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AJAXWorld Keynote: "Can We Fix the Web?" JSON Inventor & Yahoo! Architect To Ask

Douglas Crockford To Keynote AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008 East, March 18-20 New York City

"The Web needs fixing" says Yahoo! Architect Douglas Crockford bluntly, pointing out that the standards and recommendations that define the Web were last revised in 1999. In his keynote in March at AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008 East in New York City, Crockford intends to argue that, since the Web has now grown from a document retrieval system into an application delivery system, the cleverness of the Web development community and the surprising expressive power of JavaScript have brought us to its very limits.

"The Web is no longer a driver of innovation," says Crockford. "It is now a serious impediment." But in his March AJAXWorld Keynote he will offer tangible Next Steps for how we can fix it.

SYS-CON.TV webcast of Douglas Crockford's overview of JSON,
from AJAXWorld 2006 West in Santa Clara, CA.

According to Crockford,  one of the things that AJAX has enabled are mashups, which he boldly calls "the most interesting innovation in software development in at least 20 years."

Here is Crockford's take on the flip side of mashups though:

"Mashups are the fulfillment of the promise of compenent architecture and highly reusable modules. Mashups are great, providing a whole new class of interactivity and value. Unfortunately, mashups are insecure, so when we're designing mashups now we have to be careful that the mashups not have access to any confidential information. And it turns out every page contains confidential information, so mashups as currently practiced in the browser are inherently insecure. Security is a big problem in the web. I think it's our no. 1 big problem. The Web is an exploit waiting to happen."

In March 2008, his AJAXWorld Keynote will be titled "Can We Fix the Web?" and it  will focus on how the current Web is, as Crockford puts it, "overly complex and visually underpowered."

"It is hopelessly insecure. It is now under competitive assault by new proprietary platforms that hope to capture the next generation of applications. Can a system as large and as open as the web heal and adapt itself to the challenges of the 21st Century?"

His lofty aim, at AJAXWorld 2008 East: to show that it can, and to explain how.

AJAXWorld - March 18-20, 2008, New York City
The first one of the upcoming SYS-CON conferences is AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008 East, which will take place March 18-20, in New York City. Last year more than 70 companies sponsored it, including 3Tera, Addison-Wesley, Adobe, Apress, Backbase, Bindows, Conference Guru, Cynergy Systems, Dynamic Toolbar, Extension Media, Farata Systems, Flash Goddess, FrogLogic, GoingToMeet.com, Google, Helmi Technologies, IBM, ICEsoft, ILOG, IT Mill, Ittoolbox, JackBe, JetBrains, Kaazing, Krugle, Laszlo Systems, Lightstreamer, Manning Publications, Methods & Tools, Microsoft, Nexaweb, OpenSpot, OpSource, Oracle, Parasoft, Passport Corporation, PushToTest, Quasar Technologies, Rearden Commerce, Servoy, SmartClient / Isomorphic Software, SnapLogic, Sun Microsystems, TechTracker Media, Tele Atlas, The Thomson Corporation, ThinWire, TIBCO Software, TileStack, Universal Mind, Vertex Logic, Web Spiders, and Webtide.

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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Most Recent Comments
John Bailo 01/08/08 07:54:02 PM EST

The Internet as a whole has become cumbersome...but so has the Long Island Expressway, over time.

What was once a fast way to get from the city to the country for weekends, is now a hoary, stalled, pollutionary mess.

So too the "web".

We need thinkers, designers, administrators, builders...quality people to make it better.

nev 01/08/08 02:04:26 PM EST

I think browser should take a step forward from being just document hosts and move to being application hosts

read this...


mrpotatohead 12/04/07 12:05:18 PM EST

> Is there anybody in the planet who wants to publish something online today but can't because of problems with HTML?

Yes. Mashups for one. Due to same origin domain restrictions, I can't write an HTML page that can pull data from multiple sites without having to write a lot of server-side proxy code that requires my servers to handle all of this traffic. The client browser should be able to request the information on its own. And, if I want to display information on a single page that requires you to login to multiple sites, the situation is even worse because there is no standard and secure way to do that. Web security has been an afterthought requiring kludgy workarounds. The web is pretty much a hacked up mess instead of being well-designed and engineered. Maybe this is okay for some who don't mind living in a world put together by bubble gum, toothpicks, and duct tape, but as computer scientists, if this is the best we can do, then we've really failed as a discipline.

phoebusQ 12/01/07 05:34:55 AM EST

Interesting ideas. I especially like the "module" concept, which could help to standardize, secure, and simplify a lot of AJAX and similar concepts.

an0n 12/01/07 03:32:28 AM EST

HTML5 is HTML + standard handling of broken HTML. Actually, it just describes the way mozilla handles broken HTML and proposes this as a standard. (for example, what should happen if you write some text between BLAH? It should be moved before the table because this is what mozilla does, by accident)

athloi 12/01/07 03:30:37 AM EST

I say bring on HTML 5, and bring on the strict. Make it look good in both browsers. End the sheer boredom of trying to make code display well on FireFox and IE, both of which are bloated pieces of crap, when it works just fine in Opera.

Simplify, and abstract, but don't expect HTML coders to be coders... it's a language for layout for the rest of us, and its genius has always been its simplicity and adaptability.

jalefkowit 12/01/07 03:27:37 AM EST

I love how the first sentence is:
>>HTML needs fixing.

O RLY? HTML is probably the most widely deployed document format in the entire history of computing (after ASCII plaintext, which I'm not sure counts as a "format"). An unknowably huge number of documents are authored in it every day. All but a tiny fraction are successfully retrieved and rendered by millions of clients ranging from dual-core desktop PCs to mobile phones.

It's one thing to say "HTML is ugly" (to which I'd agree) or "HTML needs extending" (I'd agree with that too) but "HTML needs fixing"? Really? Is there anybody in the planet who wants to publish something online today but can't because of problems with HTML?

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