Trying to serve up dynamic content? Well you have tons of solutions out there. You can use PHP, Java, Perl, Ruby and Python to create web pages. You can call CGIs, run a J2EE server, use WebObjects, or just roll your own. The most important thing is just getting the good results.

The other day I needed to get the result of making transparent PNG files work with Windows Explorer version 5.x. It turned out that the simplest solution was to use something called an HTML Component or HTC file. Microsoft claims these are just ordinary HTML files, but if you look inside one you’ll see a few lines of non-ordinary HTML in there. They probably won’t work on anything but Explorer, but then again I only had a problem with Explorer anyway.

Now a website is reached through a web server (such as Apache), which responds to web addresses. And for that you need DNS. So it turns out that to develop any kind of solution you are always relying on a horde of software to play nice together.

Some people rejoice in the variety of tools available and I’m one of them. But the good results are what I’m really concerned about. And the problem with the web is that everything comes down to the browser. The browser is the wascally wabbit. They are moving targets. They are huge programs trying to do everything and keep moving with the technologies.

What I’m hoping we’ll see in the future of the web is the demise of the browser and the rise of web applications specifically targeted for their jobs. To very loosely paraphrase Douglas Adams, the web browser just implements a sales brochure. I’d like to see the internet grow out of the browser.

rant, technology

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