Time to Redefine the Browser
And this brings me to the most critical piece of local software, the browser. Now, “browser” is an increasingly inaccurate and inappropriate term. The modern browser is more analogous to the “intelligent terminal” of yore -- the DEC VT-100 and the IBM 3270 come to mind here. While these were hardware, of course, the important part was the API defined for each. This allowed applications to be run on any terminal that was compatible.
A similar challenge awaits us today. First, we should redefine the browser as an application interface. I’m still thinking about the right term for this. And we should finally standardize the browser itself, with an ANSI or other standard. Vendors should stop competing, by changing the API to the browser. I’m not a browser expert, but I have run across a grass-roots organization working in this area -- the Web Standards Project . I don’t know much about them, but I already wish them well.
— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung