Where Rev could be going...

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Wed Nov 22 11:13:21 EST 2006

Bernard Devlin wrote:
>... it's clear from the number of times that it has come up,
> that there's quite a lot of desire for it....
> As I've said, it's not currently a high priority for me,
> but it seems to be quite important to other users.

What people want is not always what they need. :)


> Since Lynn asked at the beginning of the month what we wanted from  
> Rev in terms of browser interaction, maybe he could provide us with  
> the definitive answer about why a browser plug-in would be such an  
> engineering challenge.

I'll venture this much, from having worked as a contractor with 
Allegiant during the time they made SuperCard's Roadster plugin:

One of the hardest things in making a browser plugin is dealing with the 
limitations of the environment:  no file I/O, no Apple events, no 
Registry access, no windows, no window styles, etc.  In a comprehensive 
superset of HyperTalk like SuperTalk and Transcript, doing that many 
IFDEFs across the code base is a lot of work (and characterizing the 
work as simply IFDEFing is of course a generously lighthearted metaphor 
for the true nature of the rework).

While Roadster showed that it's not impossible, it's also worth noting 
that the current owners of SuperCard no longer saddle themselves with 
the expense of maintaining it.

> I'm sure all of us would prefer that Rev's engineering resources are  
> not consumed by the production of a browser plug-in.

Agreed here.

I also think it's noteworthy that the link above helps point the way to 
a plugin-free solution for deploying in-the-browser content, yet no 
one's been sufficiently motivated to even begin exploring it in practice.

Who could blame them? Asymetrix spent a lot of time/money going down 
that path for ToolBook, and where did it get them?

While there are many posts requesting a browser plugin from time to 
time, they're from a relatively small number of individuals.  And none 
of the requests I've seen yet have evidenced having done a sufficient 
workflow and business analysis for their own organization to determine 
if a browser plugin will indeed satisfy the ostensible goal.

In the absence of such data, it's my belief that the tangible histories 
of Allegiant and Asymetrix tell us far more relevant stories in terms of 
real-world success potentials.

There are bigger and much more tasty fish to fry, esp. in a world that's 
waking up to net-savvy apps as a powerful alternative to the limitations 
of the browser.  Google Maps is so last year; the future is Google 
Earth.  And fortunately for us here on this list, Google Earth is the 
type of thing that's easier for us to build.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Media Corporation
  Ambassador at FourthWorld.com       http://www.FourthWorld.com

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