"The beginning of the end of the desktop"

7 Jan 2005 - 11:53pm
9 years ago
32 replies
575 reads
Listera
2004

Here's a brief, non-technical rundown of the benefits of web apps over
desktops:

<http://piecesofrakesh.blogspot.com/2005/01/web-applications-wave-of-future.
html>

I'm not promoting one or the other. (I'll post one for desktops when I can
find a suitable link.)

The author is a "web designer from Mumbai, India," which got me wandering
if designers/developers overseas are more likely to prefer web apps or
desktops, if geography makes any difference, and, if so, why?

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

Comments

9 Jan 2005 - 10:36am
Dave Malouf
2005

Ziya, when you and Rakesh speak of "web apps", do you mean "Web" as in
Http/HTML or do you mean network-based/"browser-based" and if you mean
browser, define browser? Is Central a browser for example?

Just want to clarify some thing before I barage you w/ a bunch of questions.
;)

-- dave

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesi
> gners.com
> [mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interac
> tiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Listera
> Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 11:54 PM
> To: IxD
> Subject: [ID Discuss] "The beginning of the end of the desktop"
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant
> quoted material.]
>
> Here's a brief, non-technical rundown of the benefits of web apps over
> desktops:
>
> <http://piecesofrakesh.blogspot.com/2005/01/web-applications-w
> ave-of-future.
> html>
>
> I'm not promoting one or the other. (I'll post one for
> desktops when I can
> find a suitable link.)
>
> The author is a "web designer from Mumbai, India," which got
> me wandering
> if designers/developers overseas are more likely to prefer web apps or
> desktops, if geography makes any difference, and, if so, why?
>
> Ziya
> Nullius in Verba
>
>
>
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9 Jan 2005 - 1:07pm
Listera
2004

David Heller:

> Ziya, when you and Rakesh speak of "web apps", do you mean "Web" as in
> Http/HTML or do you mean network-based/"browser-based" and if you mean
> browser, define browser? Is Central a browser for example?

(I neither agree nor disagree with Rakesh, he can speak for himself. I
merely pointed to him.)

With web apps, I think he is referring to apps that run in a web browser
with an HTML rendering engine using DHTML/JavaScript, which would disqualify
Central for example.

Semantically we could split hairs here by declaring, for example, Photoshop
to be a web/network app because it has a button to take you to adobe.com.
Or, say, dozens of otherwise unrelated note-taking apps that use Apple's
frameworks that happen to render HTML in a 'text' area and allow hyperlink
functionalities.

This could get ugly.:-)

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

9 Jan 2005 - 2:54pm
Manu Sharma
2003

David Heller:
> > Ziya, when you and Rakesh speak of "web apps", do you mean "Web" as
in
> > Http/HTML or do you mean network-based/"browser-based" and if you
mean
> > browser, define browser? Is Central a browser for example?

Ziya:
> (I neither agree nor disagree with Rakesh, he can speak for himself.
I
> merely pointed to him.)

I, on the other hand both agree and disagree with Rakesh. He's correct
on all counts - the various advantages he lists of web apps but he
sometimes downplays their disadvantages which can be critical as well.

And I don't see it as the 'beginning of the end of the desktop.' It's
not an either-or situation. It's and-also.

Both desktop apps and web apps have their fair share of advantages.
Both can co-exist. One can always have an ideological debate whether
this should be or shouldn't be happening, whether HTTP/HTML standards
are up to the job or not. I'm not qualified to participate in that
debate.

But one cannot deny that this is already happening. The Rich Internet
Application is here. Whether you and I like it or not is irrelevant.
The users aren't complaining.

Manu.

9 Jan 2005 - 3:53pm
Listera
2004

Manu Sharma:

> Both desktop apps and web apps have their fair share of advantages.
> Both can co-exist.

Yes, but the advocates of 'non-web apps' generally declare the old regime
dead/over/kaput to drum up support for the new one:

HTML¹s Time is Over. Let¹s Move On.
<http://www.boxesandarrows.com/archives/htmls_time_is_over_lets_move_on.php>

Dump the World Wide Web!
<http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-8-10-2277.jsp>

To a casual observer of the scene, these don't sound like a gentle
introduction to an additional tool in the designer/developer shed, it's a
bombastic call for a regime change, fully punishable under the Patriot Act.

>From a pr/positioning point of view, it's a good move, as HTTP/HTML is so
entrenched and ubiquitous that you can only hope to supercede it by calling
for its head. But, by the same token, you have to emphatically declare it
dead (despite all evidence) to make a contrary impression.

Let's remember, "ubiquity and low-cost wrapped up in good enough" trumps,
well, anything else anytime.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

9 Jan 2005 - 5:04pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 11:54 AM, Manu Sharma wrote:

> I, on the other hand both agree and disagree with Rakesh. He's correct
> on all counts - the various advantages he lists of web apps but he
> sometimes downplays their disadvantages which can be critical as well.

He's far from correct on all counts.

Even the logic in the statement: "The user doesn’t need any software.
All the user does is fire his browser and type in a URL. These days,
browsers are a standard piece of software that usually gets bundled
with the OS itself, so finding a browser on the client is not a problem
at all, and really, that’s all the user needs."

Faulty logic at a basic level. I guess the user does need software: the
browser.

Too many people tend to overplay the fact the browser is already
installed on a machine, removing a large hurdle in using any
application. Some seem to take that convenience and make a mental leap
then that a browser is all that anyone needs designing applications
because everyone already has one. That spells serious trouble for
anyone who limits their design thinking on that island.

The best approach to any of this is to think of the browser as the
least common denominator, and make sure whatever you design can work in
the context of a browser. Then one attempts to persuade, prod and poke
your engineers and business folk to get the best possible environment
for the task at hand. In some cases, that might be a broswer, but in
most cases, like managing and downloading music, it's most definitely
not the browser as proven by iTunes. To relegate everything you do to
the worst possible application environment like a browser will just
leave you at the bottom of the career totem pole in the next twenty
years. The next twenty years will be more like rich applications like
iTunes and embedded custom apps inside appliances than more recreating
the wheel with things like GMail.

Andrei

9 Jan 2005 - 5:19pm
Listera
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk:

> the worst possible application environment like a browser

Surely, you jest?

