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Readers reject portents of Doom-style virtual market

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Death of Web 'inevitable'

So, will the Web as we know it eventually become the stuff of teary-eyed fireside nostalgia? Simon Crowle thinks not:

A very interesting article - thanks. However, I would like to express my doubts regarding Carl Howe's vision of the executable Internet of the future. His example of a Doom-style virtual market place is particularly vexing. For many years already, people the field of Human-Computer Interaction research have attempted to design, implement and test these kinds of technologies. Plenty of these kinds of systems already exist - for an example, take a trip to the Redmond site to see what's going on there.

The problem is: these technologies are still in their infancy and just not usable. In fact, it is only just recently that HTML, Java and browser technology has maturated to a stage where it has become a ubiquitous and acceptable technology for end users, let alone for those who wish to create and publish content for themselves.

So, I for one, will not be holding my breath.

Yes, that's probably wise. According to Underwood, it's all just old hat:

Unfortunately, there's nothing new in this article that isn't already generally known.

I think your article failed to take into account the larger equation, that nothing is static and that everything is evolving, including technology. Everything described here from both you and your sources has been known since before the birth of the web, before the birth of easily accessible email, and from right around the time of the creation of the Arpanet.

William Gibson wrote a book way back around that time called 'Neuromancer' - pick it up, read it and realize that everything in this article is over 20 years old... perhaps older. back then, Cyberspace was described as an immersive user interface like a souped up VR sense-net jacked right into the brain.. in effect delivering sensory immersion in 3d Widescreen with ultimate sound and interconnectivity.

It's an interesting prospect - downloading email straight into your cerebral cortex. Unfortunately this technology soothsaying rarely has any basis in the real world. Let's face it, we Brits invented the railway years ago, and we still can't get a wheeled vehicle to run along rails without falling off or breaking down. Maybe boffins should work on that one before attempting to plug our brains directly into Tomb Raider.

But back to the Web. Forrestor has found at least one ally in Graham Brown-Martin:

Interesting article and I have to say that it echo's a lot of our thinking here. To an extent it's already happening with Flash and Shockwave based applications that are launched via the web, our site AMMO CITY is a simple example of this.

This doesn't please everyone however, we got a lot of stick from the net traditionalists (if there can be such a thing!) for using Flash and indeed shockwave on other apps. Even The Register described AMMO CITY as a "Flash-based monstrosity" at one point (although I think that this was more to do with some sillyness that got out of hand!).

We've found that Flash and Shockwave help in creating apps that are executable on a number of platforms, e.g. Windows, Mac, PS2, XBox, etc. A problem is plug-in overhead which many people object to, even though they are willing to install some pretty heavy game technology for entertainment purposes. Also the ability to deep-link(and index) into a flash application has been a problem but we have recently fixed this.

Ultimately, we will probably drive towards executable net apps as Forrestor suggests.

'Net traditionalists'? Blimey, the Web's barely out of the cradle and already we've got old boys in cardigans, smoking pipes and telling the young 'uns: "When I was a lad we got our applications on a disk in a real box. And we used real html. I'm 84, you know..."

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