Ever notice that Frank Gehry never seems to talk about
walls? His view of a building is of light and shadow and
volume. I'm an engineer. My view of a building is slabs and
ductwork and convection. It's the same building, but we see
The future of software is in this multi-platform, multi-
client, wildly distributed network called "The Internet".
I'm such a visionary, I know. It bears consideration that
network clients will see artifacts in as varied a manner as
people see buildings.
It's difficult enough to build software with a single
manifestation of an artifact (an email message, for
example). Supporting multiple, and ideally unlimited,
manifestations is immensely more complex. Once again,
software needs to be done differently.
So how does nature do it? Our minds hold intangible models
that form the basis of our cognition. These models are
fully encapsulated, accessed only over a physical carrier
such as air, or paper, or electrons. The conversion of our
mental models is not perfect, as the exaltation of "great
artists" and "great communicators" exemplifies. The
conveyances are the common primitives defined by the rules
How is software limited by the conveyances of the web?
Significantly. Bits are a very primitive building block --
akin to atoms or bricks? Bits must be molded with great
craftsmanship to carry a message.
What makes XML a better conveyer of information than bits?
The ability of software to "sense" it. Viola.
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