> The next twenty years

Now, I know you do.:-)

The universe of applications that can gainfully run in a browser does and
will dwarf those that won't, by a margin.

Like I said, "ubiquity and low-cost wrapped up in good enough" trumps
anything else.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

9 Jan 2005 - 5:27pm
Manu Sharma
2003

Andrei:
"The next twenty years will be more like rich applications like iTunes
and embedded custom apps inside appliances than more recreating the
wheel with things like GMail."

Funny then that Microsoft, of all the people, decided to make its own
iTunes within the browser.

http://music.msn.com/

Manu.

9 Jan 2005 - 7:44pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 2:19 PM, Listera wrote:

>> the worst possible application environment like a browser
>
> Surely, you jest?

No.

> The universe of applications that can gainfully run in a browser does
> and
> will dwarf those that won't, by a margin.

Be a little more explicit and I might believe you. Otherwise, this
means little to me.

> Like I said, "ubiquity and low-cost wrapped up in good enough" trumps
> anything else.

Until the point when "better" comes along at the same price. Which
tends to happen when design and technology catch up with what the
market can bear.

Andrei

9 Jan 2005 - 7:53pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 2:27 PM, Manu Sharma wrote:

> Funny then that Microsoft, of all the people, decided to make its own
> iTunes within the browser.
>
> http://music.msn.com

If you're going to site an example as a comparison to my comment and
make an off the cuff riff on my example, at least be accurate when you
do so.

What you are pointing to is only a portion of the experience intended
for the MSN music offering. Use this store in the context of Windows
Media Player (WMP) and you'll see the full experience, and thus have a
real apples to apples comparison.

The MSN Music example actually exemplifies the point I made about the
browser being the lowest common denominator in your design approach
where possible. MS made sure a portion of their experience could be
accessed without WMP. But the full design exercise for all tasks
related to "music" must take WMP as an application into account for a
comparison to iTunes. IOW, the web site you point to does not manage
music files on my computer, make playlists, display cool visuals that
dances with my music, controls tone with an equalizer, acts like a
jukebox, etc etc etc. All those other things that are, quite simply,
either absurd or extraordinarily difficult to do inside the limitations
of a web browser.

Andrei

9 Jan 2005 - 8:52pm
Todd Warfel
2003

There are some things that are great for Web-based or RIA applications
(e.g. on-line travel booking, bill payment and on-line account
management). Then there are those that are acceptable for Web-based or
RIA applications (e.g. Mail). But then there are some, which are simply
unacceptable Web-based apps, but might be decent as an RIA (e.g.
Outlook and MS Office).

There have been several companies(1) who have tried to attempt to
replace their Desktop environments with a distributed (web) version of
MS Office. They have failed miserably as the Web-based or distributed
version to date shows poor performance and is not as robust or usable
as the desktop version.

Personally, I think the web-based version of Outlook sucks. It's slow,
kludgy, and performs terrible.

(1) Some of our large Financial and Medical clients have tried this,
rolling it out in small stages, but the users/employees have hated it
so far.

On Jan 9, 2005, at 7:44 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Until the point when "better" comes along at the same price. Which
> tends to happen when design and technology catch up with what the
> market can bear.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
MessageFirst | making products easier to use
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
V: (607) 339-9640
E: twarfel at messagefirst.com
W: messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
--------------------------------------
Problems are just opportunities for success.

9 Jan 2005 - 10:21pm
Listera
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk:

>>> the worst possible application environment like a browser
>> Surely, you jest?
> No.

There are more than half a billion people online, inching up to a billion. I
wouldn't call web apps that bring services to hundreds of millions of people
in ways hitherto impossible the *worst* possible environment. They may not
be optimal to be sure, but the "worst"? I can't take that seriously.

>> The universe of applications that can gainfully run in a browser does and
>> will dwarf those that won't, by a margin.

> Be a little more explicit and I might believe you. Otherwise, this
> means little to me.

Web apps like Amazon, Google, eBay, Hotmail, Yahoo, and the gazillion
dynamic apps of all colors and feathers everywhere that merrily chug along
day in day out.

>> Like I said, "ubiquity and low-cost wrapped up in good enough" trumps
>> anything else.
>
> Until the point when "better" comes along at the same price. Which
> tends to happen...

...with exceptional rarity.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

9 Jan 2005 - 10:47pm
Manu Sharma
2003

Andrei:
"The next twenty years will be more like rich applications like
iTunes..."

Me:
"Funny then that Microsoft, of all the people, decided to make its own
iTunes within the browser. http://music.msn.com "

Andrei:
"If you're going to site an example as a comparison to my comment and
make an off the cuff riff on my example, at least be accurate when you
do so."

Sorry, didn't think anyone would need an explanation. But since you
asked...

Here's is the number one software company in the world that virtually
invented the software application as we know it. That perhaps knows
more about software development than any other company in the world.
That has everything to lose if web apps become popular or even
alternative to desktop apps. A company that did all in its capacity in
the past to stop that from happening [1]. And is doing all in its
capacity right now to prevent that from happening in the future [2].

When _that_ company creates a web app for a high stake product then
perhaps it is a recognition that there are irrefutable advantages of
creating a web application. Such as, a low entry barrier for its users.

As far as accuracy is concerned, both interfaces [WMP and browser
based] are almost identical [3]. Even though one does require a small
download the first time one uses the service, I know of no significant
advantages / requirements of using WMP exclusively for the service.

I just tried it and could play sample clips right from my browser
without the WMP popping up. In fact, I do not have the latest version
and use Real Audio as the default player for my WM files. Yet the
service works perfectly with the browser based interface.

No one is comparing the *quality of service* to iTunes or claiming that
_any_ web app can be compared with a desktop application in
functionality and efficiency, t o d a y.

All I'm saying is that web apps have some tremendous advantages and
with improvements in browsers and bandwidth, they will be a major force
in the future, co-existing with their desktop versions. There are clear
indications that this process has already begun.

Manu.

