Muscling in on HTML

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-03-03 Print this article Print

"The Web is the application deployment platform of choice," said Alex Russell, a developer at SitePen and co-creator of the Dojo Toolkit, an open-source JavaScript toolkit. "It's got reach, low friction and a reasonable, but by no means great, developer experience story."

Russell said no other platform has the dynamic range of HTML today. However, "that's changing ever-so-slowly as others try to muscle in on HTML's territory or marginalize it for what is currently thought of as the high-end user experience - Flex, Silverlight, etc. - but nothing else can get you going as quickly as HTML," he said.

Russell said it's interesting that companies with the most to lose from the Web getting better, such as Microsoft and Adobe, "are even tacitly acknowledging that the Web will be the deployment -shell' for applications for the foreseeable future."

Galbraith said now that the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) and Flex 3 are shipping, "it will be interesting to see if they're able to scratch the surface of the Web platform's enormous dominance in the marketplace."

He further said that his reference to the "Web platform" is meant to describe the HTML/Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) platform, or what some call the "open Web."

In addition, said Galbraith, with Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Sun and others driving hard to popularize a new breed of rich user interfaces, and with Adobe being by far the best positioned platform to deliver these experiences to the largest world-wide audience on top of the existing browser infrastructure, "it may be that they ride this wave of increased user interface expectations and cut into AJAX's popularity in a material way. Only time will tell, but Mozilla, Google and others are working equally hard to prevent that from occurring, to prevent the open Web from being replaced by a proprietary development platform."

Meanwhile, the continued emergence of dynamic languages is largely because "dynamic languages offer simplicity over the strictness of many languages," Resig said. "Many of them are easier to get started with, enforce less encumbrances and encourage community contributions, such as Ruby, Python and PHP."

Russell echoed that notion. Ruby, Python, PHP and other dynamic languages are "just riding the complexity versus CPU power curves," he said. "As CPUs get better and better at eliding away menial tasks, our biggest barrier to getting things done is how hard - or easy - things are for the developer."

Added Russell: "PHP is probably the most popular dynamic language after JavaScript in part because you're never presented with a compile cycle."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel