[AoyW] The SVG Terminal - UI on the Server, the Server on You
One of the cliches most excersized by web proponents is "The browser is good enough!" In other words, users don't really need web views to be as flexible as those on a PC. If you visited the Superbowl play-by-play site last Sunday, and enjoyed its mixture of AJAX & Flash, you might tend to agree. How easily we forget that interactive media is not a productivity tool or modeling system; it doesn't have to gain much control of the screen to succeed.
This is the concept of the SVG Terminal. The server maintains the view model as an SVG document object, and updates clients as it changes. The clients relay all user actions directly to the server for processing. This mechanism may not perform flawlessly on WAN connections, but on the LAN or to wireless peers, it's very smooth. For the web server coming to your pocket, it's ideal.
This architecture is very similar to the message-driven approach of windowing systems like MacOS and MS Windows. One tremendous difference is that multiple screens can share the same view, which may include variations for each screen and support efforts by each user to affect the view. At last, web experiences will go head-to-head with PC user experiences, and begin to beat them, especially for always-on-you wikis, living and working on mobile devices.
We're now prototyping an SVGTerm, based on the SVG Scene library we released last summer. It should be released within a week or two. It employs the Firefox browser, which began rendering SVG with the release of v1.5.