[1] http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html
[2] http://news.com.com/2009-1016-5103226.html?tag=nl
[3] <URL:
http://reviews.cnet.com/MSN_Music/4505-9240_7-31000776-3.html?tag=top>

9 Jan 2005 - 11:14pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 7:21 PM, Listera wrote:

> There are more than half a billion people online, inching up to a
> billion. I
> wouldn't call web apps that bring services to hundreds of millions of
> people
> in ways hitherto impossible the *worst* possible environment. They may
> not
> be optimal to be sure, but the "worst"? I can't take that seriously.

Just because its the worst does not mean it's not viable. Nor does the
number of people that can use matter one iota in that scale. Given the
range of ways to deliver applications to end-users and the range of
what can be done, the richness of the experience and the
appropriateness of the design towards the tasks that need to be
accomplished, delivering that inside a web browser is the worst
compared to all other viable means.

Would you feel better if I said the "lowest common denominator" I don't
care. It's at the bottom end of the scale of possibility regardless.

>> Be a little more explicit and I might believe you. Otherwise, this
>> means little to me.
>
> Web apps like Amazon, Google, eBay, Hotmail, Yahoo, and the gazillion
> dynamic apps of all colors and feathers everywhere that merrily chug
> along
> day in day out.

You just named 5. I can name 20 to 30 applications to match that five,
like Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook,
Everquest, Flash, GarageBand, Thunderbird, Keynote,, Windows Media
Player, WinAmp, Napster, FreeCell, etc etc etc.

As for your "gazillions" remark.. well, we'll leave the hyperbole at
the door and ignore it.

He's a bet I can make with you: Someone at some point will design an
online shopping application in the same vein as iTunes in the next five
years. That application will bring people over from shopping on Amazon
or Yahoo! in a browser and leave the web experience where it rightfully
belong: only as the last option when you don't have access to the rich
desktop client.

Wanna make that bet with me?

Andrei

9 Jan 2005 - 11:34pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 7:47 PM, Manu Sharma wrote:

> Sorry, didn't think anyone would need an explanation. But since you
> asked...
>
> Here's is the number one software company in the world that virtually
> invented the software application as we know it. That perhaps knows
> more about software development than any other company in the world.

Least you forget, I worked on the design on one of the most ubiquitous
imaging applications on the planet in the form of Photoshop for one of
the largest software developers on the planet that isn't Microsoft, in
the form of Adobe Systems. I'm pretty sure I understand the issues
involved.

> That has everything to lose if web apps become popular or even
> alternative to desktop apps.

Not really.

> A company that did all in its capacity in
> the past to stop that from happening [1]. And is doing all in its
> capacity right now to prevent that from happening in the future [2].

That's rewriting history. MS did or has done no such thing. They just
want to control it, not destroy it. That's an important difference.

> When _that_ company creates a web app for a high stake product then
> perhaps it is a recognition that there are irrefutable advantages of
> creating a web application. Such as, a low entry barrier for its users.

You must have missed the point of my remark then. I cited iTunes in my
example. You cited MSN Music online, which is a FRACTION of what iTunes
does.

> As far as accuracy is concerned, both interfaces [WMP and browser
> based] are almost identical [3].

Hardly. Not even close actually. I'm not exactly sure how you can make
that claim with a straight face.

> I just tried it and could play sample clips right from my browser
> without the WMP popping up.

Once again, I think you are missing the entirety of the tasks that WMP
can do, and how if want to compare the MS Music offering with iTunes,
which was my initial example, you'd have to compare WMP and iTunes, not
just the storefront section of MSN Music.

> No one is comparing the *quality of service* to iTunes or claiming that
> _any_ web app can be compared with a desktop application in
> functionality and efficiency, t o d a y.

You cited the MSN Music as a comparable web application to iTunes,
which suggests to me you missed the point of what I saying, or have not
really used iTunes that much.

> All I'm saying is that web apps have some tremendous advantages and
> with improvements in browsers and bandwidth, they will be a major force
> in the future, co-existing with their desktop versions.

And this is where I disagree. It's quite simple really: If you run an
application INSIDE another application, like a browser, you are
INHERENTLY limited to what the containing application can do. If you
write an application to run just on the OS, you are only limited to
what you can do at an engineering level, period.

There's only ONE advantage a browser has over a desktop client: It's
pre-installed on most computers. I make the claim that single advantage
is not the bees knees when it comes to the business case for building
software suited for the task at hand so users can do what they need to
do. All the other advantages cited in the Rakesh article that spawned
this thread are simply inaccurate.

> There are clear indications that this process has already begun.

Like?

Andrei

9 Jan 2005 - 11:54pm
Listera
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk:

> If you run an application INSIDE another application, like a browser, you are
> INHERENTLY limited to what the containing application can do.

That's factually incorrect.

For example, Flash, which runs in the browser, can do many things that the
browser without Flash (or other comparable plugins) simply cannot do.

That's the beauty of the web browser. In fact, the new coalition of
non-Microsoft browser and plugin vendors aim to make that synergy even more
compelling.

> There's only ONE advantage a browser has over a desktop client: It's
> pre-installed on most computers.

"Most"? It'd be exceedingly difficult to find any *enduser* PC without a
browser. In reality, that means something like 80%+ of such PCs have IE
installed. That fact ALONE accounts for a good portion of MSFT's $50 billion
bank account. That's not just one advantage, that's a GIGANTIC advantage.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

9 Jan 2005 - 11:55pm
Listera
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk:

> the range of what can be done, the richness of the experience and the
> appropriateness of the design towards the tasks that need to be accomplished,
> delivering that inside a web browser is the worst compared to all other viable
> means.

Whoa! You are not saying that you haven't seen utterly miserable desktop
apps, are you?

> Would you feel better if I said the "lowest common denominator"

Yes.

> Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Excel, PowerPoint...

Curious that most of these apps pre-date the web.

> He's a bet I can make with you: Someone at some point will design an
> online shopping application in the same vein as iTunes in the next five
> years.

I have a better bet: in the next five minutes, someone will design a RIA
called iTunes (oops, that already happened) and nobody else will follow suit
(oops, that may be the case).

Look, I just thought of all the projects I lead in the past two years, 3/4
of them have been RIAs. I can happily go on doing that, as I have done long
before the web came along. I don't have a problem with RIAs. But I'm not
blind to the incredible investment that has been made in web apps by every
imaginable type of organization for every imaginable type of app category,
and the hundreds of millions of users they have across the globe.

