E-Commerce Times Talkback
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I'm willing to bet it's a relevant statistic of the software industry that somewhere, at any given time, some poor schmo's Web browser is crashing. No browser has the kind of failsafe architecture that characterizes many operating systems and databases. That's a problem, because browsers are fast becoming the centerpiece of modern business applications. If the future of corporate computing is going to compute at all, a kind of Marshall Plan is necessary to make browsers truly reliable, starting now.
No! What we need is to totally start over. The whole problem is the original design. Both Netscape and Microsoft bought that core code. It wasn't intended for this Media. That is why Opera is so good. The instability is in the caching. It's all those 1k icon files and the cookie monsters. One again, it's those marketers at Microsoft.... Jeff are you out there... He is a Stanford boy you know... who invented the Spread Sheet according to him... Spawning the entire PC industry. <g><g> News Factor should really Interview this unsung genius who came from Apple.... You know what they say? One bad Apple spoils the whole barrel.
You see, Microsoft had this wonderful strategy for preventing you from running Linux in a dual boot. Make only one drive. That's one of our biggest problems. Stupid.... There are limits to what the hardware can do. The disk fragmentation in your cache happens very quickly. The file system in Windows totally a mess because of the huge size... Software has its limits too. One solution I have is to partition your drive and make a separate one just for your Internet Temp folder and delete all those cookies and offline files every day. Then to make things even work better you can move that directory to another drive and that destroys all the hidden files. Then reboot. Then move it back and reboot again. This is what the engineers know to do. :-) Partitions make it possible to defrag quicker too. I keep most of mine about 4G and never delete a file unless you run out of space with my Temp drive about 2G. I keep one drive for Windows and its associated files, one for applications, one for my working data, one for archives and my Temp cache.
Another thing NOT to do is run a screen saver or have your e-mail checked unless you do it manually. Now those are the REAL killer app. Like I said, there are limits to what your hardware can do. Just learn to be conservative. All the marketing hype is just that! Get a CD player if you want to listen to music and use a radio to check those game scores while you are working. It could save your job. Does anyone know a salesman who doesn't lie? <g><g> What do you think the iPod is all about? Apple still has the best engineers. Buy an Apple. They make both the hardware and software. Jobs gets the Work Done.
While some of the points are well-taken, overall I've got to respond with a "bah".
1. Browsers are not nor will ever be the "centerpiece" of business applications. They are of course used often (and very usefully) as the thinnest of clients over a business's applications, but the centerpiece will still be the database and the server-side application layers.
3. Actually, usually the TCP/IP connection that the user connects over is much more faulty than the browser (think about how many times you have been stalled because of a dropped connection). That's where the work should really be focused.
4. Honestly, I have had much less crashes, etc... with browser/web applications than with most standard client-server business applications (by far). One reason for this is that there is such a clear separation of client and server. Almost all the crashes one will encounter happen on the server side, with logic flaws, bad validation, etc... And _please_, losing form data because the browser crashes? Exactly how many other client front-ends preserve your unsubmitted form data when they crash? I haven't seen any. And really, this depends more on the integrity of the desktop platform as a whole. Get rid of Windows and 95% of the problem is gone.
5. Yes, there ARE interesting new developments in formats, with XForms and -- even better -- Mozilla's XUL platform. This is a big advance, and goes a long, long way towards making the browser a more robust application environment. This is not all just a big mess of incoherent frills; this is a major step that no commercial vendor has been able to envision (Imagine--an actual innovation coming from Open Source...;-0).
6. "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not with our stars, but ourselves...". The fault is usually in the web-based application _architecture_, not in the faultiness of the client. Since, as I said, the TCP/IP connection is usually the weakest link, especially over long distances, the real focus should be on how to make the central architecture truly fault-tolerant. Not an easy task always, but this is much better than allowing client faults to corrupt an application.
Thanks for articulating something which has been irritating me for years. Because I can still remember Netscape 2, one of the most unstable pieces of junkware ever written, I tend to put up with modern browsers with little complaint. You've just pointed out why I *should* complain.