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  1. #1
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    The End of New Web Design?

    The browser wars are over. The market is being dominated by boring standards-compliance. The dominant leader is so comfortable with its position that it's tossing a bone to its competitors by reducing the extent to which the product is tied with Windows. Netscape ahs been available for a year and doesn't seem to have a hope or a prayer of surpassign Netscape 4 in market share.

    And the browsers are stagnating. While the W3C certainly hasn't slowed down - it's making more recommendations than ever before - the browser companies have. I recall the dawn of Internet Explorer 3 - it was revolutionary. Although I wasn't completely sold on this whole 'css thing' at the time, I thought it was 'kinda neat'. Well, it's taken five years for Microsoft to implement those CSS standards. The implementation is the centerpiece of an otherwise lackluster version upgrade - the sixth edition of Internet Explorer. How long it takes to acheive complete CSS2 support (and whether that's even a desirable goal) is up to interpretation. What isn't is that the pace of innovation on the part of Microsoft's Windows Internet Explorer team has slowed considerably. This showpiece product is not only being shown up by the IE Mac team, but it's also being superceded by the open-source Mozilla and the ever-so-small Opera. Microsoft is falling behind and they know it won't matter for the sake of their market share.

    For end users, the additions are similairly lackluster - the automatic resizing of images as the major bullet point? Excuse me. This is a problem because it creates no insentive for users to upgrade to the most recent release of the browser. As such, Microsoft's decision to follow the standards route is a lot less incredible if this is the last standard they'll implement for years to come. The pace of onnovation seems to have slowed to the point where adding a couple of CSS features is considered good.

    Will the day ever come when we start to see CSS3, SVG, full XSLT/XML support and the like in Internet Explorer? Sure. Will it come soon? Not bloody likely ...

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Exactly what sort of "amazing upgrades" are you looking for prowsej? I'm not saying that there is nothing left to add to a browser, but what else is there to add to a browser?

    You know what I mean? It's like a person who has been given a free car and is still not satisfied. Sure, it might not be a Ferrari but it does it's job and does it well.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    Well said creole. There's always going to be new things to add to browsers. People just have to think them up. Just like (sorry, the name escapes me) the director of the U.S. Patent office said in 1899: "everything that can possibly be invented all ready has been." Sorry if it's not verbatim, but it's close. Just give it time, or think up something yourself. We'll always find new features until the day browsers are obselete. And that goes for everything besides browsers as well.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    browsers,schmowsers

    I'm starting to think that commerce will eventually drive the need for standards compliance because that's the best way you are going to be able to push your online product to the various devices that will be connected to the Internet and still have it looking slick at the user end.
    Microsoft's dragging of its heels with IE will become irrelevant as browsers become a relic of the Internet=home PC age.
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  5. #5
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    I have no idea what this "new web design" is, or how it's going to end if the browsers are (supposedly) stagnating, which they aren't. In any case, all you need to design is a graphics program and some <img src=>'s: the latest version of CSS is not necessary for good design.

    Most importantly, the browser wars are sure as hell not over. I don't know if you've done any scripting, but the market is quite a ways from reaching this "boring standards-compliance" of which you speak.

  6. #6
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    You think Opera is superceeding IE??

    I used Opera for a little while and got rid of it.

    IE has more features and is slicker overall. I think MS has done a great job at innovating. Heck, they made the web what it is and changed the world!
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    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    " Heck, they made the web what it is and changed the world!"

    Eh, no. The web would be almost exactly the same if IE didn't exist, just a little less CSS.

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    You also have to consider the overall contribution they made to personal computing.

    With the advdent of Win '95 a whole new market of PC buyers opened up. There's been no looking back since.

    MS released a whole onslaught of useful software that made owning a PC more desirable. They marketed them in a way so that people who had no interest in owning a computer before, now wanted one for the convenience it could provide. This naturally led millions to the internet.

    Without Explorer, I dare say that web technologies would not be close to where they are today. MS made everyone work VERY hard to try and be the best.

    I think they made a tremendous contribution to computing the way it is today.

    Sure, the web would still be here but in what form? We can't say. All we can do is speculate.

    Off topic debate mode/OFF
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot honging's Avatar
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    I really don't think the next wave of webdesign is going to matter so much on browsers. I really think that server-side languages and the integration of all the current technologies on the serverside is really going to define the future.

