The um, Leon Test?

Joel is asking, (ostensibly on behalf of the WHATWG) what new features will allow HTML4 to make better web applications.

To try and fix a stake in the shifting sands, i'd like to propose a milestone for measuring 'better' web applications.

Web applications will be better when you can write (and deploy to all competing new browsers) compelling implementations of all of the following:

  1. A spreadsheet
  2. A paint program
  3. A wysiwyg word processor
  4. An integrated development environment


What features does HTML <4 lack for writing such applications?

Many bloggers have made excellent suggstions. Stand outs include richer event models, and joel's mention of 'platform neutral' device contexts (for thing's like painting). One thing I'm keen for:

  • A simple, reliable and unobtrusive way of performing 'background-save' during form editing.

The question of Why you'd want to write such applications in a browser is a valid one -- but not something i'm willing to discuss (or argue about) just yet, by the way. This is just a thought game for me anyhow. (by 'this' i mean 'life itself').


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(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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