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Sun Debuts JavaFX As Alternative To AJAX 441

Posted by kdawson
from the YASL dept.
r7 writes "Internetnews is reporting on Sun's introduction of JavaFX at JavaOne today. Looks like a combination Applet, Flash, Javascript, and AJAX with a friendly programming interface. Does this really spell the end of AJAX? I sincerely hope so. Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs. Proprietary solutions and vendor lock-in are also dead ends. JavaFX has the potential to satisfy this opportunity even better than did Java over a decade ago. Along with AJAX, let's hope JavaFX also puts paid to Microsoft's viral Active-X and JScript, and, more importantly, that it really is a web scripting language that developers can grok."
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Sun Debuts JavaFX As Alternative To AJAX

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  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:26PM (#19043453) Homepage Journal
    Applets, and Java in general, are notorious for long startup times.

    It has been found that people give a web site about 2 seconds to respond before they determine it is not going to load and surf away.

    • by Fireflymantis (670938) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:29PM (#19043509) Homepage
      Java 5 and (even more so) 6 have really helped curb the init time of applets. Plus on windows, IIRC it stays resident so after the first instantiation of the Java VM, load up times are very small. This is not including the time required to download the required classes for the applet, but it would probably be no worse than waiting for a heavy javascript laden page to load up.
      • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:35PM (#19043657) Homepage Journal
        It's the first instantiation that matters.. Applets are so uncommon that the average user will only come across them once per reboot.

        Also, because of the most stupid thing Sun ever did, people tend to deliberately close the JVM after that first initiation. Why? Cause Sun puts a stupid little Java icon into the systray. It immediately draws attention to the fact that the JVM is in memory and people think they might get a speed boost or something by closing it. (Or something equally irrational that users think.) This was a pretty predictable result.. and the icon serves no purpose anyway, so why bother?

         
        • by aled (228417)
          That's just not true. The icon means that Sun JVM is running within your browser process. You can open the Java console right clicking on the icon.
          • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:59PM (#19044135) Homepage Journal
            The average user will never do that.

            It's just confusing to them.. and it has a negative effect on performance when they fiddle with it.

            More importantly, it's a change to their desktop which happens outside the browser window in response to going to a web page. Users don't really understand that it is the browser that spawned this.. they think that it was the web page that spawned this, and they understand that web pages shouldn't be able to put icons into their systray.

            All in all, it's a dumb idea.. and Sun should have done some user testing to see what the user's reaction to it was.
            • by aled (228417)
              You can hide from the right button menu or open the control panel (in same menu) and disable it. It's a bit intrusive but it seems that every windows app want to put an icon there this days.
              • by QuantumG (50515)
                It should be hidden by default.. it confuses users.

                The first 30 seconds of user testing would have told the engineers at Sun that.. so clearly they didn't do any.

        • by hackstraw (262471)
          Also, because of the most stupid thing Sun ever did, people tend to deliberately close the JVM after that first initiation. Why? Cause Sun puts a stupid little Java icon into the systray. It immediately draws attention to the fact that the JVM is in memory and people think they might get a speed boost or something by closing it.

          And then from the summary:

          Does this really spell the end of AJAX? I sincerely hope so. Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and pro
          • by QuantumG (50515)

            the dumbest thing Sun ever did was to strongarm Netscape into renaming JavaScript into JavaScript.
            Uhhh.. they did? I vaguely remember them suing someone because they called it Javascript.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Netscape renamed LiveScript to Javascript when LiveConnect actually made it possible and easy to, get this, script java objects. Despite legions of ignorant know-it-alls who feel validated by scoffing at things they feel are somehow technically amiss, Javascript has always been an appropriate name for it ... even if LiveConnect was always a slow and buggy crappy API.
          • Strongarming Mozilla (Score:3, Interesting)

            by wonkavader (605434)
            Well, if they do a decent job at this, in the next version, once they have the bugs out, they could strongarm the mozilla organization into including it in the firefox download. They could muscle them by, for instance, paying them.

            That would go a long way toward maiking this idea fly.
        • Stupid branding. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mattgreen (701203) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @06:24PM (#19044543)
          I'm so sick of companies thinking they'll somehow become relevant because they put reminders of their products in every nook and cranny on my system. Sun, like all other half-wit companies, feels the need to put useless tray icons in there to brand the user's computer. You'd think after the Internet's collective hate of RealPlayer they would have learned that the systray is not for advertising. Besides, people don't care what Java is, they want to look at what is on the page. But no, they have to sit there in the tray, completely useless. And lets not discuss needing to run a program 24/7 that monitors for updates to Java, or installing a control panel.