Will there be a successful RIA in the next five years? Very likely. Will
iTunes or the next iTunes cause a stampede to RIAs? Bloody unlikely.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

10 Jan 2005 - 12:16am
Manu Sharma
2003

Me:
> > There are clear indications that this process has already begun.

Andrei:
> Like?

I believe I've stated my position with ample clarity. You disagree,
which is fine. I'm not for religious debates. I think what I've stated
is true but I do not feel compelled to force everyone to conform to my
perspective.

Have a great week!

Manu.

10 Jan 2005 - 2:08am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 8:54 PM, Listera wrote:

> For example, Flash, which runs in the browser, can do many things that
> the
> browser without Flash (or other comparable plugins) simply cannot do.

That's also a special case. Flash is actually running inside it's own
rect, so basically, Flash is Flash. It just likes to highjack the fact
that people access it from a browser, but in truth, the browser is
meaningless to it for the most part.

IOW, Whatever you see in Flash could run in its window window if need
be. The browser is really irrelevant except an access point.,

> That's the beauty of the web browser. In fact, the new coalition of
> non-Microsoft browser and plugin vendors aim to make that synergy even
> more
> compelling.

Nearly all of the "plug-ins" operate on their own. Plug-in developers
do extra work to make it work inside a browser, but the fact remains
technically speaking they don't need the browser.

> "Most"? It'd be exceedingly difficult to find any *enduser* PC without
> a
> browser. In reality, that means something like 80%+ of such PCs have IE
> installed. That fact ALONE accounts for a good portion of MSFT's $50
> billion
> bank account. That's not just one advantage, that's a GIGANTIC
> advantage.

I disagree. The fact applications like MS Office and Creative Suite
make a combine $5B or so speaks for my case.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 2:12am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 8:55 PM, Listera wrote:

>> the range of what can be done, the richness of the experience and the
>> appropriateness of the design towards the tasks that need to be
>> accomplished,
>> delivering that inside a web browser is the worst compared to all
>> other viable
>> means.
>
> Whoa! You are not saying that you haven't seen utterly miserable
> desktop
> apps, are you?

Did I say that? Good desktop apps require good design, just like
anything else.

>> Would you feel better if I said the "lowest common denominator"
>
> Yes.

Fine. No difference to me to my way of thinking.

>> Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Excel, PowerPoint...
>
> Curious that most of these apps pre-date the web.

The point?

>> He's a bet I can make with you: Someone at some point will design an
>> online shopping application in the same vein as iTunes in the next
>> five
>> years.
>
> I have a better bet: in the next five minutes, someone will design a
> RIA
> called iTunes (oops, that already happened) and nobody else will
> follow suit
> (oops, that may be the case).

Not sure how that's relevant.

> I can happily go on doing that, as I have done long
> before the web came along. I don't have a problem with RIAs. But I'm
> not
> blind to the incredible investment that has been made in web apps by
> every
> imaginable type of organization for every imaginable type of app
> category,
> and the hundreds of millions of users they have across the globe.

The point? Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it the wave
of the future. Th web is littered with also-rans that never amounted to
anything.

> Will there be a successful RIA in the next five years? Very likely.
> Will
> iTunes or the next iTunes cause a stampede to RIAs? Bloody unlikely.

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 2:29am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 9, 2005, at 9:16 PM, Manu Sharma wrote:

> I believe I've stated my position with ample clarity.

I do not. Obviously.

> You disagree,
> which is fine. I'm not for religious debates.

Disagree? That's hardly the case. I claim your comparison isn't even
close to mine. That's not a religious debate. That's just a design
debate. You made the comparison of iTunes to the MSN Music web site,
not me. You want to engage with me in a debate by hitting me with some
off the cuff remark like "Funny, billion dollar company did so and so,"
then you'd best be ready to defend that position. I didn't help design
a product that makes more than $300M a year and is used by 3M+ users
globally by backing down in open forums you know.

> I think what I've stated is true but I do not feel compelled to force
> everyone to conform to my
> perspective.

I'm not attempting to persuade you of anything. I'm just questioning
your logic openly, which you opened yourself to by making the
comparison in the first place. I cited iTunes as an example. You cited
a web site that does at best 30% to 40% of what iTunes does.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 3:22am
Listera
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk:
> That's also a special case.

There's absolutely nothing 'special' about Flash at all. That's the WHOLE
point of plugins to begin with: do things browser can't!

> Flash is actually running inside it's own rect,

No, Flash is running inside the BROWSER'S rect, an area given by the browser
to the plugin. As I said, that *is* the beauty of the browser: it's
infinitely extensible.

> the browser is meaningless to it for the most part.

That, of course, is factually incorrect. Many/most plugins do interact with
with the rest of what's in the browser. (Which, BTW, is precisely the area
the non-MSFT browser/plugin vendors are aiming to bolster.) Flash, for
example, doesn't do full HTML rendering, but can certainly inter-operate
with the browser to interactive display HTML, which can't happen by Flash
alone.

> IOW, Whatever you see in Flash could run in its window window if need
> be. The browser is really irrelevant except an access point.,

The naked REALITY that Flash in fact doesn't run separately from the browser
(for the vast majority of its deployment) directly contradicts this notion.
(Check out the failure of Central.)

> Nearly all of the "plug-ins" operate on their own.

But usually don't. They run the ubiquity of the browser to their advantage.
Instead of standing alone, they leverage the strengths and eco-system of the
browser.

> Plug-in developers do extra work to make it work inside a browser, but the
> fact remains technically speaking they don't need the browser.

If they didn't think there was a vast need/market for it, they wouldn't
bother doing all the extra work. Yet they all work with the browser. This
alone refutes your conjectures about what they *could* do technically;
whatever they could do theoretically, in reality, they choose to leverage
the browser.

>> "Most"? It'd be exceedingly difficult to find any *enduser* PC without a
>> browser. In reality, that means something like 80%+ of such PCs have IE
>> installed. That fact ALONE accounts for a good portion of MSFT's $50 billion
>> bank account. That's not just one advantage, that's a GIGANTIC advantage.
>
> I disagree. The fact applications like MS Office and Creative Suite
> make a combine $5B or so speaks for my case.

