Monday, April 12, 2010

Who would have thought...

...that a talk about standards would be interesting? But it was! Robert O'Callahan (Mozilla) just gave a talk about web standards. Standards are dull, and people who care about them tend to be even duller, but this was not a dull talk! It was interesting! Lots of interesting things about the web.

One nice thing is that short interations seem to work better for standards too, just like software. I think this is one of those fundamental computer science truths, kind of like "you can solve any problem with an extra indirection", for any task, shorter iterations are better.

Also, interesting parsing problem - "herebedragons", its obvious what is intended, but how should you parse it? And make a tree that can be manipulated by Javascript etc. And we all thought syntax had been solved thirty years ago. In fact, the web seems to be a whole new world of interesting computer science problems (see the post on Javascript VMs). Now what would be an interesting research topic?