          Sorry Java, you're not nearly as important as you think you are. QuickTime commits the same set of sins, which is why I swear by QuickTime Alternative, it is a bit less annoying.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by QuantumG (50515)
            My personal favourite (in terms of hatred) is the Install Shield updater. WTF? Why would I ever need to update install shield? Why is that even "installed"?

        • It's the first instantiation that matters.. Applets are so uncommon that the average user will only come across them once per reboot.

          And thus it really depends upon how this is used. If its used deep into a page say for something like an online word processor, where you know and expect to be waiting, versus a homepage which you expect to open instantly. Really its up to the developers to use it where it makes the most sense. Sadly few do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MBCook (132727)
      On OS X, it's very fast even on my little G4. I believe that OS X pre-loads Java. On Windows, I know it can seem that way, but if parts were pre-loaded (or the whole thing kept in memory and just paged out when not in use) startup would be fast. If this became big (and lets hope, JS is terrible) then the browser would have a VERY good incentive to pre-load java and be ready to go. It wouldn't load up and unload all of Java each time you navigate pages.
    • by -noefordeg- (697342) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:57PM (#19044093)
      Took my browser 5 seconds from clicking on the Slashdot logo, until the page started reloading.
      Well, I'm off then. I'll surf away to the other Slashdot...
      Oh, wait! I wanted to see the front of Slashdot again, so I actually waited for as long as it took.
      Bummer!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      It has been found that people give a web site about 2 seconds to respond before they determine it is not going to load and surf away.

      Actually, it's four seconds [bbc.co.uk], but what the hell, you're only off by 50%.

      • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @06:44PM (#19044875)
        Actually, he was off by 100%. But that's beside the point.

        People may be annoyed by 2, 4 or even higher wait times, but they'll put up with them in the right circumstances without complaint.

        Showing people a blank screen, not so much. Show them a progress bar, and they might wait for it; especially if it contains something they need.

        The whole 'get it on the screen in 2 seconds or you've lost them' applies to online shopping, product reviews, forums, etc. But people are willing to wait 5-10 or even longer for their bank, their credit card, to file their taxes, to play a game, or to edit a spreadsheet. (As long as the 'start up time' is at START UP, and not after every click.)

        If 'web2.0 apps' like gmail took 5-10 seconds to start up, but didn't exhibit the html/javascript flakeyness that would be worth it. And a lot of the load time could be addressed with caching, and having the VM preloaded, if that was the only stumbling block, hell they really are more *application* than *webpage* -- with some browser support they could be ready to go in the background, selected like wii channels or something, for commonly visited 'sites'.

        AJAX is a mostly a train wreck on par with the spaghetti code that we inherited from the Basic/C/Cobol era. Html/javascript just wasn't designed for this sort of use. AJAX is like writing multithreaded real-time applications in Windows 3.0 or MacOS9 cooperative threading models... you can do it... and it can even mostly work most of the time if you don't bang on it too hard. But its never going to be great.

        asp.net was a decent move forward, as at least it mostly shielded the developer from the ajax mess. Unless you needed to do something .net didn't support, or worse when .net just didn't work and you had to dig into the javascript and html mess that your neat little .net app generates to find the problem and fix it.

        But we *really* need to see a good standards based framework on the browser side, that applications can be written against.

        Of course, we've always had Java and ActiveX. But Java was proprietary, and was hampered immensely by Microsofts attempts to discredit it, and embrace/extend/destroy it, including their own incompatible MSJVM, and "Visual J++" version of the language. Plus it was plagued by its own problems. Not to mention that the language itself I always found cumbersome. (I think Microsoft really did a good job with C# by comparison.) And ActiveX? Well, the less said about that plague on mankind the better. :)

        JavaFX, at first blush, looks like it might fit the bill.
        • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @08:19PM (#19046071) Journal
          AJAX is an overused acronym. It doesn't do anything that you couldn't do with frames or popups anyways.

          The limitation was never that the XMLHttpRequest object wasn't around. The limitation was that you had to deal with the realities of sending your pages over modems, creating this pressure for dynamic pages, but older computers were too slow at processing JavaScript to allow you relief by moving much display logic into the client. You'd end up locking the whole browser.

