not connected to the Internet

So lets go through them and see where we are today.

1. This one is still not yet done. I believe that with SVG, Canvas and some smart server side image processing it can be achieved. I’m just waiting for somone to do it. Doron of Mozilla fame did a simpe SVG/XBL demo. It is not very rich and I’ve seen better ones in VML (Emil: Where did WebFX Web Draw go?)

2. Emil did it!

3. Yawn.

4. This is what the whole AJAX craze is all about. Fredrik did a lot of this in the old HTC version of WebOS. I don’t know when the really usable usages began. One thing that comes to my mind is all the DHTML chats that was hyped a while back. Paul Whitrow’s NetCom comes to my mind because it was actually actively being used back then.

5. Another no brainer. Bindows is an example of a badly named product with excellent keyboard navigation.

6. This one is still missing. I guess you can achieve a lot using server side caching and do the syncing once online. TrimPaths SQL engine seems like it might be useful here. However I believe the browser architecture needs to evolve a bit to allow the user to shut down the browser and restart it in offline mode and still have access to the data (Cookie size limitation).

Conclusion. 1 and 6 remains to be fulfilled but I believe we will most likely see number 1 being implemented within a year or so by Google/Picasa or maybe Yahoo!/Flickr!. I think nr 6 do require changes to the browser model and it might take quite some time before Microsoft allows something this powerful be available to something not controlled by them.

  • Diabolics

    Shit….. I did not really belive it but…. You have really given up WoW!

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  • Craig Buchek

    Number 6 has been done:

  • Erik Arvidsson

    TiddlyWiki is nice but I’m not sure it actually solves the issue in general. It solves it for a specifix scenario and relies on the user saving the file. What I would like to see is GMail working in offline mode and then once it goes online it would sync with the server.

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