The four top web companies (Google, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon) have a combined
marketcap today of $290 billion. And they all utterly depend on the browser.
There are lots of non-browser/desktop apps (I know, I wrote a few) that work
with the APIs of these companies, none of them have an infinitesimally
minute fraction of the four's market value. The most lucrative monopoly the
digital world has ever seen - Windows - is the direct result of its
INSTALLED UBIQUITY. That's its single most (and I'd argue ONLY) advantage,
by far.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

10 Jan 2005 - 3:23am
Listera
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk:

> Good desktop apps require good design, just like
> anything else.

Now we can agree.

There was a time people pointed to the speed of browser apps to declare
HTML/HTTP dead. GMail and Blogger, for example, blew up that theory.

It's entirely possible to screw up in either platform. Just as it's possible
to follow good design practices to leverage each platform's unique
strengths.

>> I have a better bet: in the next five minutes, someone will design a RIA
>> called iTunes (oops, that already happened) and nobody else will follow suit
>> (oops, that may be the case).
>
> Not sure how that's relevant.

You give iTunes as example of UX that desktops offer which web apps can't
match. Needless to say I agree. But other players in this space have NOT
stampeded in that direction at all. There goes your theory that if somebody
could somehow show the superiority of desktop apps the world will follow.
That's the point.

I'll go further, the success of iTunes has less to do with the fact that
it's a desktop app (although it does obviously help) than the fact that it
was designed by the only company in that space that gives a damn about the
UX of music.

> The point? Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it the wave
> of the future. Th web is littered with also-rans that never amounted to
> anything.

The desktop market is also littered with also-rans that never amounted to
anything. Your point?

>> Will there be a successful RIA in the next five years? Very likely. Will
>> iTunes or the next iTunes cause a stampede to RIAs? Bloody unlikely.
>
> I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

It means that just because something is technically or theoretically
possible (RIAs) doesn't necessarily mean that it will be popular or
successful. Even when there are popular or successful examples
(iTunes/iTMS).

To reiterate: my *narrow* problem on this subject is the notion of erecting
the glorious Shangri-La of RIAs on the ruins of HTTP/HTML. They will
coexist, as each has undeniable advantages where it matters. To render one
or the other as the vanquished is dogmatic.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

10 Jan 2005 - 3:56am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 10, 2005, at 12:22 AM, Listera wrote:

>> That's also a special case.
>
> There's absolutely nothing 'special' about Flash at all. That's the
> WHOLE
> point of plugins to begin with: do things browser can't!

Even to the point of doing something there's no point in using a
browser for?

You have a Flash piece inside a browser. The point? Most Flash apps or
Flash pieces inside a browser only use the browser as an access point.
They *DON'T* need the browser except as a mean to give people the URL
to point to it. The browser is extra chrome that actually gets in the
way.

>> Flash is actually running inside it's own rect,
>
> No, Flash is running inside the BROWSER'S rect, an area given by the
> browser
> to the plugin. As I said, that *is* the beauty of the browser: it's
> infinitely extensible.

The difference? Whether the OS gives Flash a rect or the browser is
negligible. Flash is doing all of the work. The point being that most
Flash on a web site tends to be contained to the point that it's on a
web page at all is an after thought. The Lazlo apps being a perfect
example of this. The browser is meaningless for those apps, and that is
largely the case for most Flash work on the web.

>> the browser is meaningless to it for the most part.
>
> That, of course, is factually incorrect. Many/most plugins do interact
> with
> with the rest of what's in the browser.

Like? QuickTime? Flash? PDF? Those are the top three right there.
Things like Upload files, MP3 players... how do they need a browser?
Please explain how it is I'm factually incorrect. Exactly what popular
plug-ins actually need a browser to work and leverage web pages to
work? SVG? What?

> (Which, BTW, is precisely the area
> the non-MSFT browser/plugin vendors are aiming to bolster.) Flash, for
> example, doesn't do full HTML rendering, but can certainly
> inter-operate
> with the browser to interactive display HTML, which can't happen by
> Flash
> alone.

If using Flash, why on earth would you care about coding HTML into the
Flash portion? That makes no sense.

>> IOW, Whatever you see in Flash could run in its window window if need
>> be. The browser is really irrelevant except an access point.,
>
> The naked REALITY that Flash in fact doesn't run separately from the
> browser
> (for the vast majority of its deployment) directly contradicts this
> notion.
> (Check out the failure of Central.)

That has little to do with discussion of the point that Flash in all
honesty doesn't need a browser. IOW, the fact Macromedia has been
unsuccessful deploying a Flash in the same manner as a browser has
little to do with the TECHNICAL fast that Flash doesn't really need a
browser to do what it does.

>> Nearly all of the "plug-ins" operate on their own.
>
> But usually don't. They run the ubiquity of the browser to their
> advantage.
> Instead of standing alone, they leverage the strengths and eco-system
> of the
> browser.

Hardly. The top plug-ins on the web: Flash, PDF, Quicktime, RealMedia,
MP3, etc, don't need a browser to work. The hardly leverage anything
from the browser. Again, all the browser does is give them a launching
point or an access point. But that's about it.

>> Plug-in developers do extra work to make it work inside a browser,
>> but the
>> fact remains technically speaking they don't need the browser.
>
> If they didn't think there was a vast need/market for it, they wouldn't
> bother doing all the extra work.

Now you're making stuff up. This is simple not the case.

> Yet they all work with the browser. This
> alone refutes your conjectures about what they *could* do technically;
> whatever they could do theoretically, in reality, they choose to
> leverage
> the browser.

They leverage the access point of the browser. The URL if you will. The
don't leverage anything TECHNICALLY from the the browser. Leeching off
the browser as an access portal is hardly "leveraging" anything.
Speaking as a designer, a technologist or a businessman.

I think you're way off base Ziya. Way off base.

>> I disagree. The fact applications like MS Office and Creative Suite
>> make a combine $5B or so speaks for my case.
>
> The four top web companies (Google, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon) have a
> combined
> marketcap today of $290 billion.

Lets talk profits, not what the market think s a company is worth based
on speculation.

> And they all utterly depend on the browser.