    The browser side will remain sufficient for me as long as imgs and tables are supported

    and when peopel start getting on broadband in masses, then the real design innovation will begin.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by honging
    and when peopel start getting on broadband in masses, then the real design innovation will begin.
    When broadband actually becomes a viable option in about five years today's web design will look quaint by comparison. Today, one person can create a professional web site. With broadband, that won't be possible. I think that we're already starting to see the future come about with Flash. And it's great on the technical side. However, it seems inevitable that in about five years the current idea of having a URL for every page on the internet will be gone. Either pages will be generated on the fly so that persistent URLs are a thing of the past or technologies like Flash and Frames and such will have expanded to the point where URLs nolonger work they way we're accustomed. And that's a real shame.

    And I think that HTML is inherently superior to something like Flash for usability terms, but that it will ultimately loose out.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Uh... never mind, I was going to post a long winded answer, but I figure it's not worth it, it will all be mentioned eventually anyways...

    So, why am I posting this at all then? Uh [back]
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict five40's Avatar
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    Of course new features are cool, but perhaps some browser manufacturers should consider of putting their browsers on a diet. They are still too big.
    "-Surely you can't be serious ?
    -Yes I am serious...and don't call me Shirley."

  13. #13
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    Oh, they put you in charge of deciding what's too big?
    ck :: bringing chris to the masses.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    hey prowsej, the basis of HTML, SGML, will live on in XML. Flash is a very specific technology developed to present nice Multimedia in todays low bandwidth, browsers and PCs/Apples environment. Frames are just a feature used mostly because of ignorance or lazyness and I'm sure they're on the wane.

    XML comes with a language called XSL that basically allows you to transform any XML document into all sorts of different kind of formats. At the moment it's most obviously being used to transform to HTML but it will also adapt to the formats of the future (eg WML). This means you can store your data reliably once on your XML file and then deliver that data anywhere, with any look, combined with any other data and deliver any discrete part of the data you've predefined. It's this flexibility that I'm convinced will win through for your big ecommerce players.

    Unfortunately it probably does put lots one man band HTML design outfits in a tricky situation as developing sites in the future will only get more and more complex.
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  15. #15
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    the future is so bright....

    every time i read threads like this i often think about 50's sci-fi movies... you know... where everything is so... well, FUTURISTIC! and then i look around me and see buildings that are 500 years old or turntables or K-Marts ( sorry, Big Ks) and remember that most people don't understand, or for that matter, GIVE A DAMN about technology. it's just something that happens... like driving your car.

    Sure, an all-encompassing browser would make life better... FOR PEOPLE WHO CARE! but you have to ask yourself something, "what do most people want from the Internet?"

    INFORMATION.

    i think that you can sit around (like me) and write/read stuff like this makes you pretty lucky just to understand that life is moving forward, with or without you AND even luckier than the 90% of the people out there don't even understand what "HTML" means.

    HoTMaiL? right?
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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by pony
    hey prowsej, the basis of HTML, SGML, will live on in XML. Flash is a very specific technology developed to present nice Multimedia in todays low bandwidth, browsers and PCs/Apples environment. Frames are just a feature used mostly because of ignorance or lazyness and I'm sure they're on the wane.
    If you look at a a lot of web-design magazines they've basically categorized the future into warring factions - those like Microsoft who wish to support DHTML and those like Macromedia who are pushing alternate formats for the web. People haven't accepted that HTML inherently doesn't provide the level of control over presentation that they're used to in the print world. What we've seen with HTML hasn't been in efforts aimed at improving the basic structure of the language, it's been in improving the presentation of pages.

    Ultimately, the web will never be primarily based on XML since that enables people to steal content too easily. People don't want other sites to include their content and if they do there's always the likes of RSS. There's a large number of mildely computer-literate people who've learned HTML. XML is fundamentally too complex to attract these people (and they don't write well-formed XHTML). For these reasons I don't see XML taking over - I see the web fragmenting horribly.

  17. #17
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    Hehehe - I still don't understand the purpose of XHTML - not that I've tried to hard. But if it means that browsers aren't allowed to fix pooly formed HTML as they do now, then that's just sill. But like I said, I don't really understand what its all about - probably because I am a hacker and don't deal with html much.

    With regard to XML never replacing HTML, well I think you will find that as XML becomes used more widely it will be on ther server side of things. XML is a very neat way of bundling up data for transporting accross a network. But I agree that you wouldn't want to be sending that data off through the internet as XML for the reasons exmplained (leeching). However, you will see more and more, data being communicated accross intrnets using XML and then being transformed into HTML or other formats for delivery to a client accross the internet.

    honging is right in that it is the way the content gets generated that has been where all the action has been going on in the last few years.

