Friday, September 21, 2007

More old wine in new Web 2.0 bottles

In light of last week's post on "beware of old AI wine in new Web 2.0 bottles" I wanted to post this link from Joel Spolsky. (A buddy of mine brought my attention to it)

Once in a while Joel posts "strategy letters". This one addresses history repeating itself in the old-html-web -> ajax-web paralleling the text-terminal -> windows-api flow. Very true. I did find it odd that he did not mention the Google Toolkit in his thoughts about the potential game-changing "NewSDK" and how it needs fancy new compilers. As a CS geek I think the idea of compiling Java to cross-browser-compliant javascript a simply amazing technical achievement.

The interesting thing about this topic is that it's what Java was supposed to do for the browser back in the 90s. Didn't work, no one could keep their browser & the JVMs synced and integrated well, plus Microsoft managed to run good interference via IE just being crappy at Java/JVMs at that time.

Turns out that Java succeeded wildly in reinventing the way back-end web services are written (CGIs just don't cut it for some things despite the PHP/Perl/Python crowd making CGIs way more useful than before.) On the browser today's Java-JVM is the javascript-engine (which is not java at all). The idea of using JS as byte-code makes me cringe, but it's where we are.

Nice post Joel! Would be nice if he'd follow up on why he thinks that the Google Toolkit, Yahoo's YUI and others aren't yet (or won't get to) the definition of his NewSDK.

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