Which will be their downfall in five to ten years if they don't change
their ways.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 4:10am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 10, 2005, at 12:23 AM, Listera wrote:

> You give iTunes as example of UX that desktops offer which web apps
> can't
> match. Needless to say I agree. But other players in this space have
> NOT
> stampeded in that direction at all. There goes your theory that if
> somebody
> could somehow show the superiority of desktop apps the world will
> follow.
> That's the point.

Other players? Like who?

Both Real Media and Microsoft has custom desktop apps in the music
space. So does MusicMatch. There you go, the top four players in the
music space: iTunes, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, Music Match and
then there's WinAmp. What music company deals exclusively as a web
based application that has no desktop component? I can think of none.

Who exactly in the music space is stampeding to using a browser web app
exclusively??? This I have to hear.

> I'll go further, the success of iTunes has less to do with the fact
> that
> it's a desktop app (although it does obviously help) than the fact
> that it
> was designed by the only company in that space that gives a damn about
> the
> UX of music.

The question is: Could iTunes have been executed in a browser as web
based application? If "the browser is dead" as was the claim in the
post you referred to that started this thread, how is it that iTunes
can succeed wildly as a desktop app? And to the point of the
discussion, how can iTunes succeed as purely a browser only web
application?

It CAN'T.

>> The point? Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it the wave
>> of the future. Th web is littered with also-rans that never amounted
>> to
>> anything.
>
> The desktop market is also littered with also-rans that never amounted
> to
> anything. Your point?

Desktop apps have had longer lifespans than anything web related.
There's also lots of suggestion that much of the web as a browser based
medium won't last the test of time. The easiest of these examples is
pretty much anything ever done by Siebel, Oracle or PeopleSoft as a web
based application.

>>> Will there be a successful RIA in the next five years? Very likely.
>>> Will
>>> iTunes or the next iTunes cause a stampede to RIAs? Bloody unlikely.
>>
>> I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.
>
> It means that just because something is technically or theoretically
> possible (RIAs) doesn't necessarily mean that it will be popular or
> successful.

Except in this case, Desktop apps ARE wildly successful and popular.
And have been for some 20+ years. I never mentioned RIAs by the way...
I've always discussed this in the context of desktop apps.

> To reiterate: my *narrow* problem on this subject is the notion of
> erecting
> the glorious Shangri-La of RIAs on the ruins of HTTP/HTML. They will
> coexist, as each has undeniable advantages where it matters. To render
> one
> or the other as the vanquished is dogmatic.

I never made that claim, so please don't attribute it to me. RIAs are
just one level below desktop apps. However, if you want to attribute to
me the demotion of web apps at the hands of desktop clients that
understand networking, please be my guest.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 4:52am
Listera
2004

Andrei,

We're running around circles here. The issue is not whether a plugin can
(technically) run outside of a browser (most can) but that they all *do* run
inside. Their respective vendors could have chosen to ignore the browser;
they have not. Why?

Because through its ubiquity and ecosystem, the browser is an unbeatable
platform to interoperate with the rest of the online ecosystem. Flash, for
example since we're talking about it, doesn't render HTML, do file uploads
or handle a lot of text very well. Browser does. So when you want to sync
Flash with HTML pages (yours or others') or coordinate it with file uploads
or control audio/video/animation through a DHTML UI, you can work
interactively with the browser, in either direction.

As we speak, I'm designing Flash widgets that are next to impossible to do
in HTML that in turn manipulate tabular financial data that's too slow in
Flash DataGrid. I'm leveraging each platform's strength. The result is
bigger than the sum of its parts and may not even haven been
possible/practical with either platform alone. Do Adobe/Macromedia/Apple run
their sites entirely in PDF/Flash/QT?

You dismiss being ubiquitously installed as just "one" advantage. Yet the
digital realm's biggest monopoly thrives solely based on that fact. You
dismiss the browser as a mere "access point." Yet countless number of
plugins continue to depend on it, often bi-directionally to leverage the
web's ecosystem.

I don't know what will happen 5 years from now, let alone 10 or 20 years.
You seem to have a crystal ball, I think it's nuts to make technological
predictions two decades out, but what do I know.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

10 Jan 2005 - 6:10am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 10, 2005, at 1:52 AM, Listera wrote:

> We're running around circles here.

Sorry, but I don't think we are. I don't think you're answering my
questions adequately. That's my POV.

> The issue is not whether a plugin can
> (technically) run outside of a browser (most can) but that they all
> *do* run
> inside. Their respective vendors could have chosen to ignore the
> browser;
> they have not. Why?

In what respect do chosen plug-ins use the browser outside of being an
access point? You have yet to answer that question. IOW, what about the
use of the plug-ins requires sitting inside a web page other than
that's the easiest way for a user to hit it via a URL? And what
plug-ins are you talking about that truly add to the UX of a site that
truly intermingle with the web page metaphor?

> Because through its ubiquity and ecosystem, the browser is an
> unbeatable
> platform to interoperate with the rest of the online ecosystem.

Except of course for the operating system required for the browser
platform to even exist. But I guess Windows is meaningless in this
conversation as the "ubiquitous" platform because its all about the
browser, right? And of course, that unbeatable browser platform is why
iTunes has failed so miserably being both a product on a 2% OS platform
in its initial offering and one that worked outside the browser, even
though you buy songs on the "web."

> Flash, for
> example since we're talking about it, doesn't render HTML, do file
> uploads
> or handle a lot of text very well.

Flash handles text well in many aspects, but that depends on what you
want from a text engine. I find both HTML and Flash to have large
deficiencies with text, but there's no need for me to derail this
conversation down that path.

> So when you want to sync
> Flash with HTML pages (yours or others') or coordinate it with file
> uploads
> or control audio/video/animation through a DHTML UI, you can work
> interactively with the browser, in either direction.

To some degree. But why do so many Flash web apps, (like the Lazlo
suite) simply ignore the fact they are inside a web page and basically
do everything with the Flash component? IOW, why am I in a browser to
work with it when I could as easily be inside *any* window for the full
UX experience for most of these Flash web apps?

> As we speak, I'm designing Flash widgets that are next to impossible
> to do
> in HTML that in turn manipulate tabular financial data that's too slow
> in
> Flash DataGrid.

Quite a confusing statement. I have no idea what you are doing. You're
going to have to have to explain it better than this. You use Flash to
manipulate tabular data to what? Render back in Flash? You lost me.