          These problems are all dealt with now because of faster networks and faster computers. The tools in this area are just the same old shit with a shiny coat of paint for the most part.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by vux984 (928602)
            AJAX is an overused acronym. It doesn't do anything that you couldn't do with frames or popups anyways.

            To my mind AJAX is more the step its taken towards generic frameworks that hide the html/javascript/xmlhttprequest stuff that's really going on, and all the cruft to support doing it on multiple browsers and presenting it all to developers with as an API.

            In that view AJAX is sort of like the OO C++ wrappers for the C windows APIs. (MFC, OWL, etc). Previously C++ programmers would encapsulate what was neede
  • So we're moving away from a de-facto standard that is already implemented with free software, towards the proprietary Adobe Flash platform and the vendor lock-in that it implies?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MBCook (132727)
      We are moving from using an open language (Javascript) that can be a real pain (thanks to all the different browsers ways of interpreting and using things) to an open language (JavaFX will be open sourced according to the FAQ) that will have a good reference implementation and should alleviate many of these annoying little things about JS, without having to use something as heavy or overkill as Flash.
      • by aled (228417)
        Language are not open source, just particular implementations of a language (ie: a compiler, an interpreter, a runtime, etc) can be open source, as any program.
      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @06:11PM (#19044313)

        We are moving from using an open language (Javascript) that can be a real pain (thanks to all the different browsers ways of interpreting and using things) to an open language (JavaFX will be open sourced according to the FAQ) that will have a good reference implementation and should alleviate many of these annoying little things about JS, without having to use something as heavy or overkill as Flash.


        Is the JVM really less "heavy or overkill" than Flash?
        • That pretty much destroys his argument. At least Flash has the decency to be less than 30MB to install.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:27PM (#19043469) Homepage Journal

    Does this really spell the end of AJAX? I sincerely hope so. Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs.

    Did it occur to you that you're sounding exactly like the hype you're decrying?

    AJAX is a stupid name developed for the ole' hype machine (mostly to sell conferences and books, methinks) but the basic web technologies behind it are NOT THAT BAD. To use the example from the article, am I "tearing [my] hair out over as [I] attempt to get the JavaScript working in both Internet Explorer and Firefox?" Actually? No, I'm not. And I just implemented a Comet [wikipedia.org] library in both Javascript and Actionscript. About the most frustrating thing was the fact that Opera ignored the cache-disable commands when using XML.load in Flash. So I build a solution into the library. And if you think that's fun, wait until I detect Server Side Events in Opera and use XMLSockets in Actionscript!

    *shrug*

    Oh, and I had to dynamically patch Safari and Opera to add support for the toSource function. Easy as for(var i in object) pie.

    The problem with most "AJAX coders" is that they still think of Javascript as that cutesy language they used to do scrolling statusbar text with. But it simply isn't that bad. In fact, Javacript is a full-up, Object Oriented (or at least, OOP capable) langauge that fits the lightweight needs of the web browser perfectly. Java is a 600 pound gorilla that's better for designing heavyweight applications that are secure, robust, fast, and feature complete. The two target very different markets.

    As for JavaFX, there is (if you'll excuse the expression) "nothing to see here". It's just a Silverlight competitor. Which makes it just as questionable as the product against which it's competing. If you really want a replacement for XMLHttpRequest, use XMLSocket [devpro.it] instead,
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727)

      Java Script isn't so bad! Sure I had to patch browsers and write a different version for each one. I made my own library and blah blah blah.

      Sounds bad to me. Javascript is very annoying, mostly due to the incompatibility between browsers, but for other factors as well. I welcome this. And how do you know JavaFX will be so bad when they have only announced it and haven't previewed it? Worst case scenario, it feels like using the Google Web Toolkit but doesn't produce large .js files that you have to includ

      • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @06:08PM (#19044263) Homepage Journal
        Seems I confused you with my slightly sarcastic tone. "for(var i in object)" is a core part of Javascript and the way it works. That feature (and what it implies) are why it's so simple to fix different browsers to work like one another. If you don't know how to use it, you shouldn't be coding web apps.

        Also, OOP is not bolted on in Javascript. It's been there since nearly the beginning. It's just that 99% of web coders never actually learned how to code Javascript.

        How do you know JavaFX will be so bad when they have only announced it and haven't previewed it?

