The Future of the Web is not the Past of Windows: XML UI languages are commonly used to accelerate and simplify development and distribution of desktop-like applications. Languages like XUL and XWT encapsulate the set of Windows UI elements, and the ability to rapidly assemble a Windows-like Web application using XML is valuable and has many advantages over building a similar application in Visual Basic, let alone MFC or Swing. Unfortunately, using XML as a way to assemble interactive components that are defined using classic GUI toolkits leads to homogeneity and artificial simplicity, and does not reflect the diversity of today’s Web. Freedom of expression is essential for a UI markup language.
I presented this position paper yesterday at the W3C workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents.
Many thanks to my editor, David Temkin, who also came up with the title.