Web Browsers Shouldn't Have Features

Kay: Go to a blog, go to any Wiki, and find one that's WYSIWYG like Microsoft Word is. Word was done in 1984. HyperCard was 1989. Find me Web pages that are even as good as HyperCard. The Web was done after that, but it was done by people who had no imagination. They were just trying to satisfy an immediate need. There's nothing wrong with that, except that when you have something like the Industrial Revolution squared, you wind up setting de facto standards — in this case, really bad de facto standards. Because what you definitely don't want in a Web browser is any features.

Binstock: "Any features?"

Kay: Yeah. You want to get those from the objects. You want it to be a mini-operating system, and the people who did the browser mistook it as an application. They flunked Operating Systems 101.

Binstock: How so?

Kay: I mean, look at it: The job of an operating system is to run arbitrary code safely. It's not there to tell you what kind of code you can run. Most operating systems have way too many features. The nice thing about UNIX when it was first done is not just that there were only 20 system commands, but the kernel was only about 1,000 lines of code. This is true of Linux also.

Notes:

Features should come from the objects they invoke from web sites.

Folksonomies: computing

 Interview with Alan Kay
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Binstock, Alan (2012/07/10), Interview with Alan Kay, Retrieved on 2021-01-28
  • Source Material [web.archive.org]
  • Folksonomies: computing history of computing