Microsoft had the right idea, they just haven't figured out
where it makes sense yet.
I'm talking about their whole web browser == the OS thing.
You don't want to do that on the desktop, your applications
are too heavy-duty, they break the browser metaphor, and the
security issues are horrid.
But where it does make sense, is in a handheld computer. The
applications you run in one of those things are, mostly,
well suited to the model of filling out forms and following
Take an iPaq, and install a lightweight browser. No
browser, if you want special behaviour suited to the
touchscreen you hardcode it in.
Then add a copy of Apache with a server-side scripting
language. Maybe a bunch. I like tcl (NeoWebScript, that is),
but something like REXX or Perl or even a VB clone or
Build in your address book applications and the like using
the web server. As much as possible your user interface for
EVERYTHING is through http://localhost/....
You'd want a few extensions to HTML. A mechanism to edit
using rich text in entry fields (using an SGML/XML markup,
of course, behind the scenes), for example, and a way to
deal with large graphical objects that's better than the way
things like Terraserver or Mapquest manage it. But mostly
you'd do things through the browser.
It just seems like an automatic match. And with
cross-database links (and look at critlink for an idea of how to
synthesize them if there's not a good anchor already
there... perhaps have a special tag in the URL to signify
'search the document for this string'?) you'd get some nifty
It's almost worth picking up an iPaq running Linux to
experiment with the idea...