        I've been a Java programmer for about 11 years. In that time, I've explored the VM and libraries inside-out, upside-down, and sideways. The conclusion I've come to is that Java in the browser is a bad idea. At least in the form of the J2SE. If it had been developed more like a J2ME plugin with access to the DOM, it might have been a decent replacement for Javascript. But it wasn't developed that way, and now I think it's not in a very good position to compete in that space.

        This sounds like it is targeting more than just "fetch this list box dynamically" by trying to be a way to make web pages that are currently only realistically implementable by making the entire thing in Flash.

        You bring me requirements, and I'll show you the magic that modern web technology can perform. And it's only going to get better. My comments about Server Side Events and XMLSocket are meant to mention how much better it's going to get. SSE will effectively obsolete Comet-style requests, resulting in rich server "push" systems that can transmit nearly anything to the client on demand. No need to worry about different XMLHttpRequest implementations, it will all be automatic in the browser. Opera already supports this, and thanks to the magic of Javascript, it's easy to branch to code that makes use of it when available. Wrap it in your libraries, and you're ready. to. ROCK! :)

        Java has the ability to do static typing.

        Which is its strength as a platform, and its weakness as a scripting language. Don't get me wrong, the computer scientist in me wants to go with static typing. I love static typing. It makes all the bad problems go away. But the web coder in me knows that distributed document technology needs something more flexible. Dynamic typing as in Javascript is that flexibility.

        It's slightly out of date, but you might find this article I wrote [intelligentblogger.com] to be interesting. Web technologies are really accomplishing what Sun envisioned all those years ago.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ispeters (621097)

          I love static typing. It makes all the bad problems go away.

          I suppose that maybe you were being facetious or sarcastic, or maybe you were simplifying, but static typing hardly "makes all the bad problems go away". Unfortunately, I don't remember who originally said it, so I can't properly attribute it, but, paraphrasing, "static typing is the compiler doing some cursory testing on your code". To raise your level of certainty that your programme is bug-free, you have to do a lot of testing. If you use a

      • by mabinogi (74033) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:27AM (#19048883) Homepage
        Javascript has always been object oriented - it was influenced by Self, which is effectively a classless implementation of Smalltalk. Just because you don't understand Javascript, doesn't mean it's not object oriented.

        Javascript is a pretty awesome language once you strip out all the web browser DOM stuff. I've used it as an embedded scripting language in my own applications and was very surprised by its capabilities.
  • Proprietary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Proprietary solutions and vendor lock-in are also dead ends"

    Or... not.

    Using Java solutions over .NET because you have a stick up your ass is a little silly.

  • End of Ajax.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BuR4N (512430) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:32PM (#19043557) Homepage Journal
    That would be great, but in reality, when people invest enough money into something and there is ubiquitous support for it, it tend to stick and migration to something new drags on forever.

    And there is so much big corporate inter politics involved with each side rallying their alternatives that it looks like we are stuck with the lowest common denominator, that beeing for the moment javascript.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:32PM (#19043565) Homepage Journal

    Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs.

    This begs the question, will anything built on Java achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 "needs"? It is well-known that Java is a "write once, debug everywhere" solution. If it is running on the server side, It also begs the question, does it need all that? What does Java provide that other languages don't? It looks like it has a client-side component. FTFA, "One of the knocks on AJAX applications, aside from browser compatibility, is that it requires a large amount of JavaScript to be sent over the wire; that script could have something malicious embedded in it. JavaFX eliminates that need by using the locally installed Java SE files." Well well well, FUD FUD FUD. Yes, it could have something malicious embedded in it. And there could be something malicious in your Java code, too. Make a point, please?

    Also, I'm interested in having this assertion backed up somehow. Javascript is an excellent language even if some implementations are somewhat lacking. In general the use of cross-platform toolkits seems to be accelerating Web 2.0 development for many people. Is it really true that you can't do the job with Javascript?

    I'd just like to leave with this C&P and short commentary:

    "This really is write once and run anywhere," he said, reiterating a 12-year-old slogan for Java. The long-range plan is to make it so applications can be written to run on all platforms." Yes, that was Java's long-range plan as well. Note that so far, it has not succeeded.