> The result is
> bigger than the sum of its parts and may not even haven been
> possible/practical with either platform alone. Do
> Adobe/Macromedia/Apple run
> their sites entirely in PDF/Flash/QT?

I have no idea why that last question is relevant, given that two of
three of those technologies are not development platforms but rather
content delivery platforms. And trust me, if Adobe could deliver PDF
without the browser, they'd prefer that. The PDF plug-in in the browser
is one of the most perfect examples of recreating the wheel just
because the "ubiquity" of the browser requires people needing a place
to enter a URL.

Acrobat Reader and the Acrobat Plug-in are completely redundant from a
technological point of view. Same goes for much of MPEGs played with
Quicktime, RealMedia, etc. And most Flash work is fairly standalone
most of the time, at least when we are talking about web applications
and the full range of UX to include interaction, visual and information
design.

> You dismiss being ubiquitously installed as just "one" advantage. Yet
> the
> digital realm's biggest monopoly thrives solely based on that fact.

I guess the 20 years Microsoft grew by leaps and bounds year over year
before the "web" existed was a case of Microsoft just slumming it? I
supposed the success of the Palm Pilot really holds it back since it
has nothing to do with the web. Or the Blackberry devices, or a host of
new things on the horizon that really just don't have a web browser in
them but *do* have a network component in them.

Like many others, I think you vastly oversimplify the case for what the
"web" is, does, can be and where it will go based on the installed user
base of the web browser as it's main strength. It's ubiquity as you
have stated.

> You dismiss the browser as a mere "access point." Yet countless number
> of
> plugins continue to depend on it, often bi-directionally to leverage
> the
> web's ecosystem.

You have yet to state any significant number of these "countless"
plug-ins that rely solely on being inside a browser. I stated the most
popular ones: PDF, Flash, QuickTime, RealMedia. There are handful of
others. All of which live well enough outside the browser in the form
of applications that deal with the content. In what regard do these
popular plug-ins *really* need to live inside the browser outside of
being an access point to get a pointer to the content?

> I don't know what will happen 5 years from now, let alone 10 or 20
> years.
> You seem to have a crystal ball, I think it's nuts to make
> technological
> predictions two decades out, but what do I know.

I'm not making predications. I offered you a wager. Big difference. We
can even do a gentlemen's bet if you like. That's not a crystal ball.
That's confidence in what I know to be true about technology, what I
have personally worked on, and what I have seen in the labs of some of
the more cutting edge technology companies going on in the industry.

And when Longhorn ships by the way, the idea of the "browser" and web
based apps will be blown to bits as basically everything in Longhorn is
one big networked application, RIA, desktop applications that uses a
combination of mark-up language and traditional OS components to create
the uber-RIA and desktop client that requires no browser to do anything
with regard to the web. Everything is a "browser." Yet everything is a
desktop client. In truth, everything in Longhorn is really a desktop
app that allows for browser like functionality handled by the OS, yet
in the context of the richness of the traditional desktop client.

But of course, we all have to wait for that to happen still.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 7:22am
Dave Malouf
2005

Hey guys,

Wow! Some people have been busy this weekend. But it really sounds like a
bunch of truisms being flung back and forth without anything of substance.
To be honest, I know what I like to use, and I know what seems to work
depending on the need of the users.

But I have no backup, so I won't even go there. I would just spout more
truisms. HTML, Flash, Java, C++ ... To be honest, in the end I just don't
care. What I really care about is the interaction model that is at my
disposal. In the past in this discussion, I have thrown out a behavior list
and Ziya has said it can all be done in HTML today, but to be honest I
haven't see any example of it.

I will admit that Gmail and Google/Suggest as pure HTML plays are pretty
darn cool, but since they don't integrate to the desktop they miss the last
piece. Even Flash can't do this so it just don't matter.

But like I said I don't think that Gmail is the example to end all examples,
just like iTunes isn't the way. There are so many properties that make up
what a user needs from an application and what the supplying business needs
in turn. There will always be a balancing act.

The one thing I know for myself is true is that I do not want to sacrifice
user experience to end up being a lowest common denominator. I think that is
the core of the "button" debate and for me the HTML vs. everything else
debate.

Since this list is about "interaction design" and not a technological
debate, maybe we should assume that technology is what we need it to be. So
I ask the question ... What do we need? Not what should we build on?

-- dave

10 Jan 2005 - 2:22pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 10, 2005, at 4:22 AM, David Heller wrote:

> But I have no backup, so I won't even go there. I would just spout more
> truisms. HTML, Flash, Java, C++ ... To be honest, in the end I just
> don't
> care. What I really care about is the interaction model that is at my
> disposal. In the past in this discussion, I have thrown out a behavior
> list
> and Ziya has said it can all be done in HTML today, but to be honest I
> haven't see any example of it.

No offense to anyone on this list, but the reason I bothered with this
back and forth over the weekend is that to me, this kind of debate is
similar to the kind of debate you would have as furniture makers
discussing building materials. If I was building a chair, it's
important to understand how certain kinds of wood hold up on use as
well as through the manufacturing process for example.

To understand what technology is and does -- at a technical level -- is
important to me as a software and interface designer. When Ziya debates
with me about the "browser" as a development platform, he's debating
more of the business case of things as near as I can tell, whereas I'm
trying to discuss the technical aspects. When Ziya says "other [music
vendors] in this space have NOT stampeded in that direction [desktop
application ala iTunes] at all," at a technical level, that's just
factually incorrect given that the most popular music developers out
there all have desktop clients as their primary offering.

I honestly don't feel like I'm discussing two sides of the same coin or
comparing apples and oranges. When I read article's like Rakesh's, or
have Manu cite a web site as a comparison when I bring up iTunes, or
have Ziya tell me the browser is an "unbeatable platform to
interoperate with the rest of the online ecosystem" when there are many
network-aware applications that don't live in the browser that make
tons of money and drive innovation and design directions in the
market... I'm sorry... there's just technically incorrect information
there.

> Since this list is about "interaction design" and not a technological
> debate, maybe we should assume that technology is what we need it to
> be. So
> I ask the question ... What do we need? Not what should we build on?

