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From "Thomas B. Passin" <tpas...@mitretek.org>
Subject Re: FORM is to HTML, as ? is to XML
Date Tue, 21 Dec 1999 19:08:47 GMT

Mike Dierken wrote:

>XML separates data from presentation as well as logic. It also
separates
>these from the transport.
>HTML files blend all of them.
>
>If you design a markup language that is intended to be interpreted by
some
>client software that you own or write, then you can build in
assumptions
>about presentation, logic and transport. Re-using the Web for transport
>(i.e. HTTP) is probably a good idea.
>
>If you design a markup language that is intended for an HTML browser,
then
>you might as well use the HTML concepts known to the browser (like HTTP
form
>POST, etc. - pretty much what an earlier post said).
>

This is really the only way a browser can talk to a server. You can
imagine some scripting that reads an xml page and creates the
displayable UI, but when the user is done, the page will have to send a
form to the server.  Of course, you can write your own server and have
your own machinary to process returns from the browser, but wouldn't you
rather use servlets, ISAPI, or fastCGI instead?

>In the bright shiny future, there may be a common way for clients to
talk to
>servers other than HTTP mime encoded messages - but it's taken us
pretty far
>as is.
>

The future may be even more of HTTP-mime, since WEBDAV is looking like
it may take off, and it's an extension of HTTP.

>On interesting thing to note is that in the IE5 browser (and in the
>DataChannel XML parser) there is an interface called IXMLHTTPRequest.
This
>is an object available to client side JavaScript that can be used to do
>arbitrary requests to a server. It can automatically parse the results
into
>a DOM for processing by client script. So... you can have client script
>handle user interface actions and perform client/server communication
(via
>HTTP) all without resorting to hidden frames.
>

There's also a product called mozquito that uses xml and a page
generator to create browser pages that are entirely created by
javascript.  This includes the forms and controls.  Each UI element you
define by an xml element and the generator writes the javascript.

www.mozquito.org

>It would be very nice to see this interface find its way into other
>scriptable clients.
>


Tom Passin


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