Tim Bray has thrown down the warning flag with respect to the Dashboard-related HTML extensions in the next version of Safari. "I'd be really happy if someone explained to me how this is different from what Netscape and Microsoft did to each other so irritatingly back in 1996," he writes.

Well, here's how it looks to me. In this post about Dashboard, Dave Hyatt mentions that extensions are being done "in a way that is designed to be compatible with other browsers." The linked site belongs to the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, just formed last month. From the WHATWG's home page:

Shouldn't this work be done at the W3C or IETF?

Many of the members of this working group are active supporters and members of the W3C and other standardization bodies. We plan to submit our work for standardization to a standards body when it has reached an appropriate level of maturity. The current focus is rapid, open development and iteration to reach that level.

Several members of this working group attended The W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents. The position paper submitted by Opera and Mozilla represents the fundamental principles upon which the WHAT working group intends to operate. [WHATWG]

That document, which enumerates a whole bunch of practical ways in which browsers could support better Web applications, resonates powerfully for me. Unlike in 1996, Microsoft today sees Web applications as a dead end; Internet Explorer is frozen; the wholly proprietary Avalon is their future. Meanwhile Mozilla, Safari, and Opera think they can create forward motion on Web apps, within a cooperative framework. My $0.02: go for it.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/07/07.html#a1035