Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Wednesday 22 March 2006

And So It Begins ...

... the great battle of our time.

"Certainly one thing is clear�even with Atlas, the browser's capabilities simply don't match those of Windows itself," Lhotka said. "The more you want your Web pages to act like Windows, the more expensive it becomes. Atlas helps ease some of that cost and pain, but my feeling is that ultimately Atlas is a bridge between simple HTML and WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation], filling an important niche."

There's a high chance that that quote was fed directly to Lhotka by Microsoft's PR agency. When I was awarded a Microsoft student fellowship, the PR agency sent me a press release complete with a quote from me that they'd made up, asking me to just give the OK. I suppose that all PR agencies work the same way.

Microsoft's agenda is unfolding just as I thought it would. But Atlas and Expression are an interesting twist, because at first glance making Web development easier might actually discourage WPF adoption. I presume that Microsoft is afraid of losing developers to other tools, such as IBM's Ajax Tools Framework; by keeping them on Microsoft tools, there is a reduced chance they will use non-IE features (SVG, canvas, columns and so on), Microsoft gets more leverage on servers, and the developers can be more easily transitioned to WPF. And as Doron noted, they can structure their framework to maximise IE performance and compatibility compared to other browsers.

The good news here is that Microsoft is having to play our game for now. Producing good tools for the Web is good for the Web no matter what the motivation. It's up to Firefox and Opera and Webkit and WHATWG and the ATF people and all our other allies to produce great tools and browsers to avoid the "extinguish" phase of this round of triple-E.


When I initially read your post, I thought you were way off base. Today I read this post and you may well be right:
"WPF/E ... is a ... web technology that supports ... XAML"
Did you approve the canned comment they sent you?
Robert O'Callahan
No. There was some factual inaccuracy, although I can't remember what it was. They never got back to me about it.