Re: Forms support in clients

Marc VanHeyningen (
Mon, 26 Sep 1994 08:10:23 -0500

Thus wrote: Karl Auerbach
> >>No - he wants documents that can be more like programs. basically he
> >>wants to display the form, have the user fill in what doc he
> >>would like (as an example) and then have the browser do a text
> >>substitution on the ACTION part before performing the GET.

This is an excellent idea.

> >There's been some talk around here, as I vaguely recall, about TCL for this
> >sort of thing. Any thoughts, anyone, on the idea of letting TCL swallow up
> >HTML, so that we have a real UI language that contains a real hypertext
> >language, instead of trying to built a UI language out of a hypertext
> >language? (Which just ain't gonna happen, I suspect...)

Yes; an arbitrarily powerful language, designed to be powerful and
secure, is where it is at.

>Please not TCL. It is intrinsicly inefficient and, to my eyes, quite

Not entirely false, though largely a matter of opinion.

>(My preference is Scheme, but I somehow suspect that this isn't
>necessarily going to be popular with People who have been brought
>up on shell programming and C.)
>Whatever, the language, the important issues are a secure/safe
>abstract machine in which it is to execute.

More or less. There are a number of desirable characteristics:

- A secure language for which secure implementations are "easy"
- A reasonably simple language that can be learned and implemented in
a vaguely concise way
- A language which allows a variety of presentation approaches (e.g. a
single program can use a GUI interface or a simpler interface,
either through abstract routines or more directly
- Portable
- Extensible
- A language with a secure reference implementation which may be used
freely by developers (i.e. it is unencumbered by things like GPL or
other licenses that may inhibit development)
- Reasonably efficient

and so on. I don't know of anything that comes closer to meeting
these requirements today, or shows promise for doing so in the near
future, than Safe-Tcl. You can use Safe-Tcl to retrieve a program
from a server and run WWW-oriented code on it today. Is anyone
actually working on a Safe-Scheme, or Safe-Perl, or
Safe-Scripting-Language-Like-C or Safe-Python? How's it going?

We can argue all day about how "it should be scheme-like" or "it
should be more object-oriented" but unless some effort at actually
developing the thing is underway NOW, it's a non-starter. We want
this to actually be working and in widespread use in a reasonably
small number of years.

Marc VanHeyningen  <>