    • No, it doesn't beg the question [wikipedia.org], it merely raises it. "Begging the question" refers to a Catch-22-esque incident of circular reasoning, not a logical connection to a further inquiry.
    • by try_anything (880404) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @07:52PM (#19045763)

      It is well-known that Java is a "write once, debug everywhere" solution.
      Funny, I worked in a Java shop with dozens of programmers where nobody developed on the deployment platform. We deployed to Solaris, but we developed, tested, debugged, etc. on Windows and Linux. In most cases, new code never ran on Solaris until it was sent to QA. When a bug was found on Solaris, we reproduced it and debugged it under Windows. This never caused any problems, nor do I recall tests ever passing under Windows and failing under Solaris, or vice-versa. This was in 2000-2002.
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:32PM (#19043581)
    Here's the JavaFX page [sun.com] and their FAQ [java.net]. Lots of polish but light on real information.

    Also from the site:

    Like all of Java, JavaFX Script will be available via the GPL license.
  • Uptake.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by codepunk (167897) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:34PM (#19043607)
    First of all there is nothing at all hard about cross platform ajax programming, those hurdles have
    already been overcome. However it is over 10 years since java and applets where introduced and they
    are still slow as mud, I highly doubt any success in market penetration.

  • by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:34PM (#19043611) Homepage Journal
    Bad phrasing on the part of the submitter and/or editors: according to the article, JavaFX isn't a "combination Applet, Flash, Javascript, and AJAX" in the technological sense, but in the sense of the kinds of features it provides. It's actually an extension to Java.

    Anyway, there is one drawback it's going to have as compared to AJAX: It will require end-users to install something. As it is now, AJAX will run (to some extent) in MSIE, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and a number of browsers with similar rendering engines. Even if it gets built in to the standard JRE, that still requires people to install Java, putting it more on par with Flash (though at this point a lot of people do have Java installed).

    So, how long before Sun convinces Apple to include JavaFX in their version of the JRE? Last I looked you couldn't just download a JRE for MacOS X.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vertigoCiel (1070374)
      That's what I see as the biggest drawback to this approach: it requires installation of at least one additional plugin, unless they could somehow piggy-back it on Flash. However, Flash is still an installation in of itself, and many web-savy users block it all together.
    • by jrumney (197329)

      Last I looked you couldn't just download a JRE for MacOS X.

      You must be looking in the wrong place [apple.com].

    • >So, how long before Sun convinces Apple to include JavaFX in their version of the JRE? Last I looked you couldn't just download a JRE for MacOS X.

      OSX Java SDK is downloadable in a number of places from apple's website. Prerelease versions are in their developer site ADC (requires free registration). I think the final JRE's get pushed to users automatically over the automatic update system.

      What is the relationship between Apple and Sun's java? I always assumed that apple just licensed and customized Sun'
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kelson (129150) *
        Sorry, I meant to say that you couldn't just download an alternative JRE for Mac OS X. My point was that you get Apple's version with your operating system, and you can upgrade to a newer version from Apple, but you can't get one from Sun or (AFAIK) anywhere else.

        That means you have to wait for Apple to incorporate the library into their JRE and push it out to users. And here's the key: Apple's Java always seems to lag behind the upstream version. They're still on Java 5. Java 6 has been out for, what,
  • "Does this really spell the end of AJAX? I sincerely hope so. Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs."

    Use Dojo or a similar framework, or Rails has it built in to the back end programming, which is even better(again using a mature framework).

    And security? "JavaFX will also trigger desktop integration of over-the-wire applications with Java" desktop apps from? Yeah, high security results have always been achieve
  • by caseih (160668) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:40PM (#19043739)
    A demo of JavaFX (embedded in Java WebStart--yuck) can be found at http://blogs.sun.com/chrisoliver/ [sun.com] . Seeing as flash comes up instantly in browsers, even if it takes some time to download code, etc, and that web pages with ajax also render near instantly, I don't see how JavaFX is really going to appeal to end users. The JVM plugin still takes time to load on all browsers and platforms and is quite big. And on almost all browsers and platforms I've ever used, tends to lock up the browser for 10-20 seconds at a time. Further how will JavaFX integrate with HTML? Javascript?

    Flash and .NET don't have these problems, mainly because flash is a fraction of the size of the entire JVM adn runtime, and .NET is always loaded and ready to go on windows.

    Anyway, given the current state of Java technology in the browser, I don't see this as being any different from WebStart, which everyone loves to hate because it is so clunky.

