Excerpts from David Robillard's message of 2011-02-22 21:28:03 +0100:
I disagree, it is short-sightedness. It's hard to miss that this is the
current hype, but this doesn't mean it's a good idea.
> I have a working plugin (called "dirg") that provides a UI by hosting a
Again I disagree, in my opinion web UIs have exactly one benefit and
many drawbacks. The benefit is that they can be accessed from anywhere
with an internet connection and sufficiently capable browser (which is
pretty much everywhere these days) without installing anything. The
drawbacks are too many to list really but I'll try to show some with an
example or two:
Example number one is the CUPS web interface, accessible using the
obvious address http://localhost:631. First of all it gives me the
creeps every time I have to use it, because I have to use the browser to
modify my system. I even have to type in my root password. Yes, typing
the root password into some browser popup
(http://www.cups.org/articles.php?L274). I know that the web is a big
and scary place and that the browser is the way to access it, and that
it's a big pile of crap full of bugs and security vulnerabilities. The
barrier between the big scary web and root seems to be very very low.
Besides that the interface is slow and buggy, despite running on the
same machine. I wouldn't call it a good interface in general.
The other example is google docs/spreadsheet which I have to use
sometimes. There are the obvious privacy concerns, it should be clear
that giving your possibly sensitive data to what's probably the worlds
biggest Ad company isn't a good idea. They basically own the web these
days, they want you to do everything on the web, they know how to create
web UIs, and that's why this example is so good. It shows that the
browser, besides being a huge security and privacy problem, also gets in
the way of the user interface. You want keyboard shortcuts to make your
life easier? Forget it, chances are the browser will chew them, all you
get is the mouse. Right-click somewhere and you most likely get
completely nonsensical options, your browsers default, made for web
pages. Scrolling a few rows shouldn't be a problem, but try it and see
it stutter along. Trying to squish a program into a program that was
made for viewing web pages simply is a bad idea, the user experience
won't ever be great.
Accessibility? Forget it, text browser don't do JS. Sorry, I could rant
on forever. Web UIs have their uses but I simply don't thing they're a
good idea in general.
Google do it because their business model is deeply rooted in the web,
others do it because it's the current hype.
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