Web Missing in Action

Web Missing in Action is comments about Web features that, due to the Microsoft-induced Deep Freeze on Web Innovation of 2001 to 2006, have never appeared in HTML, JavaScript, CSS or mashups in a standard way. Now that Microsoft is  finally making amends in IE9  for not having kept its last century promises to implement all HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript -Web standards makers should now get on with some Missing in Action Web features.

Link Opens a  New Tab in a Browser

Yes of course you can do this with jQuery, EXTjs, mootools and other JavaScript frameworks. But the code is more complicated then it should be. There is still  no HTML nor JavaScript  to do this. Yet it would be simple to have another target, _tab, in the list of browser link  targets. Note we are not asking for named tabs or control of existing tabs in a browser[although these things would be mighty useful]. Just the ability to have a browser open a new tab in the same Window  with the link specified. Come on W3C and browser vendors, this one should be easy.


Gestures and multi-touch operations are most compelling – see the appeal of smartphones, tablets, and other “touch-smart” devices. But all the browser and device vendors are implementing it differently despite the fact that  Opera had a set of gestures and operations for its browser starting back in 2001. Now the situation is dire confusion as each player – Apple, Google, Mozilla, tries to protect its proprietary turf. Sound ominous? Just look here and see the W3C schedule for getting a standard out by 2012.


JavaScript has been steadily improving in performance as more Java-like dynamic optimizations get incorporated into JavaScript-engines. And Rhino a JavaScript engine that uses JVM has been available since 2006. But why have so many versions of JavaScript engines and not have a standard implementation similar to WebKit as Web layout/rendering engine [Apple, Adobe, Google, RIM, among others are are on board for Webkit]? Call it JavaSwift and use it as core JavaScript engine with vendors able to one version of their browser proprietary extensions. JavaSwift consortium of vendors could vote on whether to adopt the proprietary extension or defer until the next version of the browser is released.

The advantage of the JavaSwift engine is that JavaScript developers get to a very fast core very quickly while being able to pursue proprietary extensions. But the community gets to adopt the extensions into the core JavaSwift engine as they see fit.  But the bottom line is improvements in speed without relinguishing reliability and security. In the Debian Language benchmarks, JavaScript used to be as pokey as Perl, Ruby, and Python – 50 times slower than the fastest compilers, C and C++. But now Google has gotten it JavaScript V8 engine down to 4.14 times the speed of C. However, the last optimizations become ever more difficult – as Java which is within 1.59 of C-speeds has moved down from 2.12 over about a 5 year period. Hence the JavaScript into JavaScift proposal.

Your Favorite Missing in Action

It does not take long to come up with some nifty ideas for improvements in Web development resources. Take for a example, SQL database support. Oops – there is already a proposal for SQLite in HTML5. SQLite has a lot going for it as it is already Open Source, cross platform, and adopted by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and dozens of major software vendors. But  now comes the sticky wicket …Ian Hickson, HTML5 Master Chef  from Google has decreed “wait for Godot” to SQLite. So you can see Missing in Action can prevail for many reasons beyond Redmond. So those that dare to hazard a Missing in Action proposal in the comments below will likely be very welcome and greeted with open arms.

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