    I dislike the idea of Silverlight entirely, particularly anything that relies on .NET (mono notwithstanding). I really want to like Java, I really do.
    • Agreed. How it interacts with HTML and JavaScript are going to be very important. AJAX fits nicely in there, and really is nothing new except the techniques. The HTML is still indexable, and the ad and tracking javascript is still there. With this, that may not all be true.
    • Anyway, given the current state of Java technology in the browser, I don't see this as being any different from WebStart, which everyone loves to hate because it is so clunky.

      Speak for yourself. I personally love Webstart technology. It's a beautiful solution to installing/launching applications in a cross-platform way. You just click, and it loads. No guarantees about the quality of content the developers package on the side, though. :-/ (The SpaceInvaders demo you pointed to being an obvious example.)

    • > I don't see this as being any different from WebStart,
      > which everyone loves to hate because it is so clunky.

      JWS is pretty sweet for internal apps, though. I wrote a Swing client for a J2EE app for an internal group and folks were quite happy with the easy updates. They'd suggest a change and half an hour later I'd come buy their office, ask them to restart the app, and the new version would get downloaded and Bob's your uncle. Pretty sweet.

      The JavaFX code looks pretty nice [sun.com], and here's the origin [blogs.com]
  • The mobile version appears to be tied to Savaje's commercially unsuccessful operating system.

    Despite having massive deployment of J2ME, it has always struck me that Sun's strategy to capitalize on that fact have been hampered by complexity -- for once not of the platform, but of the business model, which is tied up with phone manufacturers and mobile wireless providers. Basically, as a serious app developer, you probably have to partner with a wireless company.

    So now we have this interesting "mobile" techn
  • by non (130182)
    I am not a web developer, but despite having said that, i can assure you that this is >90% hype.

    "You know all that AJAX code you've been writing and tearing your hair out over as you attempt to get the JavaScript working in both Internet Explorer and Firefox?"

    no, i don't. i really don't. not anymore.

    "offers interactivity, animation and programming"

    so its not AJAX, its Flash/Silverlight/etc. and as regards Gosling's comment (possibly taken out of context?),

    "Most scripting languages are oriented at banging
    • by aled (228417)

      last but not least, there wasn't any mention of the _license_.


      Open source.
  • "Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs."

    Just because you don't understand xml and javascript doesn't mean that nobody does.
  • by abes (82351) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:51PM (#19043965) Homepage
    AJAX has given web-pages a new breath of life. Things like google-maps, netflix, etc. have definitely done things I wouldn't have thought possible before. And packages like RoR have managed to find ways to automatically generate most of the AJAX you need.

    I don't claim to be an AJAX expert, but it seems really good for the simple things you need to do. You can find 10 libraries now that give you collapsable boxes, drag-n-drop, etc. But it gets much more complicated if you want to do something not covered with these libraries.

    The big problem being that put very simply: HTML was not designed for full-fledged interfaces. Compare against a beautiful library like Cocoa, and it falls very very short. Which is fine. It's great for what it does.

    Java is many ways was supposed to fix this problem. A method to create interfaces that can be spread through web pages. But issues besides just speed have been a problem with Java. AWT was not great for making interfaces, and Swing isn't (IMHO) much better. I haven't tried SWT, but even Eclipse, its flagship, suffers from all types of interface issues (compare it against an IDE like XCode).

    I'm trying very hard not to be an Apple fanboi. I've used PCs for most of my life, and Linux for a good enough time (> 10 years). But I've seen enough interface libraries now (GTK+, KDE, Windows API, Javascript hacks, various ones using SDL, etc.) that I've seen both highlights and major downfalls from the different design paradigms used.

    One of the largest design issues I've seen comes from at the end of the day from the language itself. Part of A large part of Cocoa's beauty derives from Objective-C. It does things that c++ wouldn't dream of doing for speed reasons. Both Gtk+ and KDE try to replicate features already in Objective-C, but because they are non-native, they don't/can't do it as well. Which is not to say Objective-C is the end-all be-all language -- it's just great for interfaces.

