That's not an issue in the kind of
>commercial niche you describe (for which a specialized application is
>probably better anyway). Nevertheless, I feel that there is a broad,
>common need that could be better filled by some standard than by the
>current cacophony of local hacks.
We could discuss whether or not search and retrieval agents and such are a
broad application or a niche... but I'll avoid the issue altogether by
suggesting that even for applications that are destined to be pervasive, I
don't think it's an issue that they may start life as helpers and
presumably the strongest ones migrate into a more tightly integrated and
To be practical, there's no way to stop various companies from implementing
their own document types, protocols and helper UIs. As long as HTTP/HTML
is there is tie them all together, so that a default continues to exist,
then the rest can compete for survival. Those that thrive are probably
destined for integration and standardization.
Those that aren't useful in the context of the Web just won't get
implemented in a mainstream browser... Does anyone think that Telnet will
migrate into the browsers?
P.S. An e-mail on this subject reminds me that in addition to HTML and
HTTP, URLs are a fundamental enabling standard that third-party
enhancements can use.