[erlang-questions] Two beautiful programs - or web programming made easy

Jerome Martin <>
Sun Feb 13 22:52:07 CET 2011

Just on the back-button, not the history problem in general:

2011/2/13 Edmond Begumisa <>

> [...]
> However, I've written XULRunner apps with no back buttons -- no need for
> them with easy-to-navigate UIs. Most Adobe AIR apps I've seen have no
> browser history. It's made me question: How badly do end-users really need
> those things?

I think users are _hooked_ to back-button, the same way most of us are
hooked to undo. I find those two to be essentially the same, in terms of
behavioral semantics. However, maybe the question here is whether or not the
history + back button functionalities being generic and implemented at the
browser level is a good thing, or if it is too restrictive. Clearly, "the
web" has evolved, and still haven't swallowed the "web application" pill
completely. Maybe a standard way to delegate 'undo/back' to the web
application, could be useful, like a meta HTTP tag containing the URL to
point at in case of the user using back/undo. But then I am not sure anymore
that HTTP/HTML is the proper foundation for this... An then suddenly I
realize that this is too obvious an idea not to be thought by people smarter
than me, so I just looked up HTML5 on w3c site and voila:
window.history.back() and window.history.forward() provide programmatic
interfaces to browser back and forward functions in HTML5. See this
that one <http://html5demos.com/history> and maybe even this

> If they do, couldn't we give them better application-specific versions
> inside our web-app UI?

Asked myself that very question 2 minutes ago, and it seems HTML5 has the
answer for us :-)

So I would say that Joe's code could very much be well integrated in all
HTML5-supporting browser, granted that the appropriate hooks are set on the
javascript side, and some standard logic hanging on those hooks on the
erlang side (gen_html5app anyone ?).

Thoughts ?
Jérôme Martin

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