Technology is very much at the heart of what we do IMHO. Maybe I'm out
of touch with the list, but if designer's aren't focusing on technology
just as much as they focus on user needs and business requirement, then
I fear those designers will fall behind the curve over the next five to
ten years. Of course I could be wrong, I don't claim to be right. But I
would take a wager with anyone who wanted to on the lack of importance
the browser development platform will play out five years from now.

Andrei

10 Jan 2005 - 3:51pm
Lada Gorlenko
2004

AH> Technology is very much at the heart of what we do IMHO. Maybe I'm out
AH> of touch with the list, but if designer's aren't focusing on technology
AH> just as much as they focus on user needs and business requirement, then
AH> I fear those designers will fall behind the curve over the next five to
AH> ten years.

At the risk of falling behind the curve (wait, I am already
fata-morganing my housewife's future...), let me disagree with the
location of technology in the anatomy of a healthy designer.

Putting technology at the heart of what we do will quickly turn humane
Anakin-s into technology-driven Darth Vader-s. Technology shouldn't
drive or be focused on when delivering a design solution (I
specifically emphasise the word 'design' here to distinguish it from
business solution, engineering solution, and other solutions that have
to be integrated to build a successful product). Technology should be
*kept in mind*. In the cool(-ish), analytical, well-ventilated,
cognitively rich, aesthetically pleasing, and capable of enormous
processing power designer's mind. Only there and then, when we know
what kind of solution is wanted and, most importantly, *why* the
solution is needed, should we apply all the sparkling brilliance
of our neurons to wisely choose (and intelligently justify the choice)
of a particular technology.

Until technology remains a pacemaker of our hearts, we are destined to
have tweaks and make excuses for designs that don't exactly fit the
occasion.

AH> Of course I could be wrong, I don't claim to be right. But I
AH> would take a wager with anyone who wanted to on the lack of importance
AH> the browser development platform will play out five years from now.

Oh what the heck, I am in. I do believe in the not-so-distant future
of ubiquitous computing that by definition has to be thin-client.
Define the rules of the wager.

AH> Andrei

Lada

10 Jan 2005 - 5:03pm
Dave Malouf
2005

1. It is fine to talk about technology on this list ... We were just going
around in circles and quite honestly only two people (maybe 3) were talking.
And the 2 that were talking obviously disagree religiously, so like most
things that reach this level of Middle East debate, it is better to just
move on.

2. I did not say that I would want to install everything. I was just saying
that SOME things require install and some don't. I don't however, see a
world in the next 5-10 years where we never install anything. A definition
of installation, in my feable mind is software that cannot be rendered
without being resident in long-term memory storage (i.e. hard drive) so that
it remains after the element that uses it (ie the browser disappears). It is
irrelevant if it runs in a browser if I need to install something not
ubiquitally already a part of the browser (i.e. Flash).

3. What I am interested in terms of technology is how I can bend it to make
the behaviors I want, NOT how it limits me. Discussions by graphic designers
about paper are more about what paper should I use to get X behavior. Same
for furniture designers and instrument makers about wood, glass, plastics,
etc. Some also take the point of view of how can I manipulate these further
to get the behavior of what I want, but in the end the behavior is still the
driving factor. Technology for its own sake to me is not really all the
functional or productive unless you want to be in the business of creating
technology for its own sake. What separates us from others is that we think
first and foremost about use by either the business or the end user.
Technology is just a commodity for enablement.

4. So again, what behaviors drive us towards what technological choices is a
lot more interesting than going back and forth on what technologies there
are out there or will be out there. That isn't to say we can't or shouldn't
talk about them here; but arguing about them ad nauseum just feels like a
waste to me. That's not an administrative decision, just a hope.

-- dave

11 Jan 2005 - 3:32pm
Andrew Otwell
2004

> Technology should be
> *kept in mind*. .... Only there and then, when we know
> what kind of solution is wanted and, most importantly, *why* the
> solution is needed, should we apply all the sparkling brilliance
> of our neurons to wisely choose (and intelligently justify the choice)
> of a particular technology.

That might be possible when desgining something new from scratch. But it
will rarely be the case when redesigning or adding new behaviors to an
existing product, which for me and most of the designers I know is the
bulk of our work. It's the rare case where the technology issue is truly
out of the picture even at the beginning of a product.

11 Jan 2005 - 6:24pm
Lada Gorlenko
2004

>> Technology should be *kept in mind*. ....

AO> That might be possible when desgining something new from scratch. But it
AO> will rarely be the case when redesigning or adding new behaviors to an
AO> existing product, which for me and most of the designers I know is the
AO> bulk of our work. It's the rare case where the technology issue is truly
AO> out of the picture even at the beginning of a product.

I don't live in the world of ivory towers and flying pigs either :-)

Still, in my experience, some designers tend to overestimates
'technological constraints' imposed on their designs, even when they
work with existing products. There are always design alternatives,
and there are always people who will tell you you don't have them.

What I mean by 'keeping technology in mind' is the following.

The first conceptual design draft should have no 'technology issues'
in it. Get it reviewed with the development team and compile a
detailed list of perceived technical constraints, but *after* you
have a design concept in place.

Next, filter the list into major and minor constraints, according to
how big their impact is on your design. Forget about minors for
now. Then research (send emails, pop a question in newsgroups, phone
friends, whatever) to understand which of the remaining big fish
are genuine. In my experience, on average about a half happen to be
so, and the rest get marked 'bollocks!' within a day or two. Deal with
minors, if you have time.

Next, do a second design path, incorporating genuine limitations
and annotating bogus claims with instructions and references. Get
the version reviewed with the development team, if necessary.
Iterate.

If you have enough expertise to know all technological constraints
that may affect your design, skip reviews (I personally find them
a useful learning exercise, even when I have a good grasp of an
underlying technology). Still, I would advise to start with an
'ideal design' anyway, always. That's critical. If you start
designing with the list of technological constraints in front of
you, you are unlikely to get conceptually important stuff right, even
on 'design maintenance' projects. If you do review your design with
developers, make sure they can support their claims and you can
support your contr-arguments of whatever claims you reject.

The technology issue is never left out of this picture. But it's
accommodated (kept in mind), now allowed to dictate the design (my
interpretation of "be at the heart" view).

Lada

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