Web technologies, especially XML, have negated the need for Windows, at least according to some high-powered IBM Corp. technologists.
The Windows icon paradigm is "bloatware," said Tony Temple, an IBM fellow and expert in user interfaces.
If he were to build an interface today, he would use XML (extended markup language) and try to avoid C++, he said.
XML defines information types and information exchange via the internet and can be used to describe not only the interface, but the data and even low-level system components, Temple said.
"You have to write more code (with C++) and the more code you write, the more code you have to rewrite if you've got to change it. You want the least amount of code so if you want to change or adjust things you can do it in a very simple, speedy manner."
IBM Fellow Alex Morrow agreed that XML is driving better user interfaces. "There is no windowing in there, there is just exchange of information," Morrow called XML the "lingua franca" for the Web.
Morrow, who was named an IBM Fellow on June 10 is also vice president of advanced technology for Lotus.
He and Temple were two of several IBM fellows speaking at a technologyroundtable at Lotus Wednesday.
The Internet, he continued, has provided a great opportunity to improve the user interface. "The Web has already nailed half of it. It has already taken out the double clicks and all those other complicated things. You don't have icons in the same shape and size," Temple said.
Software vendors are racing to include XML support in their products. Microsoft Corp. supports it in OFfice 2000 and Lotus promises to add XML support in the next release of Notes/Domino.
"XML is going to be a very integral part of the next Notes/Domino and certainly is something you need to understand," said Morrow.
He added that XML will make it "a lot easier to interconnect Notes business-to-business." XML is "how we build the new Web, he added
Morrow stressed that Lotus will continue to be "deeply engaged" with MIcrosoft to make sure Lotus products interoperate with Windows. However, Windows is "not the only thing....I don't think they [Microsoft] believe it is any longer either. You want devices that are easier than Windows to use."
For example, parents would like a camera that would take a photograph of their kids and then be plugged in to the Internet to automatically send the image to a family member. "I don't want to have to go through all the Windows stuff to do that and won't have to," he said. "People are going to build things that are just like. IT is simple to use, it isn't Windows, it is a camera."
XML is key "to getting the geekiness out of this world and making it natural for people," he added.