    It's also something that from my personal experience Java can't do. So it's hard for me to imagine how using Java to make an interface for web pages will be a great advancement (again, I'm leaving speed issues alone -- this is a purely design argument). And maybe it will be better than AJAX, but that's not a great advancement .. a small increment without actually fixing any of the big issues.
  • by mattgreen (701203) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:58PM (#19044113)
    You know, the one thing I absolutely HATED about AJAX was how there was no delay when I loaded a page. For many moons, I have longed for the five second delay that a Java applet on a webpage incurs. I knew I was in for an interactive, highly responsive, good-looking user experience when my browser stumbled momentarily, as it loads the slim, petite Java runtime into the browser. It gave me plenty of time to prepare myself for the life-changing experience that ONLY an applet could deliver!

    But now, I can be happy once again. Thank you Sun! And with a hip name to go along with it, as well! JavaFX! I wonder if it is compatible with WinFX? Or how about ActiveX?
  • "Proprietary solutions and vendor lock-in are also dead ends."
    So you acknowledge the presence of product solutions for ajax exist yet disqualify the possibility of using them because they are "dead ends"?

    there are no issues with javascript. cross site security simply demands you be resilient and durable and know when to fail user operations when they're asking for "funky" stuff, but that security was mandated at some level by traffic sniffing and packet generating long ago.

    as for cross platform reliability
  • by Xenkan (1099507) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @06:40PM (#19044801)

    Nothing built on Javascript will ever achieve the security, cross-platform reliability, and programmatic friendliness that Web 2.0 needs.

    Security - Javascript is NOT designed to secure a web app, security needs to happen on the server side, out of necessity!

    Cross-platform - I would argue that Javascript / ECMAScript, having been standardized and distributed with all major browsers for years, is arguably the MOST supported cross-platform programming language in the world. If a computer has a browser made in the last 5 years, it supports standardized ECMAScript. And what PC doesn't have a browser?

    The only incompatibilities I run into on a frequent basis are getting my scripts to create results that look the same across all browsers, and that's not Javascript's fault, it's CSS and browser support of CSS! If you have problems with the [i]functionality[/i] of Javascript, then you're probably not writing according to the well established standards, or worse yet, throwing together snippets of Javascript from all over the web like so many amatuers that give the language a bad rep.

    Proprietary solutions and vendor lock-in are also dead ends

    So you would use Sun's solution, rather than the well established internationally standardized ECMAScript?

    Programmatic friendlyness - Joel says it all here [joelonsoftware.com] Personally, I've programmed in dozens of languages, and few are as flexible and enjoyable as Javascript

    Javascript used to have the same status that Java applets and Flash still do, used predominantly for play things, small self-contained segments of the browser where you want to do something different. Javascript has risen above that. The world is finally realizing Javascript can be an integral part of an entire website, and that the website as a whole can be enhanced by Javascript and it's tight integration with other web standards.

    This article sounds like an attempt to rehype Java applets, which frankly, have not seen the advancement and acceptance that Javascript has over the years.

  • by icknay (96963) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @10:28PM (#19047161)
    Hellooooo everyone, the issue is not that historically the JVM takes forever to load or that Flash can be annoying. The key trend is that AJAX/Html are hitting a limit, which leads to all this recent energy about Flash/Flex as a better way to construct rich UIs, witness Microsoft's Silverlight.

    Now both Flash and Silverlight are totally proprietary. That's a huge problem. If one of them were to "win" and get a zillion developers ... well gee it seems historically this has led the winning vendor treat us all like crap. That's a real bummer when you have this expensive time investment in your website, but it's locked in to some vendor's intellectual property. The only other open rich alternative -- SVG + Javascript -- appears a bit dead.

    So what's neat about this announcement, is that it's a Flash workalike that's OPEN SOURCE. If it were to "win" ... that would be awesome. Even if the technology is just ok, the openness would make it worthwhile. Just think ... it could work properly on Linux and phones and what have you. This is very much like what happened with HTML originally. Just an ok spec, but the openness catalyzed all sorts of growth and competition.

    Another way this could work out is that it bluffs Adobe into opening up Flash, which I figure would be just as good an outcome. The key is to not be stuck developing your expensive web app, but with some vendor controlling the underlying technology.
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:03PM (#19057147) Homepage
    WHY when I see Slashdot pages 1 to x at the top of a topic, and I click on page 2, I get page ONE ALL OVER AGAIN?

    And sometimes page 3 and beyond behave the same way? At some point, I start getting new pages with new responses, but it's incredibly annoying to have to click on two or three pages to get PAST page one!

    Are my settings fucked up, is it Firefox, what the hell is it? This happens on Windows, Linux, anything! Is this a known bug in Slash or what?

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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