MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


Re: A good set of generic questions...

My take on this whole thing... Sorry if it's a bit long..

darkowl wrote:

>Ugly.  Annoying.  This describes most frames interfaces. 

My thoughts exactly. If they weren't the only way to do a couple of things,
I'd not be using them at all! Netscape have a habit of hacking these things,
as I see it.

>using server-push to keep the connection open also does not really
>work -- the connection eventually dies.  And forms really don't work
>well as an input device.

Very true, in fact, forms suck for this stuff.

>My recommendation would be to talk to Andy Wilson and work on creating
>widgets for tkmoo, a client running under tk/tcl.  

tkmoo is nice, but tk is _not_ portable, no matter what sunlabs tell you.
My preference is to do this stuff in Java, which is what I am doing. The
key advantage is to be able to deliver the interface to the MOO via
the net - secure Tcl/Tk is a long way off. Java security flaws pale
into insignificance next to what unsolicited Tcl code can do.

Starting from the ground up, Java is a nice way to build clients. 
DU-moo is nice, but it's a bit immature at the moment.. as soon as I'm
done tidying some rough edges, I'll let you in on the client I'm
using for CoSMOO - once the sysadmins let me have my machine back, I'll
gladly demo it to people.. 

Keith Weston wrote:

> All this raises the question again:  Is this a good idea?  So much on the 
> Web seems to be done just because someone could, not because it was a 
> good idea. 

Very true, but if you are going to go with Toffler, it doesn't 
mean we shouldn't learn from the bad pages as well as the good...

> Frames as well as java-applets are saddly 
> the most unartfully over-used and unnecessary uses of bandwidth on the web.

True, frames are nasty, but, as I've said, they allow you some stuff you
didn't have access to before.. Java applets aren't nasty, only nasty java
applets are nasty. As to the bandwidth issue, Java is a drop in the ocean
compared to full page gif pictures - there are _far_ more of those. 

> MOO, and I feel this very strongly, does not need these plug-ins to 
> work.  Where it works, it works best where simple.  
Your opinion, really. I need to use MOO for online teaching. most people,
unlike the command-line jockeys who inhabit this list, find plain text
interfaces unintuitive. Then again, there are those, like me, who find 
iconitis particularly irritating. We need to strike a balance, not 
dig up Ludd.

> One of these days I hope a Webmaster named Ockham comes along to shave 
> the over-long beard of unreasonablly complex beards called enhancements.

Then again, William of Ockham (Occam?) could use his razor on the 
unneccessarily complex MOO text editing interface (the major stumbling 
block for newbies, surely). Tell me hypertext is harder to use than MOO. 
No one will, because it simply isn't true. 

> MOO is a textual interface.  As such its dependency on graphics is 
> virtually nil. 

Again, this depends on the application. Teaching relies on engaging as
many of the senses as possible. MOO objects cannot convey the richness
of web documents, its time they are able to.

> What we need more is to improve the textual interface first. 

I agree, which explains why the first thrust of my work has been to add
simple markup to MOO - italics and bold text make a spectacular difference.

> So many projects seem to get almost finished, never fully, before 
> our attention turns to how to add shockwave to MOO.  This is ridiculous, 
> my fellow MOO'ers.  And, not a little sad.

I am certainly not suggesting going plug-in crazy. Java is here to stay,
though, and could be ideal for the task. Anybody who shares my view,
reply by mail or catch me (Grommit) on MediaMOO.


Mike Houghton
Department of Computer Science
University of Reading,


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