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This chapter is from the book

Lab 1.2 Exercise Answers

This section gives you some suggested answers to the questions in Lab 1.2, with discussion related to those answers. Your answers may vary, but the most important thing is whether your answer works. Use this discussion to analyze differences between your answers and those presented here.

If you have alternative answers to the questions in this Lab, you are encouraged to post your answers and discuss them at the companion Web site for this book, located at http://www.phptr.com/phptrinteractive.

1.2.1 Answers

  1. Why is multiple platform compatibility so important on the Web?

    Answer: From the start it was the intention of the designers of the Web and its formatting language HMTL that it present documents (pages) readable on all computer platforms. Besides Windows and Macintosh, this includes workstations running various forms of UNIX and LINUX and interactive televisions like WebTV (acquired by Microsoft, source of Windows). Development is now going on to make the Web readable on handheld devices like the Palm, in displays embedded in telephones, and devices that are going to surprise us all.

  2. What are problems involved in establishing interface standards? Why are standards desirable?

    Answer: The central problem beyond engineering would be getting software developers to buy into it and agree to develop applications that run under that engineering, work that way, and adhere to its principles.

    If you are manufacturing hardware, you want to see standardization so many applications by third-party developers can run on your machines—making them consumers' top choice for purchasing. By first providing an operating system twenty years ago for IBM personal computers, Microsoft's MS-DOS became a standard by running on other manufacturers' IBM compatibles. Consequently, Microsoft remained market leader when MS-DOS was replaced by Windows.

    Apple coined and popularized the term "Evangelist"—there were people with that title on their business cards. It made sure when the Macintosh was launched there were strong applications available for it from major software developers, including Microsoft. The Interface Evangelist also provides information and code to help and influence third-party developers to make their applications behave in the expected way. This means that if you know how one application on that platform behaves, your assumptions will help you get up to speed on others.

    Interface Evangelism is the business function of the machine's visual and behavioral design. Designers will understand the Evangelist's efforts of pitching a way of doing things, a look and a feel. Much about the topic has been published in books and articles by Guy Kawasaki. Web designers can benefit from his experiences among many developers over the years.

  3. In your opinion, is it a good or bad thing that there exist both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems?

    Answer: Your own answer and reasons may be different, but people have argued that competition promotes innovation. Yet it was during the years when Apple was not an especially robust market challenger that Windows most refined its interface behavior and standards. It's obviously a drain of resources for developers to dedicate resources to developing for more than one platform.

    Perhaps the Web will further level the playing field. There may someday be graphics tools that reside upon the Web server and are used only when online.

    Finally, who knows what business decisions between Microsoft and Apple (and other developers) may have taken place and influenced operating systems by the time you read this?

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