The HTML web famously starts with Tim Burners Lee, Robert Cailliau, and their famous 20 tags, 13 of which we still use today. HTML sprang out of SGML, the Standard General Markup Language, but was far simpler, and, well, usable. We all know that the web took off like a rocket, and now the Web is synonymous with the Internet in the eyes of many people. HTML is the vehicle, but as developers know, it is only a part of web. Granted, it's the part that the other parts all depend on, but here's a partial list of the technologies without which the Web as we know it would be fundamentally different:
A much shorter list. Again, you could argue about the content of the list, but the fact is, for many other domains, a developer can learn one language, one piece of technology, or perhaps two, and that's it.
So the web is different. It is hard to imagine a serious web designer now who doesn't know JS and HTML and probably PHP or Python or some other server-side scripting language. Maybe Flash instead of JS, but you get the idea. I call it the HTML Web because without HTML the rest couldn't work. But, it's hard to imagine a serious web site without using these other technologies.
So for the GeoWeb, we've learned the lessons of the HTML web. The question I'm asking, I guess, is, is this the right thing? Is building on the HTML model, with it's confusing amalgam of technologies, many of which don't work easily together, really the best model for the GeoWeb. I don't have the definitive answer to that question, but I think it's worth asking. Would it be better if we had a single technology to create Maps and distribute them?
OK, I have a preliminary answer, yes it would be better to follow the HTML model, and have an amalgam of technologies than to be locked into a single one.