Kevin Lynch and Eric Hahn
Friday, April 17, 1998 by Dave Winer.
A brief DaveNet piece this morning with two very interesting emails from executives at Macromedia and Netscape.
The first message is from Kevin Lynch, Macromedia's vice-president and general manager for Internet and Multimedia Authoring Tools.
His comments are in response to Flash and PGML, 4/14/98, and reference a survey we did on vector graphics formats:
Hi Dave. The survey on Flash versus PGML is interesting, but I think it presents a conflict that isn't true or necessary.
A combination of binary and text formats (such as GIF or PNG binary formats and HTML or XML text) are used together on the web, chosen by designers according to what's most appropriate for their work. The same will be true for vector design -- both a compact binary standard and a larger text standard will be available.
Macromedia is contributing the open .swf vector format to the web, and we hope it will be widely used as the compact binary standard. Its proven performance and small size enable great designs to transmit quickly over 28.8 modems.
We also believe it's important to have a future text format for vectors. Macromedia is working to help define this and will be participating as standards working groups are formed. Such a format will be useful in allowing scripts to modify content and to exchange designs between tools.
I also believe that designers will be interested in compressing this format to the binary form to get the smallest possible size on their web pages, just as everyone compresses GIFs today.
From Eric Hahn, executive vice-president and chief technical officer at Netscape, in response to A Note to My Readers, 4/15/98, where I extol the virtues of HTTP as a protocol for talking to things that are close by, not just far away.
Here's what Eric says:
I've been thinking about the web server on the client idea for a while, too. I'm totally enamored with this approach for a few reasons:
2) The user experience is centralized in the browser (you get a uniform locator space w/ URLs, you get a common metaphor for navigation and bookmarking, etc). This has deep implications beyond UI - like the certificate infrastructure for implementing single sign-on, and the ability to use newer browser stuff like RDF across applications, not just the web.
3) It works off-line since presumably the server's store can be managed on a local drive (ask all of the "server-based xxx" companies what they do for us poor laptop users on the airplane...)
4) You can run the server in the cloud, if you want - but you don't have to. You can also leave your desktop turned on when you travel and log into the app remotely if you prefer. This might imply some replication/sync between servers, but that is exactly the place to do it (not at the UI-laden client where it is commonly done today).
Anyway, I think this is a very important software architecture.
PS: It needs a name ("client-client", "cerver", ad nauseum)
I've been really busy writing software this week, but I have a couple of pieces I want to do, and haven't had time to write them. So here's what I would say, very briefly.
First, congratulations to Apple for the second consecutive profitable quarter. I've been the first to say that one quarter of good results is easy to achieve especially after a few losing quarters. Sustained profitability for Apple is a good thing, not just for Apple shareholders, but for anyone with an investment in diversity in the software world.
So many people dis the Mac, but we continue to invest in the platform because Mac users are like none other in the world and their creativity and support is very valuable to us.
Second, I want tell you that Frontier is ten years old this month. It's by far the longest software project I've ever worked on. What a trip!
Now I have to get back to work.
Have a grrrreat Friday!
PS: Extol means to praise highly.
PPS: UI stands for user interface.