Sunday, March 27, 2011

A dealbreaker weakness in Web standards (CSS, HTML, JavaScript, SVG, etc.)

For me, the fact that all of the code written in Web standards (CSS, HTML, JavaScript, SVG, etc.) is readable by anyone is a dealbreaker. Why do Adobe and Microsoft protect the source code of their desktop applications so fiercely? Because the source code is their most important piece of intellectual property.

These companies, and others, cannot extend the same protection to client-side software (or documents) built using Web standards. These standards have been designed to be human-readable.

An example of a company that's facing serious issues because of this openness of Web standards is Google. Because documents built using Web standards can be read by humans and parsed/processed by machines, Google's rival Bing is able to process Google's search results to better its own ranking. Would this have been possible if Google SERPs were served inside proprietary desktop software? Probably not.

I consider the openness of source code of applications and documents built using Web standards a serious issue. Frankly, I don't like it. I'm not in favor of it.

Disclaimer: I do understand that it is openness that has led to the proliferation of the WWW. I also understand that the proliferation of the WWW and of Web browsers has been a significant contributor to Google's success. I'm not contesting any of this.

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