Take a Stand and Understand the Standard - HTML with Style | 5 | WebReference

Take a Stand and Understand the Standard - HTML with Style | 5

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Take a Stand and Understand the Standard

Reasons for sticking with HTML (or, Why people do stupid things)

But why do people insist on using these tools to create interactive applications for the Web?

The first and primary reason is because so many people have access to a Web browser that will be able to run their applications. The big advantage of an application based around HTML is that anybody with a Web browser (and these days, that's just about anybody with a computer) can run their application. Access is important, and you can't beat HTML for that, not by a long shot, not with anything. I think it is safe to say that there is no other technology currently in the computing industry that is supported by so many different end users everywhere.

A second reason, that is probably equally important but often overlooked, is that HTML is free. Free as in open, available to the public, easy to understand, obtain and use. As Richard Stallman said explaining the name of the FSF, "Think free speech, not free beer." Anyone, anywhere can write HTML using a text editor or a free WYSIWYG editor, obtain the specification, read tutorials such as the HTML with Style Tutorials and, in short, easily be able to author HTML documents. Putting them on the Web is easy; even if you're not content with one of the free hosting services out there, these days you can get your own virtual server for under ten bucks a month.

Of course building an interactive application using HTML and related technologies is considerably trickier, and here the ease of learning factor sort of fades. Learning to write a good Web-based application in DHTML is much more difficult than it is, say, in Java, or in Director, but even a complete novice can still do it with patience, time and a little skill without spending a dime (read: free speech is kind of irrelevant when you're dying of thirst).

These are the only reasons people use HTML for interactive applications. I challenge anyone who has actually done this to come up and say, while keeping a straight face, that HTML and company are more suited for developing applications than just about any alternative out there from either a technical standpoint or concerning ease of learning and use. HTML is open, HTML is free, and HTML is popular (probably because it is open and free). So how do you beat that?

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URL: http://www.webreference.com/html/watch/standards/4.html

Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: August 25, 1999
Revised: August 26, 2089