LASR Colloquia - Jon Howell/Microsoft Research - Redmond, "The Web Interface Should Be Radically Refactored", ACES 2.402

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Feb 27, 2012 3:00pm - 4:00pm

There is a sign-up schedule for this event that can be found at

Type o

f Talk: LASR Colloquia

Speaker/Affiliation: Jon Howell/Microsoft Resea

rch - Redmond

Talk Audience: UTCS Faculty, Graduate Students, Underg

raduate Students and Outside Interested Parties

Date/Time: February 27

, 2012, 3:00 pm

Location: ACES 2.402

Host: Michael Walfish

nTalk Title: The Web Interface Should Be Radically Refactored

Talk The
Web API conflates two conflicting goals: serving developers by supporting

a wide and growing suite of functionality, and providing applications with
an isolated execution environment. We propose to split the API into two le

vels of interface: a low-level interface (binary programs and bitmaps, not
JavaScript and CSS) that governs the relationship between the application

and the browser, and a set of high-level interfaces that govern the relati

onship between the application and its developer. We delineate a tiny set o

f properties needed by the low-level interface. This restructuring provides
significant benefit to both developers and users: more functional applicat

ions more freedom for innovation, and a more secure client.


n Howell is a researcher in the distributed systems group at Microsoft Rese

arch Redmond. Past projects include the Farsite serverless distributed file
system. More recently, he has been interested in how distributed applicat

ion delivery redefines the meaning of "client computer". At one time, prog

ramming was the rule, and the arrival of shrinkwrapped software made it th

e exception. Today, users administering their PCs is the rule but a novel

definition of client computer may make that the exception case.