    You know, I picked up an old Linda Wienman book the other day - probably circa 1997 and thumbed through it. Made me all nostalgic for the good old days pre-CSS.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    Nice points about xml freaky (can I call you freaky?).
    Yeah, the more I dig into the whole XHTML thing the more odd it seems. It seems to have been conceived as a nursery slope for html coders to get used to writing well formed documents before they get down to tackling xml. In that respect it has worked for me to a certain extent but it has no noticeable benefits in terms of displaying contents.

    prowsej - I don't think it's a matter of the web 'fragmenting horribly', it's just going to be horses for courses. Large data driven sites/portals that have the resource to employ a full development team will increasingly go down the xml route. Smaller concerns and personal sites will still be easier to do as just (X)HTML.

    I don't think you're right about security concerns regarding content and XML. If anything it's more difficult to rip off because it doesn't just sit on the one file. You need the XML file and its schema before you can make any real sense of the content.

    Also content sourcing using XML is already happening in a number of portal in a box products available now. An example of how these work is if you wanted to include up to date weather reports on your intranet - you get the feed from a weather source and 'transform' it to fit nicely with your intranet design - all in real time. You can do the same with news.

    What is RSS? I don't think I've heard of that?

    Sorry one last thing - Dreamweaver has the best support for DHTML of any WYSIWYG so I'm not sure I understand your Microsoft-dhtml vs. Macromedia-others distinction.
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  19. #19
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    Also content sourcing using XML is already happening in a number of portal in a box products available now. An example of how these work is if you wanted to include up to date weather reports on your intranet - you get the feed from a weather source and 'transform' it to fit nicely with your intranet design - all in real time. You can do the same with news.
    I'd like to try sme of those portal in a box products. Could you recommend one?

    This is RSS:
    RDF Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforming to the W3C's RDF Specification. RSS is extensible via XML-namespace and/or RDF based modularization.

    An RSS summary, at a minimum, is a document describing a "channel" consisting of URL-retrievable items. Each item consists of a title, link, and brief description. While items have traditionally been news headlines, RSS has seen much repurposing in its short existence.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rss-de...ification.html

    For an example of RSS, http://my.userland.com used to be up (haven't checked it in a couple years)

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard Goof's Avatar
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    Well, prowse was right about one thing. IE 5.5 for PC sucks compared to Mac IE 4.5! Why don't we get all the cool interface things and the Scrapbook and Pageholder features? We're using Microsoft's own OS and we don't get the new stuff? Wudup wid dat?!

    Goof
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  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict Seer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Goof
    Well, prowse was right about one thing. IE 5.5 for PC sucks compared to Mac IE 4.5! Why don't we get all the cool interface things and the Scrapbook and Pageholder features? We're using Microsoft's own OS and we don't get the new stuff? Wudup wid dat?!

    Goof
    I'll have to take a look at that one next time i'm in the computer store.. I find myself checking to make sure no one's watching when I go to the Mac section, I feel like such a traitor.
    Everything has been figured out, except how to live. - Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    Autonomy are the company who use the term 'portal in a box' as a trademark:
    http://www.autonomy.com/autonomy_v3/...rtal-in-a-Box/

    But there is also:
    http://www.citrix.com/products/productXPS/default.asp

    They do tend to be incredibly expensive and sold to big corporate or geovernment clients only.

    Thanks for the stuff on RSS.
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot Paul_M's Avatar
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    Hi all...

    Jaldi-in-a-box is a portal in a box sort of thing.....
    but its for smaller sites
    it costs about $250 but its only available in asia (i think)

    more details

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by Goof
    Well, prowse was right about one thing. IE 5.5 for PC sucks compared to Mac IE 4.5! Why don't we get all the cool interface things and the Scrapbook and Pageholder features? We're using Microsoft's own OS and we don't get the new stuff? Wudup wid dat?!

    Goof
    You all do realize that the title of this article was a reference to Jakob's Article?

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    Goof, just wait a few more months until XP. You'll get your customization features...

    ... although it's another Windows consumer OS -- I can't say I'm extremely excited....

    ::cough::
    Colin Anderson
    Ambition is a poor excuse for those without
    sense enough to be lazy.


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