Tim Bray talks about rich clients again

Tim Bray talks about rich clients again (points at Jon Udell's piece on GUI/browser tension) and makes a case for us to ship an updated IE before Longhorn.

By the way, every time I see “rich client” my mind translates that to “Windows application.” Do you do that too?

And what's wrong with Mozilla? It works on Longhorn. But, seriously, the world of Internet connected applications is so much larger than just a browser. Heck, look at what Apple released this week. Is that a browser app?

Also, lets assume that we gave Tim what he wanted: a new browser that's perfect. Guess what, only the geeks would use it. How do I know that? Past behavior of customers. There are still tons of customers who are using IE4.

So, the advantage of having a standards-based browser wouldn't arrive, even if a new browser shipped tonight (which it won't). What's the advantage? Why it costs more to develop a website if there are many browsers out there that web developers need to target. Web standards are supposed to make it possible to develop a site once and target all browsers (that would, in theory, reduce costs because developers wouldn't need to test on multiple browsers and platforms). In reality that nirvana won't arrive. Why? Because of the installed base. When you explain to me how to get people to move from the inferior IE 4 and 5 to the superior IE6, then I'll believe you have a case.

Personally, I'd rather see us do something really compelling and really push the platform forward so that mom and dad see a reason to upgrade their entire computer (cause we sure can't get them to upgrade just their browser, especially when they can't see much of a change — tell your mom that she needs to get Mozilla because it's “standards compliant” and see the stares you get).  [The Scobleizer Weblog]

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